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Encompass® Agency Insights

4 Tips to Help Increase Productivity for your Small Business

Juggling your own business and following up with customers can be enough to make you wish there were more hours in the day! Add in administrative tasks and marketing, and it's natural to feel like you need to add staff just to get it all done. These productivity tips could help you get the job done faster.

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  1. Automate basic tasks. Lead tracking, social media management, and invoicing are time consuming. Try to better manage your time by implementing automated solutions. Not sure which basic tasks are taking up the most time? Try using a time tracking app to find out exactly where each hour of your day goes. Analyze a week or a month's worth of data to identify which tasks are the biggest "time sucks" and either automate or delegate accordingly.

  2. Improve employee training. Your team is smart, capable, accomplished and ready to make your agency a local leader—so why does it feel like sometimes when you delegate a task, it takes twice as long for someone else to do it? The problem might be your employee training practices. Handing employees a binder filled with how-to instructions is a good start, but effective employee training may need to go further. Arrange for new employees to "shadow" other team members. Foster a "learning culture" where employees are encouraged to ask questions and get clarification on tasks they don't understand, rather than attempting to "go it alone". Invite employees to provide feedback on their training experience and ways to streamline the process. Finally, don't limit training sessions to new employees; make training a continuous process where the whole team can be involved.

  3. Schedule tasks for specific hours. If you spend your whole day in reaction mode, you'll always be running from one fire to the next. Block off one to two hours each day to address admin or marketing tasks that would otherwise fall through the cracks. Pick a set time each day and work it into your schedule. For example, if you know the early afternoon hours are generally slowest at your agency, block off 1pm to 2pm for admin work. Turn off your email and let your team know this is a "no distractions" period to knock out your work.

  4. Break down daunting projects into manageable tasks. You've been meaning to get active on social media for months, but you still haven't set up a Facebook page, much less published a post. Twitter and Instagram? You're more likely to land on the moon than get active on those networks! Social media can seem like an insurmountable project. Break it down into smaller tasks that can easily be completed in 15-minutes or less. In the case of social media, for example, start by setting 15 minutes aside to edit your Facebook profile. For your next task, brainstorm content ideas with your staff. For your third task, put these ideas on a content schedule. Once you've chipped away at your Facebook presence, you can get started with Twitter. By crossing off one task at a time, you avoid being overwhelmed by the project or letting the old excuses from stopping you before you start.

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