Why Small Business Owners Struggle With Productivity (And How to Fix It)

Are you experiencing small business productivity problems? Running a business, leading a team, and accomplishing priorities can be difficult.

As a small business owner, you do a lot, don’t you? You vet ideas, meet with your team, and seek ways to improve your product or service in addition to all the daily tasks you have on your list. If you’re floundering and struggling with productivity problems or know someone who is, know that you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon.

Today’s post is all about one of the main reasons small business owners (especially those leading a team) struggle to improve their productivity — and a simple tool they can use to fix it for good.

 

 

3 Small Business Productivity Problems You Must Fix

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but, it’s helpful to know what the pitfalls are — and yes, there are many — so that you can avoid them. What should you look out for? What’s the key reason small business owners struggle? Two words: Time management.

What exactly does that mean? We all have the same 24 hours in the day, right? For a small business owner like you who has multiple hats to wear and just one body for those hats, those 24 hours can be tricky. And, sometimes painful when you lose clients or leads.

When you focus on the wrong things at the wrong time, nothing seems to fall into place. You get agitated and that enthusiasm you may have once started out with goes missing in action. Almost out of nowhere. In fact, it might now be replaced by tension, stress, and overwhelm because things are starting to fall through the cracks.

Poor time management can take several forms. Here are three ways it can rear its ugly head.

Download the Free Time Plan

1. Productivity Problem: No Day-to-Day Structure

If you’ve ever worked in the corporate world, you know that there are systems and processes you need to follow. You’re responsible for how you manage your time and will be called upon to report on your progress.

As a company founder, you likely don’t have someone you need to report to. And, when you’re at the helm of your business without a daily structure in place, it can become too easy for you to take your eye off of top priorities and to get sucked down rabbit holes, otherwise known as bottomless e-mail boxes, endless meetings, and ever-growing social media networking.

Oh, and remember those endless meetings I mentioned? When your team is caught up in them with you, they can’t be very productive either. Decreased productivity will probably affect your bottom line.

2. Productivity Problem: Missed Deadlines

With distractions at every turn, your focus will get pulled in all the wrong directions and you’re bound to miss deadlines, important phone calls, high-quality leads, or even your most valuable clients. You might find yourself arriving late to meetings that you are hosting.

3. Productivity Problem: Doing It All

So, you have a team. You probably have an assistant. A good one, too. And, yet you still attempt to do it all. Or, maybe you give in to the urge to micromanage one too many times. Maybe you say yes to every new project that lands on your desk or you attempt to solve problems that are best handled by someone else.

When you try to do everything, are always available, or when you regularly hover over your employees’ shoulders, you’ll probably get overwhelmed. And, so will the people on your team.

Click to see full infographic from NFIB.com: “Productivity and Business Owners”

What Do All These Productivity Problems Add Up To?

Here’s a formula to consider:

No Daily Structure + Missed Deadlines + Doing Everything = Frustration & Failure

You know how painful this feels. You become more stressed and feel on edge all the time. As a result, your conversations with your team and even family members will likely start breaking down.

You might try to “make up” for this lack of productivity by skipping family time and by working longer days and on the weekends. This means you’ll have less time to do things you really love and no time to recharge so you can focus on improving your business.

And, it only gets worse from there. Overworking leads to burn out and can push you to throw the towel in. You’ll simply give up and what’s more, you’ll no longer have the drive or desire to do much of anything.

But, you don’t have to let things get that far. There is a solution — a quick, easy to implement tool that you can start using immediately to right the ship and get back on the right course.

Download the Free Time Plan

 

How to Fix The Productivity Problems

It’s time to stop missing deadlines. Stop piling more on your plate. Stop using the “loosey-goosey method” of managing your time. Instead, be mindful. Be strategic and use a time plan.

What’s a time plan? It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a simple, structured guide I created for my small business clients. As as a Certified Professional Organizer® and productivity consultant, I’ve worked with many business owners who couldn’t figure out where all their time went. They were busy — very busy, in fact.

The problem was that they had nothing to show for it — no real productive results and accomplishments. These company owners were doing many things, but not focusing on the right priorities at the right time.

