As a small business, keeping your head above water can be a challenge at times. Whether it’s economic uncertainty, employee illness or larger competitors, there are a number of unexpected ups and downs to negotiate in order to survive.
What’s more, it can be particularly tricky knowing where to concentrate your efforts as a small business. Staying ahead of the curve and adapting to change is, of course, essential, but how can you do this?
Let’s talk about efficiency and productivity. For any business, these two factors are synonymous with success. Streamlining your process and minimising wastage, in any form, will boost profit and growth. Be it time management, stock control, or physical effort, there are areas in which productivity can be improved.
Here at IOResource, we’d like to think we know a thing or two about productivity and efficiency. After all, we’re Ireland’s leading Value-Added Distributor of EPoS and AIDC/Mobility products and solutions.
Read on to discover our guide to maximising your small business’ productivity this year.
Plan Ahead & Prioritise
First things first, any entrepreneur or successful business owner will tell you that planning ahead is essential. We’re not just talking about staff lunch breaks either! Try to set out tasks for the day, week, month and even year. It doesn’t matter how large or small these are, simply verbalising and putting them down on paper can make them feel more achievable and less overwhelming.
Additionally, it is important to prioritise the tasks that lie ahead. Whether you’ve got 3 things to do or 30, putting them in order of importance will help you and your workforce to tackle them more efficiently.
As a business owner or manager, being able to delegate tasks is a crucial skill. By spreading the workload between employees, less strain will be placed on individuals and further trust and reliability can be developed.
Following on from the importance of planning, prioritising and delegating, it’s worth bearing in mind the value of a positive work environment. It goes without saying that employees are the life force of your business, so creating an environment in which they feel happy, safe and comfortable is essential.
The first step to creating a positive environment is to ensure that employees feel safe and comfortable while working. There’s no need for bean bags and a smoothie bar, but providing regular breaks, refreshments and somewhere to rest their legs can be hugely beneficial.
Moreover, making sure your employees feel heard can have a positive impact on their productivity. Listen to their needs and take onboard suggestions. You’re a team after all! We’ll talk more about rewards and positive reinforcement later in this article, but it is worth bearing these points in mind for the time being.
Create Measurable Goals
Next on our list of productivity boosters are measurable goals. It’s all well and good to set targets, but if they’re vague or unobtainable, it can be tricky to measure the success and growth of your business. All too often, businesses set goals that cannot be quantified or that are too large to feasibly achieve.
Instead, try sitting down and coming up with a list of measurable targets. These can be large or small, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is each of these goals can be worked towards and achieved throughout the business year. Whether your goal is to sell more units each week than last year or to sign up 20 new customers to your mailing list, smaller, measurable goals are conducive to a more productive business.
Reward Staff Efforts
As we touched upon previously, rewards and positive reinforcement help to create a positive working environment. No matter the nature of your business, it is important to remember that none of it would be possible without the hard work of its employees.
What’s more, little incentives and recognition of effort are a great way to encourage employees to approach every day with a positive attitude.
There are a multitude of ways to thank staff members for their continued efforts. Whether you decide to hand out thoughtful gifts to the best seller or start an incentivised employee of the month scheme, going above and beyond to thank staff will lead to a happier, more productive team.
So, how can you make sure that your team is working as effectively and productively as possible? There’s no secret, and it’s not magic! One of the most effective ways to boost productivity and efficiency is by providing employees with proper training. Not everyone is born with natural sales talent or with a comprehensive knowledge of health and safety regulations; proper training ensures that employees are confident and capable.
Of course, this isn’t just beneficial for business owners and productivity. Proper training can be used by employees to further their knowledge and improve their understanding of the industry and business they work within.
Now, we’ve covered the human-centred areas of business, so let’s take a look at the technical side. Over the past decade, retail technology has come a long way and is hugely beneficial for businesses of all sizes. Implemented correctly, there are a multitude of ways in which modern tech can be used to make employees’ lives less stressful. This means that individuals can spend less time on menial tasks, and focus their efforts on the side of the business that requires personality, creativity and problem-solving.
First on our list of tech are Point of Sale Systems (POS). This technology is designed to help businesses manage transactions, record sales and handle extra tasks such as refunds. As we take steps towards a cashless society, ensuring your business can handle modern payment methods such as ApplePay and GooglePay is essential.
POS machines and software can be used within almost every industry and are ideal for retail businesses. This will allow you to gather data regarding sales, inventory and customers. With this information, it is easy to track your business’s growth and highlight areas which may need improvement.
Next on our list of time-saving tech are peripherals such as scanners. These devices are able to read and register barcodes and QR codes at incredibly high speeds, ideal for maximising productivity during the working day. Valuable time is wasted by manually entering product information; by setting up a scanner, you’ll prevent queues, streamline sales and keep track of stock!
Mobile POS Systems
It goes without saying that, for small businesses, being busy is good! However, it is crucial that you have systems in place that can handle hectic days, manic shop floors and non-stop service. Mobile POS technologies are, as the name suggests, point-of-sale machines that can be moved around and carried portably. These range from touchscreen tablets for taking customer details and orders to handheld scanners for mobile scanning.
Last but not least, all-in-one terminals are an ideal solution for businesses looking for a machine that can do everything. Featuring a touchscreen display, customer screen, receipt printer and a card machine, an all-in-one terminal is perfect for retail checkouts. What’s more, with a choice of processors, memories, storage, operating system and even colour, you’re sure to find a machine that suits your needs to a tee.
IOResource: EPoS Systems For Your Business
If you run a business of any kind and are hoping to maximise productivity and efficiency, look no further. Here at IOResource, we’re pleased to exist as Ireland’s leading distributor of EPoS machines and solutions.
With our main office and warehouse facilities based in Rathnew Co. Wicklow, we have the capacity to supply most goods ex-stock, providing customers with better availability and shorter lead times.
What’s more, our team of specialists are always happy to answer any questions you may have, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Call us on +353 (0) 404 20700 from Ireland or on +44 (0) 333 405 0035 from the UK.