fm Entrepreneur.com 09 Sept 15 enhanced by Peter/CEO Wiz4biz
In a startup, or any small business with limited resources, the last thing you need is people who put in lots of time & effort, but never seem to move ahead. Successful entrepreneurs must never stop looking for ways to improve their own productivity, as well as the efficiency and momentum of the team.
0. Focus, may seem obvious, but I still hear many complaints from entrepreneurs on working too many hours, and how they are under-paid for their time. In fact, most small companies still pay many key employees by the hour, without regard to their output. They seem to ignore the old idiom that you get what you pay for – hours, not results.
Based on my own many years of experience as both an employee and an executive manager, here are my key recommendations to improve your business productivity, traction and momentum:
1. Measure business Results, and tie Incentives to results. All team members, whether salaried or hourly, will get the message quickly – if they understand what they are being measured on – and feel the positive impact of results. Incentives don’t need to be all cash. In fact, creative incentives show more results come from peer & other recognition.
2. Incentivize everyone to “act” rather than “re-act”. This simply means that everyone should be trained & motivated to prioritize & focus on the important items, and pro-actively attack those first. Don’t be driven by the “crisis of the moment,” which may have been averted by a little early effort.
3. Practice the Pareto principle – also known as the 80/20 rule, states that, in most things, 80% of the results come from 20% of the actions. In most businesses, 80 % of the revenue comes from 20 % of the customers. Perfection is not an affordable target in product development, sales or customer support. 80% is good enough. That last 20% is not worth the effort.
4. Leverage the best Tools & Tech. If you still find some team members using calculators & paper for budgets & financial statements, rather than spreadsheets or other modern tools, have someone to use these useful tools. As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to provide the tools & training to do the job productively. Your business traction depends on it.
5. Promote a Culture that Balances business & family life. Working much > 8 hours a day on a regular basis, is not conducive to the long-term momentum of business traction. As the entrepreneur, you set the model for others on the team by your own actions, and by the demands you make. Encourage time off for family, vacations & enriching outside activities. Happily balanced employees are more creative. It’s a win-wing.
6. Encourage > Communication & < Isolation. Management & team members hiding in their offices, are not optimizing business productivity. HP grew good by the founders “Walking about”. More & more companies are eliminating private offices, in favor of more open bays, where everyone naturally inter-acts, learns from each other, & works as a team.
7. Celebrate Key Successes – even small ones. Entrepreneurs must never miss an opportunity to highlight results and milestones achieved, for the entire team to demonstrate that the real focus is not on hours worked. Don’t burn yourself out, or let your employees feel like work is a forced march with no end in sight.
Conclusion: There is a definite connection between the fact that Google has been ranked by Fortune in 2015 as one of the best companies to work for. It has built a culture and a continuing focus on traction, working smarter & enjoying it more, rather than working more & enjoying it less. It helps to think of you and your new business as a high-performance vehicle that has a long hard race to run before success. It takes careful attention to traction & momentum – not just at the start – but at every curve & obstacle along the way. Don’t burn out the tires and the engine on the first few laps. Keeping the “pedal to the metal” blindly is not be the best way to win your business race.
Comments: What ideas would you like to share about Balancing your Business & Personal Life?