By Julian Stone
Here are some tips to help you ‘cut the fat’ and improve the
productivity of your business. If you apply a few of these,
you’re well on your way to achieving greater profit and
creating less stress!
1. Cut the Slackers!
“Carrying dead-weight employees? Lose them now!” Ever tried to
run a marathon whilst towing an old tire? This is what it’s
like trying to grow a productive business with unproductive
unmotivated) employees. Not only will they not add value to
bottom line, they’ll drag other ‘productive’ workmates to
level. Cutting a slack worker (legally of course) will
increase the productiveness of other workmates.
2. Cut the Paper!
“Start a war against paper!” Do you need to print that email
read it? Or that brief? Reduce office clutter on desks and
encourage better use of digital filing. Ask clients to email
files rather than send faxes, and printed media. Use a web
based project management or time tracking solution rather than
paper based timesheets. Get the drift – saves trees too!
3. Cut the Time!
“A task can take both 10 minutes and an hour!” Have you
that if you give a task (i.e.: write a proposal) to an
and they have a day to do it, they will, but if you give them
days to do the same task, guess what, they’ll take 3 days! Put
tight and exact deadlines (i.e.: Wed 3:30pm) on important
tasks, and your staff will become more productive.
4. Cut the Expenses!
“Plug all the holes in your cash flow!” Make a list of all
general expenses in your business. Next to each one, write one
of the following: Need it, Review it, Cut it. Take this list
either a receptionist or employee with some free time. Have
work down the list firstly on the expenses to ‘Cut’. This will
create immediate savings. Then have them ‘Review’ the expenses
you need, but perhaps could get a better deal on. ‘Trimming
fat’ every 6 months can help you create profit.
5. Target Different Work!
“One project for $20,000 or ten projects for $2,000 each”.
at the type of work you’re targeting. Is it worth targeting a
different type or value of work? Most businesses just ‘do what
they’ve always done’ rather than looking for more profitable
types of revenue. Think hard about other more profitable work
your business can do with its available resource.
6. Don’t Work Late, Come in Early!
“A clear mind is a productive mind!” Outside of work, this
should be used to recharge. Don’t take extra work home, rather
just go home, relax, play golf, go for a run, enjoy the family
& come in early to do that extra work. Not only will you work
better after relaxing, but your family life will improve!
7. Motivate Staff, Offer Incentives!
“Staff priorities are not the same as manager priorities!”
Managers, Owners & Directors have different motives and
priorities than staff. Just because you are excited about your
business doesn’t mean the staff are. Your mind is on the
line, whereas staff think of their pay, and they’ll get paid
whether they perform or not. Motivate staff with performance
related bonuses such as money, time off & job flexibility.
8. Hire multi-skilled workers!
“Enlarge your skill base without the cost!” It’s better to
two designer/developers, than a designer and a developer.
Multi-skilled workers, by nature are generally better problem
solvers, more flexible and more productive than single skilled
workers. You’ll also have more options for work delegation and
due to an increased skill base will be able to take on a wider
range of projects.
9. Clean your Desks!
“Start the Week Fresh”. Make it company policy that every
Friday, before staff leave, all loose paper is to be filed
or organized in racks, drawers, folders or cabinets. A messy
workspace is a messy mind. By having staff organize their
on Friday, when they start on Monday, they’ll get straight
focused work, rather than looking at clutter wondering where
start. More productive time!
10. Clean your Digital Files!
“Make it easy to find information!” Searching hard drives and
servers for information can waste a lot of productive time.
Designate a tech employee the job of tidying the server. Have
them organize files logically into client folders, archive or
remove old files, check everybody has good network access and
tidy the other staffs’ desktops and PCs.
11. Prioritize Your 20%’ers!
“Do the important things first!” Most people procrastinate on
the 20% of the tasks that create 80% of the revenue. At the
of each day, make a list for the next day. If you have 25
list the 5 most important revenue generating tasks (the
20%’ers), then list the 5 most urgent tasks (usually admin).
working through the 20% items first, you’re working ‘on’ the
business (growth), rather than ‘in’ the business
12. Review your Services!
“Your services should be team players, not just expenses!” Do
you consider your accountant, or lawyers an expense? Or do
truly add value? A good accountant will save you more money
they cost. With so many accountants, lawyers, printers,
etc available, are you sure you are working with the best you
could be? Every 6 months you should review your external
services with this question in mind: “Are they helping or
hindering my business?”
13. Systemize your Processes!
“How can I do it easier, faster, and cheaper?” As a matter of
habit, always look for ways to systemize processes. Create
templated emails, templated forms and documents, a ‘roles and
responsibilities’ chart, use process automation applications,
digital timesheets, auto responders, automatic payments etc.
Almost every process in your business can be creatively
systemized to be easier, faster, and cheaper! If you systemize
3 processes a month, that’s 36 processes a year – what a
14. Use Remote Workers!
“Only pay for what you use!” Every staff member not only costs
a salary, but also a chair, a desk, a computer, power, square
footage, coffee in the kitchen etc. By using remote workers
contractors, you’ll save money and maybe not even need a huge
office. They’ll even pay for their own coffee!
15. Learn to Delegate!
“Work on your business, not in it!” If you are a manager, you
should be spending at least 80% of your time working on
growing, systemizing, trimming, and strategic planning. Are
spending too much time on menial tasks and grunt work that can
be delegated? If so, learn to delegate (or use contractors) as
this will free your time to concentrate on the big picture –
“Growing your business and making it profitable!”
About The Author: By Julian Stone – Project and Time
Consultant and CEO of www.proworkflow.com/. If you plan
to reproduce this article, please include the above link.