Time is money – here are 4 ways your startup may be wasting it

In a startup environment, productivity is key. While every person should be working efficiently, it’s even more important that their time is spent on the work that will make your company successful. This kind of productivity requires prioritisation, setting goals and tracking results.

Time is the great equaliser – we all have the same amount. So how can you be sure that your employees’ time is being spent in the best way to maximise productivity?

Here are four common culprits of businesses losing time and money – and how you can avoid them.

1. Unnecessary meetings

Unnecessary meetings take up time and derail productivity. As a startup, you probably have a small workforce. Your employees are the engine driving your business forward, so you need all the time and brainpower you can get from them.

Even losing one hour per day to meetings can have a massive impact on the amount of work your small team can get done in a week, especially when you consider the interruption to workflow.

What you can do

No two businesses are the same in their meeting requirements. But consider the purpose and timeliness of the meetings your team is conducting:

  • Is a meeting absolutely necessary? Or is it more efficient to have a quick call, a couple of emails or a messenger conversation?
  • How many status meetings are being held each week? Status meetings can interrupt workflow, especially if an employee has multiple check-ins per day.

Eliminating most (if not all) status meetings and any unnecessary meetings can quickly boost your available time and overall productivity.

People tend to call unnecessary meetings when the workflow or process is not clear. So make sure each department follows set ways of managing workloads so they don’t need status check meetings. If clients request regular meetings, keep a tight agenda to avoid spending hours chatting over things that make no difference to the actual work.

2. Micromanaging your team

It’s easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging as an entrepreneur. You founded this business – it’s your baby. And you spent a significant amount of time and energy building the company to what it is today.

But micromanaging is a huge waste of time for both you as a leader and your employees.

According to a Forbes article, The Secret Fear That Causes Bosses To Micromanage, fear is the most common reason that bosses micromanage their employees. As a successful entrepreneur, you are likely a high-performing individual and an expert in your field. You may be afraid that your employees won’t make the same decisions you would make (what you would consider the right decisions). You may fear the loss of control that comes with employee autonomy.

What you can do

Remember how you made your hiring decisions. You spent a vast amount of time and effort researching, interviewing and considering each hire. You ultimately chose each employee because you believed they were the best person to do that job. So let them do it. Trust your people to do what you hired them to do.

Allowing your employees autonomy will make them more productive and efficient. It will also give you the time and space for growth and personal development as a leader.

3. Not making the most of individual talents

Every business has its superstars – those high-performing, motivated individuals who seem to ‘carry’ the company. But every individual on the team is important, and not using their abilities to the fullest will make them less productive and, ultimately, the company less successful.

As reported in Entrepreneur, authors Michael Mankins and Eric Garton researched this subject for their book, Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power.

They found that highly successful companies such as Apple are 40% more productive than the average business. However, they have a mere 16% of star players to the average company’s 15%. What makes the difference is how they use their talent.

What you can do

With the right role, training and support, every employee can be a superstar. As a leader, you need to go further than engaging your workers to inspire them. Focus on the meaning and purpose of your company’s mission, and how each person in the startup plays a crucial role in achieving it.

A 2015 study by Bain & Company and the Economist Intelligence Unit found that ‘inspired’ employees are 125% more productive than those who are classified as ‘satisfied’ (and over 150% more productive than ‘dissatisfied’ workers).

This means that it takes more than two satisfied employees to equal the same level of output as one inspired employee. By inspiring all your workers, you will increase your company’s productivity by a huge magnitude. 

4. Failing to automate

What was once considered essential work can now be done by the click of a button. As technology moves on at pace, organisations must automate routine processes where possible in order to free up time for employees to focus on bigger, more important problems.

What you can do

The Forbes Technology Council has provided insight into how today’s top technology leaders are automating their internal processes:

  1. Consider first those processes that are time and resource intensive, and most likely to suffer from human error.
  2. Use tools to improve simple manual processes, over time evolving to a more fully automated system.
  3. Investigate software solutions to see if automated connections can be developed or integrated to save time and improve the quality of return-on-investment data.

Where is your business wasting time that could be saved through automation? Some areas to look at include:

  • Finance (invoicing and payroll)
  • HR (data input and connections with employees)
  • Marketing (data-driven automation for social media, email and advertising)
  • Sales (customer relationship management, rules-based lead qualification and funnel management)
  • Project management (review and approval processes.)

Savings – time to start now

Don’t wait to audit your business. Start saving time today with these key areas and you will soon see productivity and financial results follow.

Worldwide Formations helps entrepreneurs in the UAE with all their company setup needs. For more information, call us now on 800 FREE ZONE (800 3733 9663). 

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