Most of us would freely admit, if pushed, that we could make better use of our time. But for business owners in particular, maintaining productivity is vital. In recent years, thousands of companies have experimented with new technologies in an attempt to maximize their 9-to-5, improve workforce management and provide a better end product/service to customers. But it can be overwhelming to sift through the testimonies and opinion pieces professing to educate us on this matter.
While we see the irony in advising you to read an article about productivity rather than, you know, physically working on the nuts and bolts of your business, stick around for just a few minutes: we’ll give you an easy-to-digest summary of the best productivity tricks and tools to invigorate your entire operation. Don’t procrastinate, innovate.
In this blog post, I’m going to share 5 tips to make your entire business more productive.
Automate more of your daily tasks
Automation is not a nascent trend, but it is becoming much more widely used as automation processes improve. While the idea of ‘automating wherever necessary’ might conjure images of redundant staff members and overbearing AI overlords, there is definitely merit in automating more than you do currently. Automation not only saves employees time, it allows them to focus on more productive and profitable tasks which necessitate critical thinking. The lure of automation is that it delivers value for shareholders but also for employees and customers.
There are many user-friendly tools and apps available to help with process automation, enhance workflow and reduce inefficiencies and waste within your business. Whether it’s merging duplicate processes, simplifying repetitive, labor-intensive tasks or streamlining your current productivity tools, there are ways and means of doing things better. Cloud-based apps in particular have become much more affordable in recent years, with rates so modest that even small firms can get in on the act. Of course, complexity varies from tool to tool, and some solutions do require expert coding and programming.
One automation software you might consider is HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing, sales and service tool that acts like a classic CRM. HubSpot offers marketing, email and sales automation features, letting you record and organize every interaction customers have with your brand in order to help boost your productivity and your results. Sure, this benefits the business but it also enables you to better satisfy customers by providing a slicker, more consistent service.
Plus, leverage automation tools like Zapier, which allows you to connect all of your different your apps and software so that they can perform even more tasks, automatically.
Embrace cloud data integration
In the last decade, cloud computing has become an incredibly convenient and reliable solution for businesses throughout the world.
And one of the reasons for that is the emergence of cloud data integration – and the immense benefits it can bring to your businesses’ productivity.
Data integration essentially helps you combine all of your data, no matter where it is, so they can you see a unified view of all your data. The importance of cloud integration and back-up cannot be understated, particularly from a productivity point of view; to start with, it can help improve the productivity of all your different departments, from marketing to sales. Data integration can help you put together a truly full customer profile by pulling data from all of your different tools and sources so that you can better understand (and serve) your customers. It can help you see the full picture of your marketing campaigns and their success so that you can improve your marketing strategies in the future.
And if you combine data integration with business intelligence, you’ll be able to generate truly powerful insights, which will in turn allow you to make strategic, informed decisions, easier and faster than ever.
One great solution for cloud-based integration is Skyvia, a cloud data platform that allows you to integrate, back up, access and manage all of your business data. The main idea of this all-in-one platform is that it assists businesses with their integration needs, allowing you to merge disparate data in one place; this might sound complicated at first, but there’s absolutely no need for coding or specialist knowledge, it’s much more powerful than tools like Zapier and you can keep your info safe with automatic daily and anytime backups. What’s more, Skyvia can be integrated with the likes of Salesforce, NetSuite and MySQL.
Integrate communication channels
Phone, email, internal messaging services, WhatsApp, Skype, loudhailer… there are many ways we can communicate these days. But wouldn’t it be great if we could simplify the whole dialogue process? Unified Communications (UC) has been embraced by a growing number of businesses, as it integrates your telecommunications with future-proof tech to engender flexibility, efficiency and smoother collaboration. An integrated platform also allows you to connect with customers and colleagues wherever you are, at the click of a button.
Placing all your internal and external communications into one place naturally helps employees better resolve internal problems, but importantly, it sets the scene for the kind of joined-up thinking that results in an improved customer service strategy. Front is one such unified platform that lets you check email, respond to a tweet or live chat query, and deliver a high-touch experience at scale, all from one place for the entire team:
Use task management software
Digital technology in the form of task management software enables better execution of projects large and small, principally by helping parties set achievable targets and deadlines in line with data fed into the program, itself. With task management solutions, you can easily track your team’s progress, anticipate potential stumbling blocks, prioritize pressing tasks and identify opportunities for ROI. What’s more, such software offers scalability, since the it evolves and develops as your business grows.
Of the available options, Wrike is considered one of the best. The cloud-based collaboration and project management software is used by 18,000 customers worldwide, including giants like Google and Jaguar. Use Wrike to generate real-time reports and status updates on all active projects, accelerate delivery and live-edit shared files.
Get more done with remote work
Attitudes towards remote working have evolved in recent years, and most companies and employees alike endorse the view that remote work is a boon to productivity. According to a Gallup poll, the number of individuals working remotely four or five days a week rose from 24% to 31% between 2012 and 2016, and the mutual benefits are quite clear. From a staffing perspective, the availability of work-from-home opportunities influences whether candidates take up a position (or stay in one). A recent study showed that companies who support remote work boast a 25% higher retention rate than those who don’t; the companies were also able to hire 33% faster than others. Of course, job performance is still the key metric: but with integrated communication channels, top-rated task management software and cloud computing, there’s no reason home-workers can’t be just as productive as their office-based contemporaries. As for the effect on customers, it needn’t be negative – unless, of course, your business is B2C and directly consumer-facing.
With a bit of luck, you’ll have reached this conclusion having fully digested the advice that’s gone before. At present, a warm-fuzzy feeling – equal parts motivation and enlightenment – will be flooding through your body. OK, perhaps that might be a tad ambitious. But hopefully, I’ve provided some food for thought. Now is the time to eliminate inefficiency and waste from your business, to better meet customer expectations and inspire brand loyalty by enhancing your operation across the board.