5 Tips for Getting Productivity Back on Track After an Extended Leave
4 May

5 Tips for Getting Productivity Back on Track After an Extended Leave

With businesses and venues beginning to open back up for operations in the near future following the COVID-19 stay at home orders, many entrepreneurs are looking to hit the ground running to make up for the time away. After spending several weeks working remotely, however, many business owners may be wondering just how to best transition their teams back to working on site again. Though the nation has proven true perseverance in such an unprecedented time, such a degree of change has never been maneuvered before, leaving many of us anxious to get things back on track quickly (and smoothly) as soon as things are deemed safe for their return. So just how does one go about getting productivity back on track after an extended leave?

Getting Productivity Back on Track

When it comes to getting your business operations back in full swing, it’s not as simple as returning to work and expecting things to magically go back to pre-social distancing mode right away. In fact, things may never get back to the same norm that was experienced before the entire world adapted to the pandemic by implementing work-from-home measures. There will likely be many obstacles and bumps along the way as entrepreneurs attempt to get back in the black and transition their workforce practices back to traditional work environments.

“It’s far from clear quite what normal will look like after COVID-19, but it seems likely that our desire to trek into the office will be tested after a prolonged period of acclimatization towards remote working from both workers and managers alike,” explains Forbes.com.

The best plan of attack for smoothing the transition and getting things going as quickly as possible is to outline a comprehensive yet flexible objective for the process. It’s important to consider the circumstances surrounding not only your business, but your business team, and to maintain a certain level of flexibility as things begin to move from one dynamic to the next. To help, here are 5 tips for helping to get productivity back on track with the return to work nearing:

1 – Create a Phased Plan

With so many unknowns and uncertainties surrounding the phasing out of social distancing, a gradual approach to reopening traditional operations seems the safest choice. Though many may be gearing up to ramp productivity 100% from day one, that may not be the best approach to getting things back on track effectively.

It’s important to create a phased plan that will account for the difficulties your team members and clients have been dealing with during social distancing. With so many demands on them to adjust to working from home, the best plan for returning will likely be in smaller phases that allow time to plan for schedule changes and juggling routines.

2 – Get Feedback from Your Team Frequently

Just as we’ve been doing for weeks while we work distantly, staying in contact with team members as you plan for the return is going to be critical to keeping the transition smooth. Try to keep regular meetings and conferences with partners, department heads, managers and other team members in order to make sure everyone is in the loop as far as communicating the phased plan being generated for the return to normal operations.

During these regular communications, be sure to gauge the feelings and concerns of your colleagues and coworkers. This is an excellent opportunity to get an up-front read on what your team will need from you in order to successfully transition from remote working scenarios. Be sure to consider these issues in the coming weeks to keep schedule delays and conflicts from affecting your increasing productivity plans.

3 – Be Clear About Expectations and Protocol

Another critical component of your communication efforts with your team will be to convey any and all policies and expectations that will be set into effect as things move away from distance working and back to traditional spaces. In order for your team to be able to plan for the transition, they must know first what to expect, and second, when to expect these changes to occur.

One of the fastest ways to derail your productivity efforts is with a breakdown in communication. When colleagues and employees aren’t adequately informed of timelines and procedures, it can cause major stressors among already struggling households with multiple schedule changes in place. In other words, you need to keep your plan clear and concise and it needs to be communicated as quickly as possible to everyone involved.

4 – Flexibility and Resources

With workers everywhere adapting to strict distancing regulations and abrupt cancellations of practically every public interaction available – school and work included – our lives were turned upside-down over the past several weeks with no discernable notice. If anything, it has proven our ability to persevere in the face of adversity, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy – not by any stretch of the imagination.

Now, as things slowly begin their return to a pre-pandemic norm, it’s important for employers of all walks to take into consideration the degree of chaos and change their team has been facing during this time. By understanding that most households have multiple work schedules and a sudden change in childcare schedules and education as well, employers will have a better sense of the level of flexibility that will be needed to transition away from working remotely again.

5 – Be Open to Change

At the end of the day, it must be said that this pandemic has ultimately shown both employees and employers that working remotely is not only possible in many cases, but preferable as well. While not all situations fall under this category, many employees have now seen that it is entirely possible to efficiently complete their job while working from home – a fact which also fits nicely with many home dynamics as well.

