by Ian Cowley, managing director of www.cartridgesave.co.uk
A lot of the advice I share is about productivity. After all, the more efficient you are, the more the business – and you – benefit.
So if you only remember five things today, remember these. I guarantee, they will make fitting 25 hours into a working day possible.
Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees when your business is experiencing rapid growth. Which means you often end up fire-fighting rather than taking a more, informed strategic approach. Take time to reflect on what’s happening in order to get perspective and devise tactics to enable further growth. And don’t just limit this thinking time to you. Encourage all your staff to stick their heads over the parapets and actually consider, rather than just do.
Put away the electronic distractions.
Concentration is easily broken with email and phone interruptions. Research has shown than stopping to read an email results in a 16 minute distraction – one minute to read the message and a further 15 minutes to get your mind back to whatever you were working on. If you need to get your head down, establish guidelines to limit distractions. Put your phone on silence, disconnect instant messenger and limit yourself to only checking messages every hour.
Consult your team daily.
Life is much easier when your team are fully on board. The more you share your strategy with them, the more they will be aligned with your vision. Which means even the decisions they make without consulting you, will be made as if you’re involved.
Plan for staff departures.
In a small business, the loss of a valued employee can really disrupt the business. Pre-empt this by forecasting moves and preparing for them. We find that we can anticipate the length of each staff employment based on age and seniority. For example those fresh from uni are likely to stay for 18-24 months to build up experience before leaving to explore the opportunities of a larger corporate.
Put in place an on-going recruitment and training programme that works with your forecasted departures. Meaning you will have a replacement in-house when a resignation is made.
People are naturally productive. Their natural drive is to succeed. But motivation can be easily thwarted if they don’t feel valued. It’s not always easy to pay market rates when you start-up. But you can tell people how much you appreciate their hard-work, when they’ve done a good job, and celebrate the achievements of the team, with the team. It costs nothing (or maybe a round at the pub).
Ian Cowley is the managing director of the UK’s largest dedicated printer cartridge company – www.cartridgesave.co.uk.