Post-Success: The Important Parts Of Your Business To Focus On After You Break Even


The first year or two of any startup is the most challenging when you are taking on new employees, implementing new processes, and making those tweaks to the product to ensure that it finally does what it’s supposed to do. Once everything is fixed, now you can break even with your finances. But while you might find it tempting to enjoy this period of time, the next challenges are on the horizon. There are more important aspects of business to focus on now that the fundamentals have been fixed. So, what are the next pieces of the puzzle to focus on?

Structuring Your Finances

Right now, you should have a system in place that helps you to keep tabs of the numbers and financial trends. Cash flow is something that so many small businesses have no idea how to keep track of, which is why it’s vital for you to put something in place right now. You’re at the point where your business is small enough that you are able to keep an eye on everything effectively, once it gets to a certain point where your business is bigger, attempting to keep track of everything can be that much more difficult. Hire an accountant! If you don’t have the finances, use a simple program to put all the figures onto.

Automating Back Office Processes

Automation is one of the key buzzwords in any developing business now. Learning to automate the back office processes, from email marketing to simple customer based approaches, will save you so much time and effort. Once a handful of processes are automated, you will see a significant change in how your business runs. It will before the better, but implementing automated processes requires an investment approach, and the right technology. CRM systems can be cheap, and can be effective, but it’s important for you to look at what will benefit your business as far as automation is concerned.

Monitoring Trends

You’ve made it this far with determination and hard work, now it’s time to look around you and learn how best to keep afloat in an uncertain landscape. There are so many different changes in the world that will affect your business, and so it is vital for you to stay on current trends within your industry, but also have an eye towards the future. Implementing financial forecasting in Excel is something that can benefit your business right now, by ensuring you have the best prevention methods in place should problems arise. Trends are always going to come and go, which is why you will be in favor one day, but not the next. Keep on top of trends, and they will benefit you.

After you’ve broken even, there is a sense of relief, because you’ve got to this point with sheer gusto and blood, sweat and tears. It’s now time for you to utilize the lessons you’ve learnt that got you this far. While you have proven successful with a limited amount of knowledge and a skeleton staff, now is when you flesh out your structure, to turn your company into a force to be reckoned with.


Category: Business

A Launch Party With a Difference

There are so many ways that you can launch a business, a nice meal, drinks at a bar or you could do something a little bit unorthodox. Once you have your business all ready to go, start thinking BIG – like festival big. This could be a much bigger article but let’s cover the basics, what are you going to need to think about to get the ball rolling?


Think about what you want to get out of it. It should be a celebration of all you have achieved, and if you have products, then you can showcase them and have them for sale too. You can hook up with other brands that match your ethos, and, you can make some income on those stands.


Photo by Aranxa Esteve on Unsplash


You won’t want to go up against any of the more prominent festivals, so have a good look through the festival calendar for the month you are planning on using. Summer months and weekends tend to bring the most people in. Give yourself enough time to plan it properly.


Where? Well, you’re going to have to look at all the possible fields or open spaces you can use in your local area. Have a few meetings with the landowner so that you know what you are expecting and what they are expecting from you in the days after the festival.


Get a lot of people on board. Any event is a pretty sizeable undertaking, a festival of any size comes with a lot of fun, but a lot of people-power is going to be needed too. Offer up free food, drinks, passes and maybe even stalls to the people willing to help you in the planning, the run-up and the post clean up.


Fix your energy and your logistics. You want to make sure it is as easy as possible for people to get to your event, and you need to have the right power supply. Check out diesel generators when making your decisions, they have a lot of power and should keep all of your acts and stall people happy. As for logistics – ensure you have great public transport links and encourage carpooling.


Music or talks? Well, since it is a business launch you might want to combine the two. If you have any speakers that you find particularly motivating or you have friends that are great at giving talks on specific subjects. Then rope them in. The entertainment is something that people turn up for. Local bands will bring their supporters, of course before you hire anyone you should make sure that their ethos aligns with your own and your brand too. Synergy is key here.


Get digital. Once you know where and when then you should start selling your tickets online. You can, of course, offer different packages, wristbands and exclusive networking sections – it’s all up to you. Ahead of the day make sure if you are selling products that you have a card reader ready to accept things like apple pay, and contactless cards. You never know when someone might want to purchase from you, so be prepared.