“Remote working has become a necessity for the majority of workers, and it’s shown businesses – some of which might have been skeptical about allowing staff to work from home – that it is possible to maintain productivity and communication,” explains Andrew Roughan, managing director for Plexal in an interview with Forbes.com.

As an alternative solution to choosing one extreme or the other (working from home or an abrupt return to full-time office work), coworking has become a viable consideration for many employers as well. By offering employees a professionally rented workspace to increase productivity but with the convenience of a shorter commute from home, coworking spaces are proving to be a valuable transitional asset as well.

Essentially, to reach optimal productivity and keep things running smoothly as the pandemic requirements phase out, employers need to not only remain flexible, but also open to change. Each scenario will be different, but it’s important not to entirely rule out distance working – via from home or from coworking spaces – from your phases. This situation may very well permanently change the way we approach the structure of the workplace to a model that’s much more centered on the needs and availability of its team members – something which could prove invaluable in terms of productivity going forward.

Technology and Coworking: The Collaborative Effort and Invaluable Opportunities
2 March

Technology and Coworking: The Collaborative Effort and Invaluable Opportunities

If you’re a coworking space member or contemplating joining a nearby community, you’ve likely done your research on the many benefits of these spaces. For many, the overall savings when compared to a traditional brick and mortar office space for start-ups and freelancers is a huge draw to the coworking world, but it’s not the only perk, by far. One of the greatest advantages, in fact, can be found in the invaluable opportunities that come with technology and coworking combined.

Standing Out with Technology and Coworking

With technology being utilized in virtually every aspect of our lives today, it only makes sense to see it in the workplace as well – that’s a no-brainer. The problems arise, however, when you’re trying to incorporate the most useful and effective technology into your own business – the costs can add up very quickly, hitting your budget a lot harder than you’d like. As a result, lots of start-ups and small businesses are forced to skimp on technology, opting for the basics in favor of lower costs, but costing your business advancements at the same time. This can hurt your future endeavors by limiting your ability to effectively get your business ventures out there in the best light and in the most efficient way.

The Technology Advantages

Since coworking spaces have been on the rise in recent years, most spaces today offer members not just a beautiful workspace, but also one that comes equipped with the latest technology – and under budget. It’s no wonder then that these spaces can offer some serious technological advantages over the traditional (and limited budget) options of brick and mortar spaces. So, just what are the advantages of having the latest technology at your fingertips?

Well, for starters, since technology is essentially the media you utilize in every step of communicating your product or services, it’s clearly a pretty important (yet often overlooked) part of your business’s success equation. Using unreliable and outdated equipment can limit your ability to get your image out there, let alone make a favorable lasting impression on prospective clients. If, however, you utilize a workspace that already has all of its tech components seamlessly connected and ready to use, you stand a much higher chance of wowing your business connections as well as save yourself the time and headaches of dealing with shoddy equipment.

Invaluable Opportunities with Tech

Technology advantages don’t end with impressing clients. Some of the most invaluable opportunities that arise from having state-of-the-art tech at your disposal come from the dramatic increase in productivity they tend to promote. By allowing you the best network connections and the accessibility of easily connecting multiple devices for sharing and collaborating, technology promotes some serious productivity. Technology has become one of the hidden gems of the coworking communities that allows users to quickly connect and share ideas with others as well as brainstorm new ideas from anywhere in their space at virtually any time of the day. Can you imagine the invaluable opportunities that can (and do) arise from combining such technological advantages with sleek and affordable office spaces for entrepreneurs? They’re practically limitless!

Be Your Own Brand Ambassador: How to Market Your Small Business
15 December

Be Your Own Brand Ambassador: How to Market Your Small Business

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for decades, it’s always a good time to review your marketing strategies to make sure you’re getting the best exposure possible. With ever-changing technological advances, small business marketing efforts can evolve quicker than you may imagine, rendering your entrepreneurship irrelevant or unseen rather quickly. With a few good business practices, however, you can stay on top of the changes and become your own brand ambassador, keeping your venture at the forefront of your market.

How to Market Your Small Business

According to Forbes.com, “Marketing is a concentrated effort to push your brand across a variety of platforms and hope that enough makes it through to your customer.” Often times, your business needs to be seen a number of times before it is truly recognized and converted to business, so the more you brand, the higher your chances of a successful effort. This is Marketing 101 and likely something most business owners are already aware of. So how do you convert this concept into something that stays current?

