Small business blog posts we liked this week

small business coffeeshop

We hope you’re having a good summer and staying productive while managing to enjoy the weather! Why not take a quick break and enjoy these small business articles we’ve enjoyed lately?

Let us know if you’ve read anything interesting that you’d like to share!

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Staying productive in the summer months

small business summer productivity

It’s summer, which means you’re likely paying more attention to your barbecue and beach plans than many other things in your daily life. It’s understandable – it’s hard to concentrate on the everyday demands of entrepreneurship when the sun is shining. To help you stay on top of things and enjoy your off time guilt-free, here are some tips to help keep your small business productive during the summer months.

  • Set an example. As a good manager, you know that your employees look up to you and take their behaviour cues from you. Make sure you and your management are at work and actually working right along with your team.
  • Loosen expectations a little. We’re not suggesting you turn a blind eye to summer slacking, but don’t forget that happy employees are loyal end productive employees. Find ways to let your team enjoy vacations and summer weather while still meeting their work responsibilities. You can also find ways to get outside as often as you can, such as holding your meetings outdoors or taking the team for Friday lunch on the patio.
  • Take advantage of productivity tools. There’s probably an app or website that can help you stay on the ball and reduce time spent not relaxing in the sun. Check out some tools to help entrepreneurs stay productive.
  • Use downtime wisely. If all your clients are on holidays, why not tackle that filing you’ve been putting off? Summer slowness can be a great time to handle behind-the-scenes tasks that get pushed aside in busier times.
  • Encourage employee development. Your team can take advantage of downtime too, with professional development projects or training. Summer can be a great time for your business to invest in the skills and satisfaction of your employees.
  • Don’t deny yourself some summer fun. It’s important for the boss to be happy and productive too, especially if you’re a sole proprietor doing all the work (but keep point #1 in mind!).

Do you have any tips for staying focused in the summer? Let us know in the comments!

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Tools to help entrepreneurs stay productive

small business productivityThe ability to handle multiple demands for many hours a day, most days of the week, requires a commitment by a small business owner to invest in products and systems that will enhance their own productivity.

There are many products and services available that claim to make our lives easier and more efficient. Here are some of them. Do some research to decide what’s right for you and your business:

  • ActiveWords – Saves time in daily Windows tasks.
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking – Speech recognition software.
  • GTD (Getting Things Done) Methodology – A work-life management system by David Allen.
  • OneNote – Digital note-taking app.
  • TheBrain – Mind mapping software that helps you map key thoughts, ideas and concept relationship to one another.
  • Snagit – Capture, edit and share exactly what you see on a website.
  • ThumbsPlus – Find and maintain graphics, clip art, fonts and animation files.
  • inFlow Inventory – A free inventory management system that allows 100 customers and products, unlimited numbers of sales orders and purchase orders, printable/exportable documents, customer information tracking, sales quotation issues, customer returns, stock levels, eight different business reports as well as online forum support.

Do you have any productivity resources to share? Let us know!

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

It’s mid-December, and that likely means you’re starting to wind down for the holiday season. Why not enjoy your daily egg nog with some great small business reading? Here are four great small business blog posts we liked this week:

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Personal productivity tips for the entrepreneur

If your small business is like many others, you’re the sole employee. You’re the one responsible for every aspect of operations management – from answering phones, taking and returning messages, giving estimates, following-up with customers, selling the product or service, and managing customer satisfaction. And that’s only the operations of your small business. Don’t forget managing accounting, marketing, innovation, and competition!

Over half of Canada’s small businesses have fewer than five employees. Resources are tight, and time is precious. As the owner or manager of a small business, your own personal productivity is very important to the success and longevity of the business. Out of the small businesses that close every year, one-third of them do so because of the owner’s personal reasons for the closure. Being able to juggle several tasks for many hours a day requires a commitment by youto invest in products and systems that will enhance their own productivity.

Some tools to enhance your small business’ productivity

  • If you don’t have one already, consider an office-on-the-go phone such as a Blackberry™ so you can send and receive email, view websites, calendar schedule activities and keep track of customer information wherever you are.
  • Investigate collaborative technology that lets you work seamlessly with clients or other service providers in a virtual environment, sharing content and ideas in real-time, like Google Docs or Microsoft SharePoint.
  • For personal productivity, there are many products and services available that claim to make our lives easier and more efficient, such as Skype, FreshBooks and Microsoft OneNote. Do some research to decide what’s right for you and your business.

Also consider investing in the following:

  • Proper office furniture with file drawers to accommodate well-organized and labelled information
  • A separate business telephone line for your office if you work from home
  • A good everyday document scanner
  • A printer and fax machine (yes, people still use fax machines!)
  • A label maker printer and document shredder

If you’re the chief cook and bottle washer of your business (so to speak) make sure your work environment is set up in a way that maximizes your personal productivity. Your goal is to never, ever lose a customer’s name or contact information and to never miss an appointment. Never, ever. Promise? Good.

For more reading on managing productivity in a small business, check out these past blog posts:


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