Ditch the typical boring launch and aim for something memorable and exciting.


Category: Business

How To Promote A Professional Business Image

All entrepreneurs and business owners will need to work hard to ensure they showcase their companies in the best possible light. That is the only way to gain the respect of your customers and clients and ensure they keep spending money. The issue is that many people just starting out make mistakes, and it’s difficult to turn an adverse reputation around. So, do yourself a favor and take some of the suggestions from this article during the next couple of months. People who do that should manage to improve the public perception of their organization and set themselves off on the road to success.



Use the same branding elements everywhere


Consistency is the key to success, and so it’s wise to ensure you use the same branding for everything your business produces. That means you might have to pay a freelance designer to come up with a logo and color schemes you can use on all promotional materials and advertising. Ensure the logo says something about your brand or its mission for the best outcomes. While there are professional design firms out there; you will save a small fortune if you choose a freelancer with an excellent track record of success. Use the graphics on your letterheads, website, and everywhere else too.


Invest in a high-end professional website


There is no point trying to cut back on spending when it comes to getting a website to showcase your brand. According to experts from and similar sites, most people shy away from domains that appear to have amateur designs these days. That is because there is a lot of fuss in the news about internet fraud, and so some folks are a little too careful about where they’re willing to enter their bank details. If you want to appear professional and ensure you never miss out on a sale or potential client, building a first-class website is vital. If you don’t know how to do that, it’s time to get in touch with a web design agency.



Become an industry authority on social media


You should aim to promote your brand as much as possible using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. However, you can also use those platforms to assert your authority in the industry according to the specialists from sites like For example, it’s possible to search for public posts made by any user on the Facebook platform. Search for things related to your industry, and then post an authoritative remark in the comments section. With a bit of luck, people will soon begin to consider you as a commentator and expert in their field. Hopefully, that should translate into more sales and prosperity.


You can use the tips from this article to ensure you make the right moves when promoting a professional business image this year. Of course, you also need to think about the best ways to achieve the same goal with customers and clients you meet in the real world. So, once you’ve put your strategy in place for the digital marketplace; you’ll need to create a plan for trade shows, exhibitions, and similar real-world events too. Good luck!


Category: Business

Areas of Your Workforce to Consider Investing In


As a small business owner, you may be used to taking all your company’s work requirements and responsibilities onto your own shoulders. But as your company begins to expand, you will find yourself spending more time on administrative and tech tasks that keep your business’ head above water rather than things that can actually help your business to expand and progress. This is why you need to start taking on staff. They will help to lift a weight from your shoulders and allow you to continue with important areas such as product development and marketing while they keep things ticking over. So, here are a few areas of your future workforce that you should seriously consider investing in!


Software Development


When you first start out in business, you’re unlikely to have a software development team in-house, however, as your business expands, you should learn how to form a strong software development team, as they will become an essential part of your workforce. While startups tend to use pre-existing, over-the-counter software, they’ll soon begin to realize that the software they have invested in is unlikely to suit all of their needs and requirements down to a tee. After all, it is designed for the mass market! Having the option of collaborating with software developers to create custom software will ensure that your software has absolutely every feature you could possibly need. Professional individuals will also be able to tweak out any bugs or glitches as you try it out. This will help to make you much more productive!


IT Support


Now, if you’ve invested in having custom software developed, you’re going to want to make sure that the devices using it are up and running correctly at all times. This is why you should make sure that you have a strong IT Support team on hand to help resolve any issues that you may experience with your devices down the line. We’ve all found ourselves having some sort of nightmare to do with our business’ technology at some point or another and nine times out of ten, things start to fail us just as we really need them. Perhaps your internet connection will cut out just before you submit an important piece of work before the deadline, maybe your screen will go blank part way through an online talk with an important client or partner, maybe your files will go missing just as you’ve managed to compile them. When things can go wrong, chances are that they will go wrong. An effective IT support team will be able to identify the causes of any issues and rectify the situation in as little time as possible. This will save you a whole lot of stress and aggravation, so they’re worth the investment!




