Productivity principles


Productivity is key to the success of any business. The output must always be more than the input, if not, the business is doomed to fail. Productivity implies doing the right things right, the first time. An entrepreneur cannot afford to waste anything – not time, not money, not material.


To run a productive business, keep the following principles in mind:

  1. Streamline your processes and systems. Review every process in your business. Start with marketing and end with delivering the product or service. Identify bottlenecks, determine how much time a specific process takes and ask if it could not be done quicker, without losing quality or endangering employees. Document the processes and use it as a basis to develop your Standard Operating Procedures, Key Performance Indicators for your employees and Performance Standards to recognise and reward excellence.

  2. Get the right people on the bus… In the words of Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great. You can have the most streamlined systems in the industry, but if you do not have the right people in the right roles, you will not be productive. Having the Key Performance Areas in place will enable you to recruit for competence and not on qualifications only. Even though qualifications are important, it is imperative that you ask a candidate to tell or even better show you how something will be done. Appointing the best candidate will get you on the path of productivity. Managing, recognising and rewarding the person according to the Key Performance Areas will keep the person motivated and productive.

  3. Waste not. The productive entrepreneur will be able to account for everything in the business. This includes every sent that comes in and that is spent on material, machines, markets or “men” or that is invested in growing the business. Every piece of equipment that is bought must be used to its full potential and every piece of material and ingredient must be converted into a product. If your business is in the service industry, every moment of every person delivering a service must be accounted for and aligned with an output.

  4. What you do not measure, you cannot manage. If your vehicle did not have all the gauges on the dashboard, it will be impossible to know if it is running effectively and if the fuel will be enough to get you to your destination. The same applies to your business. If you do not measure all your processes and the cost of the outputs of your business, compared to the inputs, you will not know if your business is productive.

A productive business is a successful growing business. Start with the right foundation and it will be so much easier. If not, set time aside and review your business – it will be worth your while!