What is productivity and why is small company productivity the weakest link?

In simple terms, ‘Productivity’ is defined as the ability of businesses and their staff to ‘output’ more work for the same or less ‘input’! This could be a receptionist being able to answer more calls per hour, a salesperson able to make more daily appointment or a company finance team able to complete all their year end accounting in 3 weeks instead of 4!


Productivity is a core component of any company’s profitability, small or large! Research has shown that small companies rarely even bother to measure the productivity of their staff, let alone encourage, reward and foster it. Clearly companies who do more (sell more, produce more, create more, deliver more) with less time and effort or using the same resources are not only going to be more profitable but much more valuable as well.


So, how do small businesses make their staff more competent and productive? Well, to the trained eye it’s not rocket science! In the case of the salesperson, you could ask them to help train up the other sales staff and share tips on why and how they manage to sell more! Or you could help make all the sales staff more productive by reducing the paperwork they each have to do and employ a junior member of staff to do it all for them, releasing them to spend more time doing what they do best – selling!

You could train the finance team how to use their IT better – whether it be Excel or their new digital accounting software! Or, you could migrate all your customer over to electronic payments to avoid cheques being “lost in the post”, avoiding time consuming sales ledger reconciliations!

Small companies under value training and even worse substantially under estimate the ‘benefits’ impact training someone to do their job better can have – not just in terms of the amount of additional work they can do, but often with the added bonus of making them feel more valued – resulting in lower staff turnover through a greater sense of empowerment and ownership!


Having each person in your company specialise in doing one particular job for the whole team allows them to also become an expert in that job – perhaps learning to use some new technology better, perhaps change the layout of their work space, rearranging the sequence of that work so their job gets done with much less effort and more quickly. So, if everyone in the team specialised and learnt how to do that one part of the job better and with less effort, they would not only feel better at how much better they were at their job but they would also be doing that job better, more efficiently and could do their job more and more each day!

If you would like an objective, expert eye cast over your small business to determine where the quick productivity gains to be had are, please contact me John Mather at EMC Associates. I offer a FREE initial consultation to understand more about your business and your Productivity pain points!

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