In the early days of business when you’re working alone, HR isn’t necessary. However, as you begin to expand and take on staff, it becomes absolutely essential. Why? Well, HR stands for “human relations” and positive human relations are a vital aspect of any expanding small business, right? An effective HR department will distribute staff effectively, ensuring that each individual employee has a manageable workload. If their workload becomes out of hand, HR will look to recruit another individual to share the responsibilities. HR also deal with allocated holiday pay and statutory sick pay, ensuring that every employee receives what they are entitled to, while collecting necessary documentation such as official sick notes. They should also be able to provide an official framework for the policies and procedures that should be in place in your organization and make sure that they are enforced at all times. So, look out for individuals with brilliant communication skills who can practice understanding and empathy without being pushed around. You should be able to easily pick out the right team through an interview process, where you will able to see exactly how they engage with people.


As you can see, there are various different areas that you can invest in when it comes to staffing, and for now, we’ve only just scratched the surface! Other areas to consider include receptionists, assistants, customer service teams, and many more roles. If becoming an employer is a little too intimidating for you at first, remember that you can outsource most of these staff members to start with. This reduces your responsibility and allows you to see how each role works and whether it is necessary to your workforce before you commit to taking on part-time or full-time employees.

Category: Business

Adaptive vs. Responsive Web Design – Pros and Cons by Ian Pearson

In theory, adaptive design sounds like a high-end option, while the responsive design may seem like something improvised but this is definitely not the case. Think about it, just 15 years ago, phones were completely different devices, used for something completely different than they are today. In 10 years, they may get replaced by something else.

Last several years saw massive breakthroughs in the field of VR, with new devices being released, while AR stands to make this transition even greater. In just a couple of years, most cars might have AR windshields, so how will this affect the world of web design? The truth is we don’t know. However, most business owners are having trouble keeping up with the issue of adaptive vs. responsive web design as it is, which makes these hypothetical, futuristic questions a bit out of place. Still, in order to shed some light on this issue, there are several pros and cons of both of these trends.

1.    What are the similarities and differences?

We should probably start by stating some of the obvious similarities and differences between these two design trends. For starters, both of them have the same purpose – improving websites visuals and functionality across various devices. This is especially important for mobile users which are currently the majority of the online world.

The difference, however, lies in the experience that your audience receives on different devices. While responsive website only focuses on the size of the browser, adaptive design chooses one of the layouts it has in store depending on the device you’re using to access the site. Moreover, a responsive website has a greater versatility and flexibility, seeing as how adaptive website only comes in six different widths: 320, 480, 760, 960, 1200 and 1600.

Needless to say, this could cause a slight problem with desktop users with particularly large monitors or Smart TVs attached, seeing as how the biggest 1600 wide resolution may not be enough. Nonetheless, these are rare isolated cases which can be completely neglected.

2.    Preparing for the change

The first thing you need to have in mind is the overall user experience, which, tends to be slightly in favor of responsive web design (adaptive still performs better for each device individually). Sure, with the right device in mind, skilled designers can do wonders even with adaptive design, yet, devices are constantly changing in screen sizes. Sure, you have smartphones and tablets covered, however, what if the next big thing in the world of mobile devices is something between phone and tablet in screen size?

What if it’s something larger than both, yet, smaller than a standard laptop screen? What if, it’s the AR or VR we’ve discussed in the introduction? So, those who are planning for the long-run might find that the universal adaptability that a responsive website has to offer might give you a better overall ROI.

3.    Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Another benefit of responsive web design lies in the fact that you have a single website to work with. Multiple versions of your website are allowed and, usually, not sanctioned by Google, yet, you have to understand that it still represents a duplicate content, which is not something most search engines appreciate. Apart from this, enacting all principles of on-site optimization on multiple websites is exhausting, even if the adaptive website didn’t take longer to build than their responsive counterparts. Still, no matter what you choose, it would be wise to revise your digital marketing strategy, while weighing in your options.

4.    User data prospecting

One of the greatest examples of adaptive web design lies in the fact that these templates have an easier way of determining which device your user is currently on. For instance, you can tell if a single person accesses your e-store from multiple devices while using the same account. Moreover, you can keep track of the number of repeat visits and even take note of the device that the purchase was finalized on.

Most importantly, you can use GPS to track the whereabouts of the user, which is important in several different aspects. According to one of the recent surveys, as much as 78 percent of local mobile searches eventually become offline purchases. Those who sell their products both online and offline should take special note of this particular piece of information.

