In our last series post, we showed you the products we’d create if we had to start our online businesses from scratch.
This week we’re talking team productivity.
For online entrepreneurs maintaining a productive team can be especially tough, because often times your team members are scattered around the world.
Having a productive team, isn’t just about profits, it’s about fulfillment, knowing you did something with your time.
Luckily, you can show your team how to accomplish more in less time by trying some of the following productivity hacks.
Why your team is not productive and what to do about it:
#1 Actual Project Management
Contributed by Tom Lambert
If your team consists of more than 2-3 people you’re probably no stranger to things falling through the cracks. Most people try to manage their staff and projects entirely through email, which is a nightmare.
The result? Never-ending email chains and no accountability or clarity into your progress. Using a project management tool like Basecamp lets you centralize your big and small projects with relevant tasks, milestones, and due dates.
Project management also gives you a high level perspective of your progress on current projects and how much is left to do. If you don’t know how close you are to shipping your next product or hitting your next milestone you have nothing to work towards.
Every entrepreneur wants to be a super hero and manage everything without help, but the truth is that we only have so much headspace. Having some type of project management platform is crucial not only for keeping your team on track and productive, but keeping yourself sane as well.
#2 Receiving Weekly Email Reports
Contributed by Arielle Hale
Having the business owner heading an email with the 3 major things they’re looking to accomplish for the week. The team reply-all’s with the 3 major things they’re working on this week. This way, we all know what we’re all working on and the owner can help the team pivot their priorities or green light them when needed.
#3 Communicating Regularly
Contributed by Nick Tart
My closest team member is 4,600 miles and seven time zones away. We have a 30-ish minute Skype-call every Tuesday. I’m also trying to write a daily progress report. That email is important for accountability, but it also keeps us in regular contact with each other.
I talk with Stefanos Ioannou, our developer, every day. We usually discuss the thought and technical requirements behind a feature, but it’s also important to talk about what’s going on in our lives. For instance, he just got a Corgi puppy and he’s moving back to Cyprus next week.
Then I speak with Michael Burns, our designer, about once every week or two. We discuss closing the gap between the front-end development and the original design. The biggest difference between AwesomeWeb and other projects that I’ve worked on is that we’re all excited about the mission.
We’re creating a tool for ourselves. Whether you’re a website owner, designer, or developer, AwesomeWeb will connect you with the perfect person that will make your business grow. When you’re excited about the mission, the work becomes fun.
#4 Opening Up Communication
Contributed by Brian Moran
#5 Having Weekly Meetings
Contributed by Dainis Graveris
What really enhances productivity with our team is having weekly meetings (same day, same time) with high accountability for each team member. When you know that in the meeting you will be asked how you did with the work, and you know you didn’t do the work – you’ll do everything possible to move forward with your task and not let your team down.
On personal note, I became much more productive when I started waking up early in the mornings (0400) and focusing on working in silence. Everybody is sleeping, so there’s no distractions – it’s excellent for productivity! It’s also works both ways – I enjoy the early bird technique, some may prefer the night owl technique. 🙂
#6 Creating Core Values
Contributed by Dmitriy Koslov
Creating Core Values that our team can use as operating principles for decision making, as well as SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) was crucial. Implementing these in my agency has doubled productivity with the same team members, and has greatly reduced stress.
#7 Setting And Sticking To Deadlines
Contributed by Josh Dunlop
I’m a one man team, and without a doubt the best way for me to be productive is to set ridiculous deadlines and use a program on my Mac called ‘Self Control’ to block myself from viewing Reddit during working hours.
#8 Appointing A Team Leader.
Contributed by Jock Purtle
Having a team leader manage tasks has been a great decision. I personally am a poor manager and having someone there to manage productivity was what had the greatest impact.
#9 Relentless Elimination
Contributed by Marj Galangco
In my experience, the two worst enemies of productivity are busy-ness (when you have loads to do but not all of them are truly important in the real sense of the word) and being overwhelmed.
To address these, we practice a relentless (and constant) elimination of what’s not essential and daily identification of what’s truly important right now – then breaking ’em down into manageable chunks and scheduling them. That’s how we get it DONE.
#10 Form A Micro Routine
Contributed by David Aston
Creating a long-term habit, like a morning yoga routine, has many great benefits but takes time. Creating a short-term habit can yield similar benefits, yet be implemented immediately.
Create a micro habit by breaking down your work hours into specific portions: 15 minutes team communication, 30 minutes tough stuff, and 15 minutes easy stuff.
Like the millions of other professionals from around the planet, you’ve got to do what it takes to stay organized, make appointments, and hustle hard enough to keep pushing your company forward.
Who doesn’t want to achieve more in less time? Thing is, we’re only given 24 hours in a day and since we can’t add more hours to the day, increasing our productivity is our best bet. With the right motivation, anybody and any team can improve productivity.
10 Ways Online Entrepreneurs Can Increase Team Productivity
- Use a project management tool like Basecamp to centralize your big and small projects with relevant tasks, milestones, and due dates.
- Create an email with the 3 major things your team is accomplishing for the week. Have the team “reply-all” with the 3 major things they’re working on.
- Have a 30-ish minute at least once per week on the same day. Also try to write a daily progress report for accountability and clear communication.
- Open up communication by using HipChat for our team chat, now everyone can chat back and forth, and everyone can see what others are chatting about so they can stay in the loop.
- Have weekly meetings (same day, same time) to really enhance productivity, which means higher accountability for team members.
- Implement core values and standard operating procedures to greatly enhance productivity significantly reduce stress.
- As a one man team, a great way to be productive is to set ridiculous deadlines and use a program on my mac called ‘Self Control’ to block myself from viewing Reddit during working hours.
- Having a team leader manage tasks has been a great decision especially if you’re a poor manager.
- Practice a relentless (and constant) elimination of what’s not essential and daily identification of what’s truly important right now – then break ’em down into manageable chunks and schedule them for completion.
- Create micro habits by breaking your work hours into specific portions such as 15 minutes team communication, 30 minutes tough tasks, and 15 minutes easy tasks.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” -Paul J. Meyer
You’ve seen how we increase productivity, but what works for you? Help us out by sharing in the comments below.