One word – Brexit. *cue shivers* The single-most thought-inducing, mind-occupying subject of any business owner in the UK, or even further afield, today. But where our media channels are filled with the doom and gloom of the predicted outcomes lying ahead, the weakening pound and slowing spend rates, there’s one thing that is being overshadowed: the opportunity that all of this change brings to SMEs who now have a chance to gear themselves up to become global players.
We look at 6 ways to keep your productivity levels up – when things that look pretty bleak, offer their own sets of opportunity.
Learning to Say No
Saying ‘no’ to distractions that take you away from your core business focus is the first step towards productivity. Whether that means saying no to certain tempting product developments which look great, but don’t add value to your overall growth strategy, or whether it’s saying no to a prospective client that, in the long-run, provides very little longevity to your bottom line, sometimes saying No is the catalyst you need to becoming a focussed, target-driven spearhead. Remember your Customer – Remember your Team – Remember your Goal. Anything that doesn’t fit into improving any of those, simply doesn’t deserve 5 minutes of your time. This build-up to Brexit will be consuming enough of your attention. Keep focussed.
Focus on value
You’ve probably heard about the 80/20 rule based on The Pareto Principle which states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In business, it is no different. The balance is so often wrong – many businesses spend most of their time focussed on people and projects that take up 80% of their time, but only deliver 20% of the business’ value. It’s time to flip that equation and restore balance. Change your business outlook so that your time is spent wisely – and spent on business practice (whether that be business development, marketing, customer delivery or even back-office systems like HR and finance) that delivers value.
Engage your team
A disengaged team is no team at all. They’re there to serve a purpose – and when the clock strikes Home Time – they’re out of there. And when the going gets tough, and your foundations are shaken, being able to rely on a team that is agile and engaged could be the saving grace you need to see your way towards your next business month. Ask their opinions. Find out what matters to them. Understand the challenges they face. Share your strategy with them. Invite innovation. Reward where reward is due. You are only as strong as the team that supports you and if you plan to see the Brexit Tsunami through, then you need the best on your side.
Turn away from Naval-gazing
Sandeep Murthy (Partner: Lightbox) put it beautifully. “Startups often die of indigestion not starvation! Stay focused on the things that will deliver a tangible milestone that can be used to showcase risk mitigation.” It’s far easier to spend too much time introspectively looking at how things affect us, without looking at how what we do, affects our clients and customers. Restore balance – although it’s good to review successes and failures and implement corrective strategies where necessary, too much retrospection means that you lose sight of what lies ahead. We look inwards, because that’s probably where we feel most comfortable. And if we had to do what made us feel comfortable every day, we’d simply never take risks, never discover new lands, never move forward.
Stop! Collaborate and Listen.
Vanilla Ice was onto something – and although the lyrics will stay with us probably for a long, long time, the sentiment behind it sadly wouldn’t. In these times of incredible business insecurity, building a strong, deliverable network firms up our foothold when our foundations get shaken. Whether you choose to explore the power of partnerships, or whether you decide to grow your business into new territories and markets – collaborating with people, business and communities around you means that you are better geared to driving productivity, and your ability to stand up to market challenges.
Slow down to Move Fast
Startups suffer productivity losses due to 2 simple things: Being stressed due to huge and varied demands on their time and resources, and being drawn in multiple directions in the pursuit of revenue and market share. “Being productive is a natural outcome of having clarity and competence. By being focused – being sure of what one wants to do – and being methodical – having a plan and executing it individual and organisational productivity shoots up. The biggest reason for loss in productivity is to have to redo things. This also takes a toll of team morale. As an investor we believe – Going fast means going slow, without faltering. For us, the single most important productivity tool is mindfulness – being aware, being reflective and being open.” – Sunil K Goyal, Founder & CEO, YourNest Angel Fund
It’s time to get your house in order. And if you need a support team to help you, then you need to speak to us today.