Running a startup is far from easy. You need not only to be persuasive to attract investors despite all the risks and uncertainties but must also know how to deliver on your original business idea well.
Like in the case of any other company, a startup’s success depends on the quality of its performance results a lot. And since it’s a rare startup that enjoys an abundance of financial resources, the pressure is immense.
To deal with the challenges all startups face, you have to be wildly enthusiastic about your endeavour. Plus, you must be diligent, focus on productivity, and implement the right methods for boosting it.
So, what is productivity then?
It is your ability to show consistent performance results and attain formulated objectives on schedule (or ahead of it). Productivity means utilizing your resources to their maximum potential. It means adjusting your behaviours and routines in a way that makes you more efficient and ensures high-quality outputs.
To help you out with this difficult task, here, we’ll review the four most effective productivity-boosting methods. Use them to improve your work results and grow into a sound and profitable business.
1. Formulate SMART performance goals
Goals encourage actions. But it’s not enough to keep in mind an overall vision of what you want to achieve. You also need to develop smaller performance goals to drive your daily work activities towards the desired outcomes.
When formulating your performance goals, make sure they are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. SMART performance goals will give you a sense of direction. They will help you understand what productivity is for your business and provide you with the tools to measure how productive you are.
To develop a SMART goal for your startup, follow these five steps:
Specify what you want to achieve in as many details as possible
Indicate who must be involved in the work process, where it should take place, and why the positive results are important for your business.
Think of how you’re going to measure your progress and success
If your desired work outcomes can be quantified, clearly state how many items you would like to produce.
Analyze your ability to satisfy your performance goals
Do you have all the necessary resources to complete the task? If not, how can you fill in any gaps in knowledge, talents, and technologies quickly and effectively?
Think of how to meet your performance goals without much stress & hurry
Identify all possible barriers and risks. Remember that there’s no point in having a plan that’s impossible to follow through.
Choose a specific timeframe to work within.
Estimate time and set a deadline to create a sense of urgency and get an extra motivation boost.
2. Increase efficiency with technology
Modern technologies promote innovation and allow for higher efficiency on all fronts. They automate work processes and handle large sets of complex data with ease. Thereby, technology can help you improve decision making and optimize workflows by eliminating mistakes and time wasters.
The type of efficiency-boosting technology you may apply largely depends on the nature of your occupation.
However, artificial intelligence and automation have already found their way into almost every industry. And in its elementary form, automation can be utilized as a software tool: anything from such project management apps as Asana or Wrike to specialized software integrators like Zapier.
These and other software products are meant to streamline your workflows and make the management process much more effortless. Thus, if you strive to boost your startup’s productivity, be sure to give them a try.
3. Manage resources wisely
Resource management is the process of planning and allocating various business assets — money, equipment, skills, and time — in the best way possible.
It serves to foster an uninterrupted work process and effective project delivery. It helps to foresee resourcing problems, promote efficiency, and prevent employee burnout through smart workload planning. In other words, resource management is the key to higher productivity.
Therefore, you must devote enough attention to performing it right if you want to be successful as a startup:
Plan your projects and work activities thoroughly
Without a clear-cut plan, you won’t have a chance to understand which resources and how many of them you need to complete work successfully.
Estimate and forecast your resourcing needs
Your estimates and calculations must be as precise as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of efficient estimation techniques to choose from. However, make sure you apply them correctly and refer to quality evidence to support your estimation efforts.
Adopt effective allocation practices
Some of the most important ones are budgeting, role and workload distribution, scheduling, and timeline mapping. Proceed to them only with a holistic vision of your project and considering all the risks to the sustainability of your work activities. This will help you increase accuracy and make the most of these practices.
Implement efficient control tools
Many apps that include functionality for project reporting and enable users to monitor performance progress may be suitable for this role.
But the tools allowing you to collect specific types of data, such as info on project costs or the use of working hours, are the best choice. So, you will only benefit from utilizing a cost- or time-tracker.
actiTIME, for instance, lets users keep a record of both the time spent on tasks and labour expenses. In this way, it helps you see how effectively your team complies with initial time estimates and budgets.
Evaluate your resource management outcomes
The main reason for doing so is learning. By evaluating your results, you can identify mistakes, undertake timely corrective measures, and avoid repeating the same errors in the future.
Practice resource management wisely, and you’ll eliminate the risk of resource shortages. You will make sure nothing stays on the way towards your startup’s productive performance.
4. Create a Supportive Environment
Work environment impacts productivity a great deal. It’s not just about the quality of physical space but also about the culture, social relationships, and overall management style. Hence, regardless of how many professionals work for your startup, strive to create a favourable environment for them.
Establish a comfortable, distraction-free, and ergonomic workspace
It should be well-equipped, well-lit, and properly ventilated for everyone to feel good, stay focused, and have access to all the necessary work items.
Prioritize your teammates’ well-being
People are your most valuable assets. The better they feel, the higher levels of motivation and productivity they usually show. Thus, your role as a leader is to help them be happy and satisfied. The way to do so is by maintaining a healthy work-life balance, recognizing workers’ contributions, and providing support.
Develop a positive, inclusive, and collaborative culture
Such a culture is characterized by a friendly atmosphere and strong team cohesion. It welcomes active professional interactions and constructive dialogue — the two things a team needs to generate innovative ideas, resolve problems in a creative fashion, and work together as productively as possible.
Promote employee autonomy
Higher employee autonomy increases productivity. Hence, it would be best if you avoided micromanagement and overly rigid rules. Instead, offer more flexibility to your teammates and let them choose how to approach their duties. The results of a more democratic management style and informal work arrangements are bound to be rewarding for both you and your employees.
Summing up the above, let’s briefly look at the main ingredients in the recipe for your startup’s productivity once again:
- A supportive environment where your team feels satisfied and motivated
- Effective resource management that allows for optimal use of business assets
- Efficiency-boosting technology
- SMART performance goals that grant you a sense of direction
Consider all four of them, and you’ll never fail to show magnificent performance results, raise productivity, and enjoy all the success you deserve.