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The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Maximum Efficiency

A woman in formal clothing working at a desk with an open laptop and a cup in her hand

Small business owners wear many hats and juggle numerous tasks all day, every day. With so much to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and struggle with productivity. However, implementing a few simple strategies can boost your efficiency and help you get the most out of every workday. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical tips and tricks that can help you achieve maximum efficiency and get ahead of the curve in the competitive world of small business. Whether you run a retail store, a consultancy or any other type of small business, these strategies will work for you.

Get Organised: The first step towards increased efficiency is to declutter your workspace. A tidy working environment reduces stress and distracts you from looming piles of paper. Set up a filing system for important documents, store items in their designated places, and allow ample storage space. In addition, organise your digital workspace and consider utilising project management software. This way, you’ll have a clear overview of your tasks and deadlines, and you can easily delegate work to team members if you have them.

Prioritise Tasks: One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is knowing where to focus their energy. Identify the most critical tasks that need your immediate attention and deal with them first. Create a daily to-do list and break each task into smaller, more manageable steps. Not only will this increase your productivity, but also help you maintain focus throughout the day.

Employ Time-Management Techniques: Good time management is about making the most of your working day. For example, you could use the Pomodoro method -a technique where you work for 25 minutes and take a five-minute break between sessions, then repeat- to combat procrastination and distractions. You can also make use of tools like RescueTime and Trello to track your productivity, identify your most productive times, and eliminate time-wasting activities.

Automate Processes: Automation is a fantastic way to streamline your workload and save time. Use software to handle administrative tasks like sending invoices, scheduling appointments, and responding to emails. This automation gives you more time to focus on growing your business, networking, and other high-level tasks that require your attention. You can also automate marketing and sales processes by using chatbots, social media scheduling tools, and email automation tools, among others.

Use Outsourcing Services: Outsourcing frees up your time and resources so that you can work on your core competencies, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. Outsource administrative tasks such as bookkeeping, social media marketing, and content creation to reliable and experienced agencies to further streamline your business operations. This way, you can focus on the essential aspects of your business, and the day-to-day tasks are handled efficiently by experienced professionals.

Running a small business is often a delicate balancing act, more so if you’re a first-time entrepreneur. With so many tasks vying for your attention, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. However, by implementing the above strategies, you can increase your efficiency, reduce stress, and grow your business more. Just remember to keep the end goal in sight, stay organised, and make the most of each day. With focus, consistency, and perseverance, you can achieve, and even exceed, all your business goals.

T: 01903 688789 E: makeithappen@mbsmih.com

Understanding The Average Productive Time Of An Employee

A woman working at a computer while taking a phonecall and writing in a notebook

In today’s fast-paced business world, time is money. It’s essential for small business owners to understand the average productive time of their employees to ensure optimised productivity. The average productive time of a UK employee is a crucial factor in determining the extent to which businesses can achieve productivity goals. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the specifics of how much time an average employee spends on productive tasks and what you, as a small business owner, can do to maximise it.

According to studies, the average productive time of an employee is 2 hours and 53 minutes! This means that the rest of the workday is spent on non-productive tasks such as checking emails, scrolling through social media, and chatting with colleagues. So, where does this leave businesses? It leaves them with an unsatisfactory amount of productive time which deters the growth of their company. If this is a recurring issue, there are some steps you can take to boost employee productivity.

Firstly, start by determining what tasks are critical to your business’s success. By setting clear expectations of what is expected of your employees, you will enable them to remain focused on the essential tasks that drive the business’s success. You can implement this by prioritising individual workloads or delegating specific responsibilities to your team, which can help them stay on track.

Secondly, consider the physical office environment. An office layout will significantly impact employee productivity, and research shows that it can enhance an employee’s mood and productivity. Optimising the office space is key when it comes to creating the perfect working environment. You can provide comfortable seating areas, natural light, and make sure the space is free from distractions like noise to help your team remain focused on their tasks.

Thirdly, adopt technology and automation. There are various software solutions that can streamline the workflows, tasks, and data management like CRM, collaboration tools, project management software, and more. Automating these tasks can create more time for your team to dedicate to other critical tasks.

Lastly, something as small as planning regular breaks can also help boost productivity. Studies show that allowing short breaks for employees can improve their mood, focus, and productivity. Encourage your employees to take intermittent breaks between tasks to refresh their mind and prevent fatigue.

