You may recall a couple of weeks ago that I wrote a post about productivity in the UK as it is something I have a keen interest in. It’s an important subject even for the SME’s that I work with but it often gets overlooked. I decided that I wanted to put the findings into simple terms for SME’s and there was a lot to write about, hence I’ve written a few shorter posts on the subject.
If you want to refresh your memory on it’s recommendations you can do so here.
Whilst there are macro-economic and national aspects to the ICAEW’s recommendations I want to focus on what a business owner of an SME could do themselves to improve their own business’ productivity. In this post (part 2) I want to talk to you about…
International and infrastructure connectivity may not immediately come to mind when you’re running your own small business. All that stuff is for the big corporates and governments. That may be true on the surface, but small businesses will benefit from improved infrastructure and connectivity. An example might be the roll-out of high-speed broadband and the benefit that gives to digital businesses. Getting back to things that a business owner can control, I see two connectivity themes to focus on:
You might call this networking or just keeping in contact with your suppliers and customers. It could also mean going to industry or professional events to meet peers and improve your technical knowledge. However you view your external connectivity, in my experience to get the most out of connecting is to…
· Look for different connections outside your norm. You will learn more, stimulate new ideas and opportunities, and you will broaden your network;
· Always offer value. Don’t be one of life’s takers, only interested in what you can get for yourself. Offer help, introductions and ideas to your connections. They’ll remember you and your reservoir of goodwill will grow.
Many people call this internal communication. And almost all of the businesses I have worked with in my career have claimed they don’t communicate enough with their staff. I have yet to meet a business where staff say there is too much communication. Equally there are bosses who avoid communication, you know the sort…they often make comments such as – “people should just get on with their job”, or “knowledge is power”, or “I’m not comfortable with talking to a group of people”. Whatever the level of communication in your business, here are two tips on making it more effective:
· Consider “daily management”, where work teams meet for up to 10 minutes each day to agree workloads, priorities, learning from yesterday, things that need fixing etc. This might sound like a team huddle and feel a bit odd, and yes it probably is. But the power of teams focusing on making their jobs more effective through simple structured daily management meetings can be enormous.
· Make things visible, especially on the shop floor, that show how targets and performance is being improved. Combined with daily management meetings, the visual “dashboard” for a team is another communication tool to encourage people to focus on what is important in their team and to develop teamwork.
If you’ve found these tips useful watch out for part 3 where I will be talking about Employee Engagement.
And don’t forget you can assess how your business is performing with my FREE online assessment