5.    The amount of work

Earlier on, we stated that adaptive web designs take longer to build, however, when it comes to the amount of work invested in a single version of the website, it’s more than clear that responsive design developers are at a clear disadvantage. In order to cover every scenario possible, responsive web designs have to be made with a solid HTML5 code, which takes a lot of skill, effort and dedication. Even then, you might have some trouble with older devices and legacy browsers (on the other hand, it’s not like this is adaptive website’s strong point either).

As for the adaptive design, its greatest advantage is the fact that it provides users with a completely new experience for each device they use. After all, your customers want to see that they’re worth walking that extra mile for and this is where adaptive design shines. However, making six versions of your website (even if it’s the simplest layout there is) is a lot of work. Out of the two, the latter one is much more likely in need of some professional assistance. With the responsive design, you need a skilled coder, with adaptive, you most likely need a team.

In conclusion

While some suggest sticking to desktop users because they still boast higher conversion rates, others suggest switching to smartphone and tablet users for their sheer numbers. In truth, you need both of these demographics. In the past, you had to set up a store in each city and an international office in every major business hub in order to become omnipresent on the market. Now, you simply have to pick the way in which your website will respond to different devices and make it count. After all, the business world never looked kindly on those focused on shortcuts.


 Ian Pearson

Category: Business, SEO, Web Design

#BrandRecall101: How Startups Can Make a Lasting Impression [Infographic]

All companies started from the ground up. They had to establish their brand so that people would talk about their business. It’s a process that requires feasibility studies, business model planning, and of course, development of marketing strategies.

As most people say, a first good impression is usually a lasting one. Ensure a good initial impression through different marketing strategies that will effectively build and maintain an excellent brand reputation that will stick in your target market’s mind.




1. Actively engage with your customers 

Customers are the lifeline for your startup. It’s important to treat them well whether it’s a first-time customer or a returning one. Be attentive when your customers go to your messaging platform with a query, complaint, or request. Develop a rapport by asking the right questions and talking to them professionally.

When creating blog posts, think about how you can keep your audience entertained and involved.  Encourage them to post their comments to know the type of content that resonates with them.

Keep the communication lines open. Make sure you’re available via your company website, email, or social media accounts. It’s an effective way to nurture your relationship with customers and enhance your brand image.

By contrast, when you don’t have a proper customer relationship management system, there will be no way for your customers to send you their feedback. Acknowledge both positive and negative reviews from customers but pay special attention on how to quickly resolve bad customer reviews.


2. Invest in your online image

As a startup, you should aggressively promote your brand while keeping your marketing expenses on a manageable level. Take advantage of the effectiveness of social media and other online platforms in keeping your costs low and the public’s perception of your business high.

Keep in mind your audience’s tone, attitude, and points of view when creating social media content. In this way, you can reach them organically and establish a strong online presence. You should also take note that an aesthetically pleasing content helps you get people’s attention. Use photos that are attention-grabbing, videos that are entertaining to watch, and status updates that create engagement among your followers.


3. Educate your target market

Use every opportunity in your customers’ journey to market your brand. Plan, create, and develop a content marketing strategy that makes your company stand out, and consequently, positively influence your branding efforts.

For instance, you could start on your website’s frequently asked questions (FAQs) page. Instead of the usual Q&A format, create a comprehensive guide or video tutorial, along with other helpful instructions or images to make sure you’re addressing customer issues completely.


4. Share your brand story in your campaigns

Every brand has a story to tell. It defines who they are, as well as the values they stand for. People in your community will be especially interested in your startup’s story and may feel encouraged to support you when they know exactly what your brand is all about.

Use your brand story and the core of your business model when creating targeted campaigns.

As you introduce your startup, you could organize a meet-and-greet with your customers. Tell them what you do and why you’re doing it to help them see not just your business side but your human side as well.


5. Utilise user-friendly technologies

Making your website, software, and tools look great and easy to use can draw positive feedback from your customers and increase traffic to your site. Customers should be able to find everything they need on your website without too much navigation or waiting time.

Properly working links, clear CTAs, good webpage design and layout, intuitive buttons, up-to-date and accurate content are some of the most important elements of good technology.


6. Offer something unique and personal

Many startups become successful because they can distinguish themselves from others whether it’s the kind of customer service they provide, the way they breathe style into their brand or the quality of branded gifts they give to customers.

Although the use of promotional items is quite common among marketers, what will set you apart is the value component that goes with your giveaways. Custom shirts, for example, might appeal more to a particular gender or age group, but in general, the unique gifts can be reserved for your most loyal customers.


