I’m back with another theme that should resonate really well for the business owners out there: Productivity Hacks! No matter how big or small your operation is, time is one resource that will always be limited. This means that you’ll continually need to optimize the output you get from spending a certain amount of time at work, and increasing productivity is often the smartest way to do this. As usual, I’ll be sharing one “hack” per post, which will often be broken down into smaller, more actionable points that you can quickly put to use and benefit from.
So with that out of the way, today’s hack is one that may sound painfully obvious but it addresses one of the most prevalent issues faced by business owners:
Stop trying to do it all yourself!
Most businesses start out as a one person show, and as a result, those owners feel tremendous, constant pressure to have all the answers and do all the things, all the time. And yes, for many, this situation may be unavoidable for a certain amount of time - but the point I’m trying to make is that is shouldn’t--actually, cannot be--permanent. If you feel like you’re stuck in this loop, here are the right steps to take to get out of it:
Identify your weaknesses and hire the right people to fill those gaps
Take some time to reflect on what your own strengths and weaknesses are, and be honest! Ask people that know you from different contexts (work, socially, family, etc.) to help get a well rounded data set. The weaknesses you identify will become the strengths you should search for during your hiring process, as this will help you build a well-rounded and effective team. The tricky part here is that, at the beginning, this process is going to require extra time even while you’re trying to run the whole show yourself. However, as per the actual hack mentioned above, you may be able to shift some of this burden onto a recruiting agency which can take care of the initial screening process based on the criteria you provide. This may be especially helpful if you’re not very experienced in being on the other side of the interview table.
Empower your team
Having the right people won’t do anything for you if you don’t provide them with the right environment for them to prosper. While different employees (and roles) have different needs, in general, we can say that some level of autonomy and opportunities for skill development are needed, as these are what will help them become truly effective parts of your business. Many times, you can play it safe by starting them off with low-risk tasks and as you build rapport/trust, feel free to hand off other tasks and use both the results and actual face to face feedback discussions as a gauge for future capacity/potential and overall fit. Deciding which tasks go to whom is an entirely separate (and sometimes complex) discussion, but the general goal is for each team member (including yourself) to be doing the tasks that highlight their strengths, as this will produce the best ROI on their time spent at work (and of course, on the wages they’re earning).
The specific opportunities for outsourcing can vary widely across industries, but in general, try to identify processes that can be handed over to an external specialist. Often, these processes are discrete and not central to your daily operations. Common examples may include: payroll, bookkeeping, cleaning, IT, and maintenance/repairs. Again, this helps you maintain good ROI on your wage expenses and your team focused on your core business objectives.
That’s about it for today’s productivity hack, but of course none of this is meaningful until it’s put into action. So try these tips out today and reach out to share what worked, what didn’t, and how to better tailor these strategies to your specific business situation.
Till next time,