8 Productivity Tips for Startups & Small Business Owners

Small business owners and startups have never-ending to-do lists, meetings, networking events, admin etc., and simply not enough time in which to do all of it in. Getting more done seems impossible, but hopefully these productivity tips can help you curb interruptions and make the most of the time that you do have.


1. Create a daily to-do list

Take 10 minutes daily to jot down a to-do list; it will allow you to gain perspective on all that has to achieved and assist you to keep on course as much as possible. Prioritise tasks according to urgency, group similar tasks together and endeavour to schedule meeting-free days.


2. Switch off notifications

Anything that takes your attention away from the matter at hand is a distraction, whether it is work-related or not. Allow a brief period for emails, WhatsApp messages, phone calls, social media messages and any other form of communication at the beginning, middle and end of your day, and then switch these off during the intervals in-between.


3. Do the most difficult task first

While you may want to postpone tougher tasks for as long as possible, doing this only absorbs more of your energy. Rather tackle the most challenging task of the day first thing in the morning, where possible, when you are still fully recharged.


4. Create a productive workspace

Did you know that your actual workspace could be reducing your productivity? Ensure that your work environment is clutter-free, peaceful and with minimal noisy distractions. Contribute to your success by investing in good comfortable office furniture and endeavour to have the best office equipment you can afford, so as to work efficiently as possible.


5. Become an early bird

When asked in an interview at what time he got up every morning, Marnus Broodryk, a well-known South African entrepreneur and self-made millionaire at 24, said his alarm goes off at 4am. Getting up early gives him the advantage to get ahead before the “real” work day starts.

This could be a great trick to boost your productivity and reduce distractions and make good use of this time, otherwise what would be the point? Not an early bird? Why not try working at night instead? Just remember, that in order for your body to function properly you need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

At the end of the day, you are still only one person and it is impossible to be in two places at once. While the dream is to grow your start-up business to the point where you can employ staff to assist you, this goal is often only achieved later down the line.

Our final three tips look at ways in which you can boost your productivity with the help of cost-effective resources.


6. Employ software solutions

Save time by utilising automated software solutions for your bookkeeping and social media needs. As a result of Covid-19, virtual meetings have become the way to meet “face-to-face”. Use this software more to save time commuting to and from meetings. Research software programs that could help you automate your most straightforward tasks.


7. Look at outsourcing

While it may be true that employing staff full-time is simply not in your budget, perhaps outsourcing those specialised tasks to a consultant or freelancer for a few hours per month could be.


8. Consider employing an intern

There are hundreds of thousands of college graduates in need of work experience. An internship program is an excellent way for them to gain experience in the workplace without it costing employers an arm and a leg.

Many small business owners may dismiss this idea; thinking that they won’t have much to offer but look at it another way. The building blocks of the South African economy are startups like yours. You, your business, and your business ethic therefore have a lot to offer the young minds of SA. An intern can learn a lot from you and in the process be an extra pair of hands, and an extra pair of ears to bounce ideas off.


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