Becoming Your Own Brand Ambassador

The most important step to marketing your brand is organization and revision. This is the process of taking a look at what areas you are currently marketing your products and services and analyzing how they are performing. You’ll want to highlight areas that are working well – are customers bringing in mailed fliers or using certain promo codes you issued? These are things you’ll want to continue, or even tweak to keep things fresh. You’ll also want to note which areas aren’t bringing in the traffic you’d like to see so you can either rethink them and try a new angle or scratch the idea altogether. This process of reviewing what’s currently going on is one that should be repeated at least quarterly in order to stay relevant and give you the best response time.

Research Current Trends

If you want to stay relevant, you need to make sure your business is growing and moving along with technology and the digital age. Doing a little research will help you ensure you’re reaching the full extent of your client base with your marketing efforts. Take a look at what related businesses are using to promote their brand: are they pushing social media platforms or improving their mobile-friendly visibility? Also, take a look at more organic resources in your area that you could tap into. Is there an up-coming local festival or charity event you could sponsor or get involved with? These should give you ideas for what is trending currently and how you can adapt your branding efforts to match the trends.

Network, Network, Network

Let’s be honest here, of all the methods an entrepreneur can market their goods or services with, few compare to the benefits of networking. Networking is simply the act of getting out into your community and/or line of business and making connections with others. This is done by attending conferences, joining local organizations such as a Chamber of Commerce or utilizing communal work spaces, sponsoring related events, and just plain being seen. By doing this, you’re expanding the potential client base by bringing awareness to your business as well as giving yourself an essentially limitless pool of future connections.

Recap and Adapt

To recap, the best thing you can do to become your own brand ambassador and increase your bottom line is to review your efforts frequently, research what’s trending, and get out there and network in your community and trade. By keeping up with what is working, and changing what is not, you’ll be able to stay on top of marketing trends and boost your brand more effectively.

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line
15 November

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line

Whether you’re a new business owner or a veteran staple in your market, business owners share one major concern: how to increase their bottom line. Let’s face it, the point of being in business is to turn a profit, so naturally, finding ways to increase that profit would be a prime topic of discussion, yes?

Traditional Means

Many business owners are familiar with the concept of spending money to make money – it’s Business 101. More often than not, business owners need to invest funds into proper areas (marketing, staffing, office space, products and services are just a few of these) in order to boost their sales. These are considered the traditional means of boosting strategies, but they are not the only ways to achieve a bottom-line bump.

Non-Traditional Means

It may surprise you to know there are actually ways new business owners (and even veteran business owners) can improve their bottom line without spending a single dime. Yes, you read that right – there are ways to fatten your pockets without thinning them first. How? Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known, non-traditional means of increasing your bottom line.

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line

“Getting over that seven-figure (revenue) hump is often an indicator that your business has longevity to it. But getting there can be tricky, stressful, and time-consuming,” writes Forbes.com.

Learning how to get to that pivotal revenue point boils down to initiating successful profit-boosting strategies. It’s also about minimizing the outflow of cash needed to implement these strategies since without minimization, the profit boost can be negated. Not to mention, it’s tough to let go of funds when you’re trying to increase them.

Tweak Your Online Marketing Strategies

One of the easiest ways to add to your profit margin is by pairing up with other local businesses or related products and services. Essentially, by including promoted products or reviews via a link inside your existing digital marketing strategies can bring about extra cash flow. How? It’s what’s described by Forbes as Affiliate Marketing and means that by utilizing links within your website for other products, your business can earn funds each time your customers follow the link.

Utilize Your Email Lists

Another completely free asset you can use to boost profits? Your email lists. As advanced as digital technology is today, it’s easy peasy to set up automatic emails to your customer base that will entice them to visit your site. Don’t let your customer contact lists sit dormant, use them to promote your business by way of sharing blog posts, upcoming events, and even set special VIP sales as appreciation for those on your current list.

Initialize Semi-Annual Audits

Simple as it sounds, one of the best ways to boost profit margins is by cutting your expenses. Make it a priority to go through your budget a few times a year and make sure you’re only sticking with the things you need for your business. If certain areas are no longer working, don’t be afraid to cut them before they eat up more of your existing budget. Also, be sure to take stock of all of your material items and products, to ensure you’re not continually pouring out funds for items that have very little benefit to you.

Overall, the best tricks you can utilize to keep increasing your profit are ones that make the most of your existing resources. Be sure to maximize your budget and audit yourself frequently, as well as continuing usage on all of your available (and free) assets.