Business productivity and business success are linked. Productivity begets success. As the productivity level drops, the odds of success are reduced. In the age of digital communication, technology decides a business’s fate. Putting technology aside means risking the business’ future.
Use of technology
To put it very simply, not making 100% use of technology puts your business way behind its competitors.
If you work online, use online resources for quick delivery of work, better project management and increased efficiency. Stay posted about new trends in business and technology. Online tools are getting smarter and smarter. Software solutions are available for small businesses as well as for large businesses. Robust security, embedded communication and efficient payment processing are all too easy now. Web-based project management tools have high demand because those tools account for better coordination and inter-team communication in an enterprise atmosphere.
A fixated approach acknowledges several business tools falling under three categories:
- Team management tools
- Business management tools
- Marketing tools
Let’s find out how these tools can increase business productivity:
Team management tools
Such tools can be paid as well as free. Paid tools can be more popular for having more features. Team management tools are task-focused, collaboration-driven and facilitate communication. Listed below are some of the activities, businesses perform using those tools:
- Assign projects to teams
- Fix the due date
- Inter-team collaboration
- Communicate with each team member individually
- Monitor the progress report of the team
- Remove teamwork bottlenecks
Managing a team indicates administering the coordination between a group of people with variegated skillsets. Business productivity gets hurt unless state of the art team management tools are used.
Basecamp and Sprintly are two excellent tools for team management. Here’s how these tools function:
Basecamp: The Basecamp tool is paid. It comes with two types of pricing – 29/month for managing the internal workforce and $79/month to include clients. Using basecamp, a team leader can allocate work to each team member, check the progress, and write comment. As the deadline nears, the tool sends employees email notification. Team management becomes super easy with the tool. Below is a screenshot of Basecamp:
Sprintly: Similar to Basecamp, Sprintly offers a dashboard where a team leader or a group leader can monitor the activities of individual team members. Sprintly has some unique features to it. One of them is checking the team’s activity in real-time. Another is pulling requests. The tool also lets team leaders know which employee/s are burdened with workload and which ones have a lesser volume of work. Managing a team becomes an intuitive experience with Sprintly.
Project management tools
Team management and project management tools are often understood as the same. The two, however, are not the same because not every aspect of project management is related to managing a large team.
Other aspects include setting KPIs to create performance benchmarks, getting project updates, reducing project cost, accessing analytics, predicting project outcomes and more. As data visualization is zipping into popularity, many project management tools are now being found with this feature.
Workflowmax is among the useful project management tools. Here’s a brief introduction of how it functions:
Workflowmax: This tool has lowered down costs for businesses. The key difficulty that project managers face is looking at the big picture as the individual pieces of information are fragmented. Workflowmax offers an efficient administrative system, monitor all phases of the company growth and most importantly, keep a tab on the cash-flow. In short, Workflowmax has gained traction for obvious reasons.
Business functionality tools
CRM and PoS tools fall into this category. Large businesses, especially the ones with long list of clients use CRM tools everywhere. The use of CRM tools is proportional to business productivity increase. Using those tools businesses store client feedback, improve the customer service experience and also track profitability. As clients are better managed, it leaves a positive impact on productivity.
Below is a useful CRM tool:
Clickmeeting: It’s a web conferencing tool, suitable for businesses with a large clientele. The tool lets managers and CEOs hold meetings with international delegates. Clickmeeting offers various customization options such as video conferencing, private and group chat, access to annotation tools, Google Translator integration. Two speakers don’t have to understand the native language of each other. The tool’s security is top-notch with 256-bit AES encryption. The pricing ranges from $30/month to $280/month.
PoS tools are useful for B2C brands, not so much for B2B brands. That’s because those tools are used in retail environments. Online and offline retail networks that depend on customer checkout should use cutting-edge PoS tools. Otherwise, their productivity will be hampered.
Among the user-friendly PoS tools, one is
Vend: The tool is described as a PoS tool with personality. Aside from standard PoS capabilities, Vend can create online stores that can deliver customers a positive experience. The tool can be accessed from Mac computer or iPad. Vend supports iZettle and Tyro other than PayPal. It also offers customers incentives on its own. Tracking inventory is super easy with Vend.
Vend’s customer support is unmatched. Other than email and community forum, technical support also includes phone support. On top of everything, Vend is affordable for retail store owners.
Productivity depends on promotion. Marketing tools are of two types; content tools and social media tools. Some tools are a cross between the two.
Below are some productive marketing tools:
Yotpo: The tool serves a very specific purpose but is rivetingly good at doing that. E-commerce brands can use this tool to generate positive reviews for their brands. Yotpo offers customers a mobile-based reviewing experience that they are sure to enjoy. This way more and more reviews accumulate and solidify the branding for e-commerce sites. The power of online review is immense in today’s marketing world, and e-commerce brands know that.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite lets social media managers take a sigh of relief. The key benefits of Hootsuite are it is a cloud-based tool, has a simple interface and manages multiple activities of multiple profiles from a unique dashboard. Users can access it online and won’t have to download any software.
Hootsuite is apt for handling a large team. Social media FAQ becomes easy with Hootsuite as users can store replies to customers, so they can be readily answered on social channels.
The analytics report is sent to the user’s email address, containing key insights such as demographic information, number of clicks, etc. Hootsuite’s pro version comes with 30-day free trial and there’s a free version as well, with limited features.
Due: The tool offers users a design and feature-rich dashboard. Due is used primarily for tracking invoice. Below, you can see the invoice tab:
Other than generating invoice, Due can also aid in time-tracking. The interface is clean and decluttered, helping users easily keep a tab on time.
The invoice generating process is fun-filled as users choose from a list of templates and the tool shows them the status of each invoice. Due also has a Client and a Project tab, making client handling and project management tasks easier. The tool has a free version as well as paid version.
Getresponse: This tool is an outstanding leverage for email marketers. Getresponse promotes itself as the world’s easiest email marketing tool. The tool quickly imports mailing lists, creates newsletters that look and feel professional. The tool also automates the whole marketing process with tremendous precision, resulting in increased email open and response rates.
Dissatisfied employees deter a business from becoming productive. To a short-sighted employer, employee welfare is not a priority because it doesn’t fetch him any immediate benefit. Little did he know that employee productivity necessitates employee benefits.
Long working hours, stressful work environment and no incentives cause employee productivity to fall off. As the company’s productivity is a sumtotal of employee productivity, business productivity eventually diminishes. Commitment to work is one thing, but pushing employees to work extra hours without incentivizing their work hampers productivity.
To get productivity hits its stride, an employer needs to introduce flexible work hours, allow employees to work from remote locations using IT management tools and offer performance-based incentives. Flex work hours have been found to reduce absenteeism and keep the performance level up, which in turn increases business productivity.
Employers who offer their employees HSA and IRA setup assistance gain their loyalty. Subsidizing employee health and meals and allowing them to interact more increases their productivity. In a company called Shortstack, employees chose group lunch over $3000 bonus per employee; it’s a revelation that employees need a flexible work atmosphere to show their productivity.
It takes time
As you incorporate the strategies discussed here, your business becomes more productive. Do not expect it to happen overnight, though. It will take time. Be patient and use business performance analytics to measure how the changes are affecting your business productivity.