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What Increases Productivity in a Small Business?

07 July 2016

The Story of Productivity

We keep hearing about productivity. The Government are due to issue their ‘Productivity Statement’ this week following the latest ONS figures (measured in output per hour) which show productivity is still below 2008 levels. At an event a week ago with Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills) he told me this statement would kick off their ‘five year focus on productivity’ aiming to significantly increase those output per hour levels across the whole UK economy. As Emerald we also talk about productivity to our customers and prospective customers. The core benefits of working with us are improved productivity, enhanced customer service, with managed costs. But what does that really mean for you as a business?

Productivity – More than Just Money

I was interviewed recently by Katie Allen, Economics Reporter for The Guardian at a Coventry & Warwickshire Showcase at the Shard organised by our Local Enterprise Partnership. Naturally, the story was one of productivity! Katie told me that readers are starting to get turned off by this language. They see it as businesses just trying to squeeze more money out of their customers and more work out of their employees in a post recession world. I understand what she means. But I explained to her in a small business productivity is not about more profits for faceless shareholders. It’s about better service to your customer base which you have built solely on good relationships and trust. It’s about providing additional value. It’s about helping your customers achieve more with less so they can grow and expand too. The example I gave was a skip hire company we work with who send text messages to their regular customers when skip levels are low to ensure they get bookings in quickly and are not stuck without the equipment they need. And that’s just one of many such stories.

Your Team’s Natural Productivity

And productivity is not about squeezing as much as possible out of your employees. A small business will rise and fall by the engagement of its workforce, much more so than a larger corporation. I always say to new members of the team that in Emerald there is no room for spectators. Everyone plays an active role in the culture, the growth, and the long term vision for the business. And there’s an exchange made in return. Because I want everyone to act like a business owner, we offer the same flexibility that a business owner would have. It’s not about being at your desk from 9am until 5pm: but it is about giving your best every single day. Roles permitting and ensuring there is sufficient support desk coverage during working hours, our team can make the decision how and when they work most effectively. Technology enables communication, document access, and collaboration to be conducted anywhere and anytime. Our Communications Operations Manager and I often talk out of hours after our children have gone to bed! And that means she can do the school run and catch up with her children on their day without worry.

A Balancing Act

Of course it’s a constant balancing act. The pitfall of introducing new technology to enhance service and allow more flexible working is that all technology is only as good as the support you have continually monitoring it. If one break in the chain can leave you unable to operate as a business then you need to know the chain is being looked after pro-actively. Also, if you are giving your team the technology and the autonomy to work to their own natural productivity then you need to know you have the right team thriving in the right company culture. And courageous, creative recruitment is a whole separate blog I am currently writing!

I look forward to The Guardian article coming out and will post it here. I hope it stresses the two key points above which I believe are crucial to increasing productivity for a small business. To facilitate both you need to be brave and embrace technology but you can minimise the risk by choosing the right support network.

Testimonials

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They keep a constant eye on our systems and usage and suggest when appropriate courses of action should be taken to enhance our working environment"

THE HITCHMAN STONE PARTNERSHIP

"In the past, we had experienced problems with IT companies who had the ability over promise and under deliver.

This was not the case with Emerald. Emerald are now our trusted partner for all of our IT support needs. They offer honest, impartial advice that is delivered in a language even the novice can understand.

Having one number that our team can call with any IT or telephone concerns makes such a difference, especially when this is backed up with prompt resolution."

Richard Hall - Inn Express

"We've been working with Emerald for many years and their support has been invaluable on all aspects of IT from maintenance of systems & phones to new purchases and solutions.

Emerald are professional and their services are precise and innovative where needed. Their customer support is outstanding. Highly recommended."

Jeryl Stone - Hitchman Stone

"When your whole business rests on a cloud-based system, having a flexible, cost-effective, secure, and well- maintained solution is what helps you sleep better at night. That's what Emerald is here for"

Leech & Co Solicitors Data Centre Backup

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