Your startup is as good as how your customers see your brand. Give your customers good reasons to develop a positive, lasting impression toward your brand, as this will eventually drive your business toward growth and success.

Category: Business

The ‘People’ side of the Digital Transformation by Guillermo Miranda

If you google ‘Digital Transformation’, the results will be a little overwhelming. Almost every organization claims that is embracing the new digital age and, almost everybody that has an smartphone declares that is somehow ready for the digital disruption. Still, if you take a deeper look at the everyday aspects of running a business, the reality seems much more tactical and patchy. There are wonderful pockets of ‘digital enlightenment’, but the concept of a fully integrated ecosystem is only an elegant diagram so far. A perfect example may be Uber drivers, they take the ride with the App and manage the payment and billing ,,, however, they tend to trust themselves to Waze or Google maps for a faster and more accurate output on driving directions.

There are few useful tips collected from experience and failures that will help you (and your teams) on the people aspects of this digital adventure:

– A meaningful platform of digital business assets is the foundation for any transformation initiative – declaring ‘digital’ without the right set of tools is empty demagogy

– Remixing and getting your team ready for a digital business model is not a linear process, it gets complicated and sometimes tactical moves are the best next step on the right direction

– A ‘backbone’ of up-skilling and digital acceleration initiative (aka Training and Education) is indispensable and should be embedded in the daily business execution

– The best ‘talent equation’ is always multigenerational to ensure you have strong players of both, deep business experience and fearless innovation

– Never settled for ‘mild compromises’ in your people programs to smooth the transition to a digital business model; also, never allow ‘grandfathering’ of compensation or incentives practices for legacy pockets of your digital business

– Purposely build a full fledged incubator of digital business model execution within the fabric of your organization

– Enable the leaders to drive the transformation (A reverse mentoring program matching seasoned managers with millennial employees tends to work wonders!)

No perfect formula exists because each organization had accomplished different levels of ‘digital maturity’ and the marketplaces where the day-to-day happens tend to be very segmented. Always be prepare to experiment, win or declare quick failure and move on. We need to repeat ourselves every morning that ‘change’ is the only constant and, maybe gradually, we will really start to believe that and act accordingly. Now stop goofing around in LinkedIn and comeback to work to drive meaningful transformation projects and initiatives ,,,, Good virtual winds on your digital sailing 🙂


Guillermo Miranda

Category: Business, Learning

Five Effective Training Tips For New Employees


Training new employees is rarely a fun walk in the park. In fact, it takes a lot of time, money, and effort. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that well-trained employees are vital to the success of your business, and as such, are an investment, rather than an expense. If you make a good first impression and use the right methods, then every single penny will be worth it, because you’ll have an efficient member of staff that you can count on to make you way more money than they cost you. To get your training just right, here are five tips.


  1. Figure Out A Plan

Before you start training your new hire, it’s vital that you figure out exactly what it is that you want them to learn. If you don’t, then you’re only going to end up wasting time and money teaching them information that is of no use at all. Write down a list of all of the skills and information that they need to complete their job, and then work out ways to teach this to them.


  1. Remember The Tour

When you’re planning your employee training, it’s important that you remember to fit in some time to give them a tour of the office. This will probably be most effective at the start of the day before you do anything else. Doing this means that they won’t have to stop and ask someone where to go every time they need to use the bathroom, grab a coffee, or get a pen.


  1. Try Different Methods

No two trainees are the same, which means that no two trainees are going to learn in the same way. Because of this, it’s important that you have a few different training methods that you could use, such as presentations, a corporate video, quizzes, manuals, and more. Switching things up also makes training a lot more interesting, both for you and your new hire.


  1. Let Current Employees Help

Allowing current employees to help with training is a great idea for a few reasons. The most significant is that it tends to help new hires feel a little more relaxed and comfortable. It also provides the perfect opportunity for your new employee to get to know your current ones and helps your current employees to refresh their memory of their training.


  1. Always Be Available

Even with all of their training, your newbies are still going to get stuck and confused every now and then, and are going to need some help. As their boss, it’s essential that you’re always available to help them when they need it. If you can’t be available for some reason, then you need to make sure that your new hire knows who to go to when they need help, such as a buddy.