Your team’s productivity is a critical component of your business’s success. Knowing the average productive time of a UK employee empowers small business owners to optimise their productivity and improve their work habits, leading to increased motivation and productivity. By prioritising tasks, optimising the office environment, automating tasks, and promoting frequent breaks, you can maximise the productivity of your employees and ensure the success and growth of your small business.

If you’d like to find out more about our thoughts on employee productivity, or talk about alternative solutions to increase your return on investment when it comes to choosing who can help you with your back-office tasks, get in touch!

T: 01903 688789 E: makeithappen@mbsmih.com

6 Festive Alternatives To An Office Party

Co-workers raising a champagne glass and celebrating in a Christmas decorated room

Every year hundreds of office parties take place, bringing co-workers together to partake in festivities. They are fun and great for team bonding, while allowing you to thank your team for all their hard work throughout the year. However, increasingly large numbers of businesses have shifted away from traditional office spaces, meaning that most businesses no longer have an ‘office’ to hold the party. What’s more, every company is different – be it in size or needs, so it’s important to explore every option, choosing one that is best suited to your team! With Christmas finally underway, we’d like to share with you some of our favourite festive alternatives to the classic office party. 

Potluck dinner – Restaurant outings are fun, and are almost as common as the office party, but can quickly become expensive or booked up. A potluck dinner is a great alternative and a fun twist on a classic – plus it’s cheaper than eating out and allows your team to freely chat over dinner. It also gives your team a chance to show their cooking flair with a signature dish.

Pub quiz – Hosting a pub quiz is a great team activity. It allows you and your employees to share and gain knowledge, and when split into teams it can become a fun, competitive activity. If you’re conscious of going out due to any restrictions or travel factors, “Zoom quizzes” are a great way to socialise remotely. While not quite as atmospheric as a pub quiz, it’s still a fantastic opportunity for quality team time as well as showing off your general (or festive) knowledge.

Team building day – If you have a day to spare this festive season, inviting your team to a team building event is a great way to spend it. The main strength of a team building activity is in the name – it allows your team to bond over some fun group activities! In turn, this leads to breaking down barriers, improved working relationships as well as a more productive team when ‘back on the job’. It is a diverse category, with many activities to choose from such as: escape rooms, board games, arts and crafts workshops, or cooking classes, just to name a few.

Karaoke night – Another twist on a pub night is a karaoke night! You might be able to find a karaoke bar in a larger town or city, but many pubs and bars also host karaoke nights. While it may seem intimidating for some, it’s a tried and tested activity perfect for a casual, festive outing. After all, what’s a better ice breaker than belting out your favourite Christmas tunes?

Ice skating – Ice skating is a great Winter activity for getting your team into the holiday spirit. Skating rinks pop up in many towns during Christmas season, so make the most of them while you can! It’s fun and rewarding and goes perfectly with a steaming cup of hot chocolate after you’re done!

Festive walk – Walks are a natural, cost-effective way for your team to come together and get into the holiday spirit. The UK is home to many stunning parks and areas of natural beauty, so why not wrap up warm and take advantage of them? Keep your eye out for seasonal events – National Trust sites often host winter-themed walks and workshops, perfect for an outing with your team.

While these alternatives are some of our favourites, there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to these things, so remember to chat with your team and accommodate them as best as you can. We hope this read has been insightful and provides you with some fun ideas to implement this festive season. If you’d like to find our more or require any other business support – we’d love to help! Get in touch:

T: 01903 688789 E: makeithappen@mbsmih.com

Decreasing Energy Usage When Working From Home

Laptop and Work From Home sign on a computer desk

It’s no surprise that in a post-pandemic world the number of people choosing to work from home maintains elevated. And while there are undoubted benefits, such as the decreasing of carbon emissions, travel expenses, and time – the rising costs of energy are becoming the number one downside to a home office.

In 2022 it was estimated that the average remote worker uses around 25% more electricity than a person working in a traditional office environment outside the home. While these statistics may sound discouraging, there are plenty of things that can be done to lessen the damage of your monthly energy bill. Check out our top tips for decreasing your energy consumption while working from home.

Turn appliances off at the plug

Leaving your electronics on stand-by is a common practice. However, turning your appliances off at the plug can make a noticeable difference to your yearly expenses. Don’t forget to unplug your mobile, laptop or other handheld devices once they reach full charge. Not only will doing so reduce your energy usage, but it will also extend your devices battery life. If you struggle to remember to turn your appliances off, consider purchasing smart plugs or other affordable smart home devices. Smart plugs allow you to automate your devices turning on and off using an app or voice commands.

