Wearing too many hats? Relax, you’re not alone.
Whether you’re a manager or an owner, running a small business requires you to wear many hats. From customer service agent to sales representative to marketing manager, your small business demands something different from you every day. But does wearing so many hats threaten productivity?
If the little voice in the back of your head answered ‘yes,’ don’t worry, you’re not alone. Workflow efficiency and productivity are common concerns for small businesses. Many managers are seeking solutions to automate workflows, boost productivity and scale their business. But when cost, implementation time and disruptions to existing workflows are at stake, it can be difficult for managers to get the necessary buy-in to invest in new solutions.
Jeremy Kroetsch is the Manager of IT Operations at Connected Technologies Inc., a provider of managed IT and cloud services. Jeremy is always on the lookout for tools to give him an edge. To manage with confidence in the fast-paced and competitive tech sector.
In our conversation, Jeremy shared what solutions are (and aren’t) working, and how Connected Technologies addresses the most common workflow efficiency challenges facing small businesses today.
Q: Time is a common challenge many small businesses face. How do you stay connected as a team to get max efficiency?
A: We’re fortunate that most of our business is local so we can stay connected as a team from within our office, often in person, but some staff work off-site or remotely.
It helps that our team is small enough that we can integrate a new system relatively easily, give it a four to six-month trial period, and pivot to something else if it’s not working.
When a new project comes in and we’re trying to get our team and our client together, we need to make sure everyone is in the loop and up to speed so we don’t waste time down the line. We’ve used apps like Yammer, Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business to connect across our network.
The ideal solution for us would be the ability to jump on a call or share data with each other from anywhere. It’s not that we can’t do it now, we’re just using a few platforms to get that functionality and I think there are efficiencies we can take advantage of there.
Q: How can small businesses take advantage of automation to do more with less?
A: What’s worked for us was to first identify our core business and where we want to spend the most time, then automate the rest.
For example, a client call can easily take up a big chunk of my day.
If I have an extra few minutes to spend with a customer to troubleshoot an issue they’re having, I will, then I automate the data entry so I can get to the next customer request.
Q: How can managers keep their priorities at the top of their to-do list?
A: When my phone is ringing off the hook and I’m getting pulled in a million different directions, it’s difficult to focus my time on the things I need to do. We implemented an automated receptionist that has drastically reduced the number of calls I get. It’s surprising how much time that puts back in your calendar. I’m able focus my time on core priorities and keep my team focused on theirs.
Q: What strategies do you use to make sure you’re not missing the next big business opportunity?
A: The challenge for us, while we assist our current customers, especially if we have to leave the office to do it, is to make sure we’re not missing calls from potential new clients. To combat this, I block off time in my day to check voicemail and email, then send leads to the right person. I see this as an opportunity for further efficiency in the future, this might be another area we can automate more.
Q: What productivity strategies do you use to keep your team focused?
A: In terms of staying focused, I like to be in constant contact with my team. Sometimes I use a one-on-one approach with each of my staff or we scrum as a group. Because our work can be quite specialized, collaboration is really important. When my team is informed of where each member is on a project, we’re more productive as a unit.
Read more about maximizing productivity with 5 Ways to Improve your Remote Team’s Productivity