If you want your new employees to be productive and efficient in their new role, then it’s vital that you provide effective training. Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be able to do this.

Category: Business

3 Realities All Store Owners Need To Know About Exclusivity


For the owners of retail stores, there is nothing that can get their blood pumping quite like the prospect of exclusivity.

It doesn’t take a retail genius to see why this is the case. Exclusivity — when a product manufacturer or inventor agrees that only one store will sell their product, often for a limited period — is a surefire way of giving a store a unique selling point. As a retailer, if you can offer something that literally no other store can, then you’ve got an immediate advantage that you can use to further your business.

The only problem is… exclusivity can be a messy, difficult aspect of retailing to manage. If you’re a retail store owner and you’re tempted to offer a supplier a deal for exclusivity, here are a few things you need to know before you sign on the dotted line…


#1 – Suppliers don’t always embrace exclusivity

As appealing as exclusivity is for you as a retailer, you have to be aware that suppliers don’t see the idea the same way. Where you see exclusivity as genuinely beneficial and wonderful, suppliers see it as an uncomfortable restriction, even when they are fairly compensated for the deal. It’s only natural that suppliers want to see their product in as many stores as possible, after all.

As a result of this supplier dislike, it’s worth considering exclusivity carefully. If the product they are selling is genuinely great, you have to be sure that the supplier is happy with an exclusive deal. If they aren’t, you run the risk of souring your future relationship and potentially limiting your access to a great product as a result.

How can you be sure that a supplier is happy with an exclusive deal? Simple: wait for a supplier to offer such a deal, rather than you outright asking for it.


#2 – You have to be prepared for higher costs


If you are going to purchase the exclusive rights to sell a product, you’re already going to be spending more than you usually would— that’s one of the downsides of exclusivity deals. However, you have to factor in the fact that an exclusive deal also requires additional investment on top of the higher purchase price.

Why? To spread the word, of course. There’s little point in having an exclusive line if you don’t market to tell your customers (and potential customers) about it; no particular advantage to that line if you don’t invest in a POS display to showcase the product you’ve worked hard to be the sole seller of. It’s therefore imperative you’re happy with the enhanced costs of exclusivity, and have budgeted to ensure that you’re still going to be able to generate a decent profit from the deal.


#3 – You might be wrong

It’s not a pleasant notion, but it’s one you have to consider. Retailers usually seek exclusivity because they are sure a product is going to be a hit… but what if you’re wrong? It’s impossible to predict the future of a product correctly every single time (as many retailers and manufacturers have discovered to their cost), so you need to be cautious with exclusivity deals, and only ever issue them when you’re absolutely certain the product you’re being offered is an absolute must-have.


In conclusion

With the above in mind, you can be confident your exclusivity deal will be nothing but beneficial to your store. Good luck!

Category: Business

How to Measure Productivity at Your Office

Unless you work in a factory where output is a definable quantity, then measuring how productive you — or your fellow employees — are is a difficult task. That’s because so much of what we do doesn’t have a definite quantity. If you’re in an office and you work in customer service, you can’t just measure how many calls someone might take. A customer service rep might handle fewer calls, but the problems might be more difficult, the solutions might be more thoughtful, and the end result might be customers that start unhappy and leave satisfied. So how then, do you think about productivity in a twenty-first century way?

For starters, you do have to have a baseline, and that baseline might be something akin to an industry average. But that baseline probably shouldn’t be tied to days. What else matters for a modern productivity measurement? This graphic explains it.

Establish a baseline

Measuring productivity is a process of comparison: You compare how much an employee or a team produces, in relationship to how little would be produced if team members didn’t inhabit their respective roles. Sometimes you compare a given employee’s productivity directly against the productivity of an employee in a similar role. Other times, you compare your team’s results to industry averages. In order to make these comparisons, you first need to establish a baseline of whatever it is you’re comparing to.

For example, if you run a sales team or call center, you could divide the average number of daily sales or customer calls by the number of employees to determine how many calls each of your employees averages each day. You can then use this as a baseline to determine who is fielding more or less than the average. (Of course, the baseline shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all to determine a team member’s productivity—after all, quantity rarely beats quality.)

This process can get trickier if you work in a more administrative setting where each employee has a different role and their tasks are less quantifiable. In these cases, it’s still important to establish a baseline. For example, you may consider breaking projects into assigned tasks so you can track how well employees stay on top of their work (more on that in the next tip).

