Entrepreneurs have never-ending to-do lists. In the Powerful Productivity series, Chase helps business owners get a leg up on their productivity by sharing stories of successful entrepreneurs who know how to get things done. This article originally appeared in the American City Business Journals.
We’d all love to be far more productive every day—ship more orders, respond to more inquiries, chat up more leads. It’s no wonder, then, that many people look to boost productivity with life hacks like early rising and special diets. You might be among them.
And if so, you’re not alone. A recent study from researchers at The Alternative Board showed that 63 percent of business owners work more than 50 hours a week—but only one-third of that time is spent on issues that are both important and urgent to the business. What’s more, 77 percent of business owners want to spend more time completing truly urgent tasks.
As long as there are only 24 hours in a day, increasing productivity is key to making time for what’s important. In fact, according to the annual Chase Business Leaders Outlook for 2018, one in four business owners said that increasing their productivity was one of their top three business challenges.
But how? “There are several ways business owners can increase their efficiency and productivity,” said Jeff Hofmann, general manager of Chase Ink® business credit cards, in a recent interview with the American City Business Journals.
Hofmann suggests focusing on these key areas to improve your business through productivity.
1. Refine your vision
If you’re a business owner and don’t have a clear sense of who you are, what your business is and where you want to take your company, then you’re likely to meander along without direction. This will impact your own productivity and that of your employees, Hofmann says.
Most business owners start out with an idea of what you want your company to do. But that’s not enough—you’ll need to break that idea down to the goals and objectives to unlock your vision.
“That’s where we see a lot of opportunity for small businesses,” Hofmann says. “They have an idea for what they want to do. But it’s kind of in the brick-and-mortar building blocks that we need to try to help them.”
2. Know when to say no
It takes courage to pass up what may seem like a great opportunity in order to focus on longer-term goals and vision.
“As you’re starting out and you have this vision, every person who’s calling seems like an opportunity to you,” Hofmann says. “It’s critical for any business owner to look at where they’re spending their time and make sure that it ladders up to their goal.”
3. Hire and train the right team
Where can business owners find the right people to help build their company? “That is one of the things we constantly hear,” Hofmann says.
The answer is to have the patience to wait for the right people. “The worst thing you can do is just go out and hire a person off the street because you’re just trying to fill a role quickly.”
4. Eliminate distractions
The most effective leaders have ways of eliminating distractions. Hofmann says one tactic that he’s seen succeed is to look at your calendar in two-week blocks of time. That’ll help you make sure you’re in control of the schedule.
He emphasizes that a business owner’s calendar isn’t limited to the workday. “How are you optimizing your personal life and your business life?” he asks. “You have to figure out ways to dedicate time to your personal life and your business life, and be present in the moment.” Smart financial management is one way to eliminate distractions, Hofmann said.
No matter which of these tips you tackle first, finding ways to manage productivity in your business is key to growth.