5 top tips to give your business a productivity boom

Cloud accounting, using templates for tedious tasks, and getting your cashflow fighting fit are just some of the ways you can boost productivity

As an entrepreneur, you’re probably well aware of your approach to personal productivity.

Perhaps you use popular hacks, such as the Pomodoro technique, to get the most mileage from your time and mental energy. But how much attention do you give to the productivity of your business?

When you first started your business, you probably had the intention of enhancing your lifestyle. You wanted to take control, become your own boss and leave the rat race behind.

Having freedom to do what you want is one of the major benefits to being a business owner, so it makes sense to maximise the productivity of your business to make sure it’s operating to its full potential every day.

In this article, we’ll talk you through some useful tips to get started with boosting your business productivity.

1. Go digital for everything

With so many great digital tools out there it doesn’t make sense to ignore them. They can help you skyrocket your productivity and bring your stress levels way down.

For almost every business function, ranging from sales and marketing to finance and ecommerce, the right piece of software is just a Google search away. Trello is good for managing all kinds of projects, Evernote for keeping track of those brilliant ideas, and Sprout Social for staying on top of our social media marketing campaigns.

2. Take your accounting to the cloud

Accounts are an essential small business function, yet one that’s still fraught with inefficiencies and tedious admin processes. Pitfalls include time-consuming data entry, poor integration with your other systems and hours spent messing around with complicated formulas.

these take huge chunks of time from your working day. Managing your accounts with Excel spreadsheets, paper files or old-fashioned desktop accounting software means you’re losing a ton of potential productivity.

If you go digital for just one part of your business, make sure it’s accounting. You’ll be part of a rapidly emerging trend: 46% of the UK’s small and medium businesses are now using cloud-based accounting solutions. Top choices include Xero, Sage, QuickBooks and Zoho.

3. Get your cashflow in shape

Fed up with yet another late paying customer? Wouldn’t it be great to take control of your payments, keeping your cash flow healthy and freeing up time and headspace to focus on the big wins?

Customers pay late for a whole range of reasons. But the end result is the same: your business is lacking vital cash flow. To tackle this problem, first, make sure it’s easy for customers to pay you. Let them choose their preferred payment method, set up a system where they can pay instantly if they want to, send them payment reminders before payment is due, and make sure your bank information is displayed clearly and accurately on every invoice.

But an even better way is to encourage your customers to set up automatic payments by direct debit. This makes sure customers don’t miss payments, and keeps your cash flow in excellent shape. And using an online direct debit provider ensures maximum efficiency for minimum hassle. By combining your direct debit provider with an accounting platform such as Xero, you can avoid the hassle of chasing payments altogether.

4. Use templates for repetitive tasks

Running a small business isn’t all about the exciting stuff. In fact, your average day is likely to include a fair number of repetitive tasks, such as answering customer emails, scheduling meetings, or posting new content on social media.

Taking care of these can be tedious and take up a lot of your bandwidth. So consider creating templates to make the tasks easier. For common emails, you could make a template of the answers in a Google Docs, so you can quickly copy and paste it into each reply. For social media, you can get a whole week’s worth of tweets lined up using a tool like HootSuite or Sprout Social.

5. Use virtual help

If you want to go a step further and need the human touch, it might be worth hiring a virtual assistant.

It’s a common misconception that virtual assistants are a luxury only available to large companies. Increasing numbers of small businesses and freelancers are going down this route, which is affordable and excellent for productivity.

You get all the advantages of working with a physical assistant, for a fraction of the time, energy and cost. With the internet bringing the world closer together, you can easily find talented assistants to take over those tedious everyday tasks, freeing you up to focus on thinking strategically and growing your business.

In short, there’s a lot you can do right now to improve the productivity of your business. Whether that’s tackling the big issues, such as accounting and cash flow, or taking care of the smaller everyday tasks with a virtual assistant or a smart set of templates.

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