As the competition gets tougher and tougher, entrepreneurs – small businesses and startups, especially, feel the nagging pressure to think outside-the-box to stand-out. But despite the ever-changing business climate, what remains basically the same are the business fundamentals and management traits essential to running a productive and efficient business operation.
Efficiency being a cornerstone to success, here’s a round-up of important things to remember when managing a start-up:
Focus on one thing at a time.
“Not everything matters equally, and success isn’t a game won by whoever does the most.” – Gary Keller, Author
There’s a certain amount of pride that comes with being labeled as a “multitasker.” In a world that’s full of “instants” and always in a rush, the ability to perform several tasks at the same time is something that’s revered. But while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do more faster, multitasking is not always the best idea when running or managing a business.
It’s alright to want to get involved in almost every aspect of your business operations as long as you don’t try to deal with them all at once. Doing several things together can be counterproductive as it divides your focus and may sacrifice the quality of the results.
Whatever it is that you are about to do deserves your full attention. Focus on the task at hand, give it your best shot, and move to the next one only when it’s done. When a job is not up your alley, you don’t have to take it on. Instead, choose to delegate it to someone with the right skill-set.
Handle fewer tasks, but with better focus. You don’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades. Mastering one should be more than enough.
Eliminate distractions as much as possible.
Focus is a fragile thing. Once you lose it, you can easily spend an entire day without accomplishing anything. While some people have the mind-blowing ability to concentrate despite lingering distractions, the majority is likely to have a tougher time controlling their minds and fixing their attention on the task at hand when disturbed.
Blocking out distractions is an essential step in the journey towards becoming a more efficient organization. Even the slightest disruptions can affect productivity and prevent you from getting the most out of everyone.
People often site proper time management as the key to business efficiency. If that is so, then you definitely have to manage distractions better. When your work environment is free from all sorts of intrusions and interruptions, you and your staff can dedicate your time and energy to whatever task is in front of you.
Make communicating easier.
There’s nothing wrong with using emails for office communication and collaboration efforts, but it’s no longer the most efficient nowadays. In fact, the constant buzzing of email notification is quite distracting and may affect productivity in small-scale businesses and startups.
Suffice it to say, emails and phone calls have become outdated as far as team communication goes. Task management programs and applications are the future. These tools are a more efficient alternative for collaborative efforts. As these programs support most of the basic functions like calls, chats, file-sharing, time-tracking, and task management, you can access everything in one place and be in the loop about what’s going on with the team. Indeed a great way to increase productivity!
Know your priorities.
In his book, The 7 Secrets of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey wrote, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
What sets successful people apart from the rest is their ability to prioritize tasks that are essential and crucial to the fulfillment of their goals – whether it’s personal or for the business. If you’re having a tough time prioritizing, listing down your tasks and goals helps. When you finally have that list, rank them according to how valuable they are to the growth and progress of your startup. Always prioritize tasks that are both urgent and indispensable to your long-term plans.
Set realistic goals.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to dreams, but as a business person, you need to find a balance between dreams and reality. By all means, dream big and allow your head to explore the clouds, but keep your feet firmly planted on your present-day realities. Setting the bar too high may only lead to resentments and disappointments later on. And in the early stages of your startup-journey, the last thing you need is a reason to lose heart.
That said, don’t let go of the big goals you’ve set for yourself. Instead, break them into smaller, achievable milestones and make your way up the ladder with every milestone you tick off the list. Work slowly but surely. One day, you’ll be surprised by how far you’ve come. You’re already so close to top without even realizing it!
“Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” ―Conrad Hilton
Success is what happens when you keep moving forward despite the hardships and obstacles. Nobody said running a startup is easy. At some point in your journey, you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel and call it quits.
Show up; even when the days are dark, and the future is uncertain, get yourself to work. Refocus on your priorities; ponder on the things that you could’ve done better and more efficiently, and start working from there. Take things one day at a time. Eventually, you’ll get to where you want to be. You’ll see.