 Switch to energy saving lightbulbs and turn off lights

Did you know that lighting up our homes is responsible for almost 15% of our total energy usage throughout the year? There are several things that can be to reduce this, starting with simply turning off the lights that aren’t being used. Form a good habit and always switch off the lights when you leave a room! Consider changing out your lightbulbs for LED’s which use over 75% less energy when compared to a standard bulb – they are both more energy efficient as well as longer lasting. Remember to make full use of natural lighting and when possible, set up your working space near a natural light source (e.g., a window, skylight, or glass door).

Insulate and eliminate draughts

Many remote workers don’t have the resources for professional draught-proofing, but there are other budget friendly solutions which can help to insulate your home. Popular choices include draught proofing strips for doors and windows, chimney balloons, keyhole covers and letterbox flaps and brushes. A good habit is drawing the curtains as soon as the sun sets, as it will help to create a further barrier between your home and the outdoor temperature. Thick and heavyweight curtains are often considered best for the job as they provide more insulation than those made from lighter fabrics.

Reevaluate your heating usage and opt for layers

While we know that completely turning off the heating is neither realistic nor pleasant, we’ve all been guilty of turning the thermostat to full instead of putting on a jumper. In fact, research shows that by turning down the thermostat by just one degree you can decrease your energy bill by over £100 per year! So, make the most of your winter wardrobe and layer up! If you’re especially prone to the cold, choose more insulating fabrics such as wool, which has been scientifically proven to keep you warmer than other readily available fabrics. Finally, don’t waste energy by heating rooms you don’t use – instead designate a working space and close doors to improve heat retention. Remember that heat rises, therefore an upstairs office may prove a more efficient working space in the colder months.

As a small, remote business we understand the importance of optimising your home office while not breaking the bank! If you have any queries you would like to discuss or require any additional business support, we’d love to help! Get in touch:

T: 01903 688789 E: makeithappen@mbsmih.com

How To Stay Consistent

open planner on a light wooden surface with paperclips on the side

No matter what your goals may be, consistency is always the best strategy to get you there. It reflects discipline and dedication, as well as promoting productivity- ultimately helping you build that pivotal momentum. Though it comes with its own challenges, it is the fastest route to success. Consistency holds strong importance both in and out of your working life, so we’ve prepared some beneficial tips to help you achieve it.

Adapt a positive outlook

Your mindset can have a huge impact on your daily approach and willingness to work. Therefore, adapting a nurturing approach for your wellbeing can go a long way when pursuing your goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself or be afraid to put your needs first, good physical and mental health is a key influence on consistency. Make sure you look after yourself with a balanced diet, good sleep, and downtime. It will set you up for a more productive working routine and help you reach your targets while avoiding collateral burnout.

Be around likeminded people

Don’t tackle everything on your own, surround yourself with likeminded, positive people. A supportive network of friends and colleagues plays a major role in having the confidence to go after what you want, while providing motivation and reassurance in times of stress. It also promotes sharing your aspirations with others which is a great tactic for maintaining drive and holding yourself accountable. Make realistic commitments and put them out into the world, a trusted network will help you get there and push you over the finish line when you’re lacking stamina.

Work during your most productive hours

Picking the best time to work is important for making your output consistent. You may be an early bird and have more energy in the morning, or conversely, you may be a night owl and have higher energy levels later in the day. Knowing when your energy levels are high and thus knowing when you put out your best work is key to consistency. Once you know when your best work is made, it’s easier to plan your day around it and get things done. Getting into a routine ensures that your body knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time to rest, so that you’re always ready to put out quality content.

Plan your workloads

Spreading your workload is important. When we try to do more than we are designed to do, our anxiety levels begin to rise, and the quality of our work suffers. Do a little every day and micro-manage your tasks, every dedicated minute is progress no matter the scale. If you ever find that you have too much to do and not enough time, ask for help. Consistency often comes in the form of being proactive and knowing when to seek a helping hand. If it is business support you require, then outsourcing or delegating may be the key to achieving consistent high-quality content.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can be more consistent or need that extra helping hand to get you over the finish line – we would love to help! Get in touch:

E: makeithappen@mbsmih.com   T: 01903 688789