No matter how you determine a baseline, try to avoid using the number of hours worked, the number of sick days taken, or the number of vacation days used. These metrics don’t necessarily have any relation to the quality or effectiveness of a given employee’s work.

Define tasks

A simple way to measure productivity is to clearly define tasks and then track whether, and with what expediency, those tasks are completed.

This is a great way to make sure you don’t fall into the micromanaging trap because it focuses more on outcomes than it does on the minutiae of daily responsibilities. It also allows you to measure employees’ ability to meet deadlines, which can be a useful performance metric. Just make sure you don’t simply assign tasks for the tasks’ sake. Tasks should offer real value to the company for them to have significance as a performance indicator.

One other caveat: Using tasks to track productivity requires that those tasks be assigned effectively in the first place. Make sure managers communicate exactly what deliverables are expected for a certain assignment and when those deliverables are due, as well as any other information relevant to completing the task effectively and efficiently. Only when this information has been provided is it reasonable to expect a team member to follow through on the assignment.

Identify benchmarks

Once you establish a baseline set of metrics and tasks to measure productivity, it’s time to figure out how you’ll track these metrics over time. Presumably, your goal is for employees to meet or exceed the baseline on a regular basis—so you need to determine benchmarks that help you identify what qualifies as “exceeding” the baseline and help you notice if your employees stagnate in their roles.

Just as when you established your baseline metrics, it’s important to take a multidimensional approach to setting benchmarks. For example, you may establish a benchmark for X number of sales successfully closed, X number of professional presentations delivered, X number of software functions coded, etc. Then, throw in some subjective outcomes to get a better sense of the whole picture. That may include things such as feedback from customer satisfaction or peer surveys, or the team member’s ability to collaborate, think creatively, problem solve, and so on.

The important thing is to develop as broad a picture as you can and then use this information in a constructive way—not a punitive one. If an employee appears to be stagnating, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unproductive. It may mean their manager fails to communicate assignments clearly, another employee’s bad work habits inhibit their productivity, they’re a better fit for a slightly different role or something else entirely. Benchmarks provide a valuable data set, but it’s important to look beyond them to really understand why an employee does or does not maintain their productivity.

No matter what benchmarks you decide to move forward with, it’s helpful to assign a time period by which certain benchmarks should be met. Different benchmarks require different time periods ranging from daily to weekly, monthly, quarterly, and even annually. Establishing these timelines is essential because it allows team members to know how they’re being assessed and encourages managers to set realistic expectations for their teams.

Encourage employee participation

If you want your office’s productivity metrics to be valuable, it’s essential to involve your team members when crafting baseline metrics, defining tasks, and identifying reasonable benchmarks. After all, these team members have the most accurate sense of what it takes to accomplish a given task, what is a reasonable amount of work to complete in a given time in their individual roles, and so on. This helps explain why one study found that employees who participate in crafting their productivity metrics are most likely to demonstrate increased productivity over time.

Engaging your employees in this process also gives them a chance to identify the resources they need to thrive in their respective roles. The key is to listen when employees tell you what resources would enable them to do their jobs better and then invest in fulfilling those needs. For example, if an employee tells you they’d be more productive working from home two days each week or that a certain part of their job could be automated, give them a chance to prove themselves right.

By treating your team members as autonomous individuals who know a lot about their jobs, you’ll simultaneously improve morale (which has been linked to heightened productivity in its own right) and empower your team members to take their productivity into their own hands.

Regularly reevaluate how you measure productivity

Identifying and tracking productivity benchmarks isn’t a one-time thing. Instead, the way you measure productivity should constantly evolve depending on whether the baselines change, certain benchmarks have been achieved, key team members leave or new team members are hired, industry norms or standards shift, and so on. Because there are so many moving parts involved in productivity, it’s essential to continually redefine all these parts to make sure you accurately perceive and evaluate the bigger picture.


Attempts to track productivity shouldn’t feel like a draconian way to police employees’ every move. Instead, each of these steps should be taken with buy-in and feedback from your team members so everyone can understand their priorities individually and collectively. By creating a company culture that emphasizes respectful collaboration, assigns job duties to the individual performing them, and creates and executes effective processes, you’ll give morale a boost and empower your employees to be their most productive.



Thank you to Zerocater for this graphic.

Category: Business