They recognized that they needed help. And, they didn’t want a long and complicated process to follow. Who could blame them? They already led fast-paced home and work lives.

They simply needed to solve their small business productivity problems so they could focus on making their companies more profitable. And, they also wanted to enjoy life without having to spend gobs and gobs of time trying to learn and follow a complex set of rules just to get things done.

Download the Free Time Plan


Why Small Business Owners With Teams Struggle & How to Fix It

The RaPiD Productivity Time Plan Can Help

So, I developed the RaPiD Productivity System. It’s an easy to implement, three-step process that any small business owner (especially those leading small teams) can use to quickly:

  1. Identify the time zombies that eat up productive minutes
  2. Create a strategic daily plan to stave off distractions
  3. Focus on the right things at the right time
  4. Find and use the best tech tools and apps to get things done

How do I know the RaPiD Productivity System works? Well, I’ve also used it myself. As an appaholic (I really do love apps!) and technology enthusiast, it can be easy to take my eye off the prize and focus on the latest gadgets and apps.

I’ve also pivoted a few times in my company, created new services, and even let go a few. Change brings its own challenges and distractions. And, I’ve used the RaPiD Productivity System to keep me focused and moving in the right direction without over-taxing my brain cells or my family time.

 

 

Download The Time Plan to Boost Your Productivity

I’ve already mentioned the RaPiD Time Plan, a component of the RaPiD Productivity System. A nice thing about this tool is that it can be used as a stand-alone guide as to jumpstart your productivity.

If you’re looking for a quick way to structure your day so that you can spend time working on your Most Important Tasks (MITs), the RaPiD Productivity Time Plan is the right tool for you.

To use the plan, simply add a few pieces of information:

  • Tasks you normally work every day
  • Time estimate of how long each task will take
  • Your MITs with time estimates

The RaPiD Productivity Time Plan will also have blank spaces so you can add things that come up, things like unexpected meetings or non-priority tasks. By accounting for these “in the moment” tasks, you can realistically decide what action to take and how long you’ll spend on them. Or, you can choose to delete or delay them.

You won’t have to create a time plan from scratch. You can download my RaPiD Productivity Time Plan with step-by-step instructions. All you have to do is use it.

Isn’t time for you to take back control of your day so you can be more productive and improve your profitability?

Download the Free Time Plan

 

Hey there, I’m Deb. I’m a Digital Business Coach, Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker, and productivity consultant. I’m also addicted to apps and love helping Small Office and Home Office entrepreneurs use technology to be more productive.

Comments ( 4 )
  • Seana Turner says:

    Your comment about not micromanaging the team is really resonating with me today. I worked with a client recently who had left her job because she felt micromanaged by her boss. In fact, everyone in the office was apparently feeling the same way, knowing that whatever they wrote or did, the boss would redo it. The situation was very de-motivating and a productivity-killer. After all, why work hard if you know that it will be redone? Giving your team some trust and opportunity to try/fail is very important.

    • Deb Lee says:

      That’s a tough one, Seana. When the business is your baby, sometimes it’s hard to let go of some things and trust that your team can handle their responsibilities.

      But, then on the flipside, it’s a huge time suck when you micromanage and you’ll tick off your employees. Two words: No bueno. Did your client ever tell her employer (even during an exit interview) how she felt?

  • Janet Barclay says:

    This sentence really jumped out for me: “When you focus on the wrong things at the wrong time, nothing seems to fall into place.”

    People often talk about doing the right things and the right time, but turning it around shows the impact. I’ve often got caught up in something because it was important – but it didn’t need to be dealt with at that moment.

    I generally manage to avoid getting distracted by things I see online, by adding them to Pocket. Once a week I’ll go there to read what I’ve saved and share as appropriate. (That said, my Pocket list is getting kind of long – again!)

    • Deb Lee says:

      You’re right, Janet — some things may be important but don’t need your attention at that time. The tricky part is negotiating with yourself because you feel like working on them anyway. LOL 😉

      And, thanks for reminding me to check my Pocket. I haven’t cleaned it out in a while! =O

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