5 Productivity & Efficiency Tips For Small Business Owners

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Business Growth, Productivity & Mindset | 0 comments

Having your own business isn’t for the faint of heart. I first got into entrepreneurship in my early years, starting and closing numerous businesses because I wasn’t consistent. If you struggle to be consistent in your business too, I see you & I’d love to chat more about how we can turn that around for you here

This lack of consistency stemmed from not being clear or confident in who I wanted to serve & how I could support them. When my business partner, Katie, and I started Indigo Elephant Co, I knew I needed to get my shit together.

This meant understanding how I wanted to work & serve my audience so I could show up consistently for them. I know I am not alone in feeling frustrated, confused, and burnt out when it comes to running an online business.

That is why Katie and I came together to compile our 5 productivity tips to help you grow your business without burning out or neglecting your social life. 

You Got to Simplify Your Operations

When I originally had a health coaching business, there was always this pressure to invest in numerous softwares. I remember Googling what the best softwares an online business owner should have. I got lists of 10+ softwares to invest in right away (or I wouldn’t be successful. 🙄)

The key to being more efficient is being strategic on the tools you invest in & dedicate time to learning. Having too many softwares can reduce your productivity levels. It is important to have a select handful of softwares that manages multiple aspects of your business and can free up time for you.

Whether you’re just starting or wanting to simplify your business tasks, we would look into the following:

  • Project management tools to prioritize tasks.
  • Customer relationship management software so you & your customers feel supported.
  • AI software (ChatGPT) for faster content creation for social media, email marketing, etc.
  • Automation tool to streamline your everyday task list (more on this in the next section).

These are foundational softwares in my book as they can lead to long-term success.

You might like this too: Overcome 3 Common Hurdles to Scale Your Online Business Effectively.

Automate What You Can

A really easy way to get more out of your time & increase productivity is to automate busy work. This can either be done through outsourcing to a contractor OR through a tool like Zapier. For the purpose of this section I am going to focus on automation tools as they are so overlooked.

When I was working on my health coaching business, the only way I felt I could take stuff off my plate was to delegate tasks to contractors. This put unnecessary pressure on me to work harder in order to afford outside support. There was also this sense of imposter syndrome that because I wasn’t making x amount of month, I wasn’t worthy of a VA for example.

The more I dove into virtual assistance, I got to play around with automations to make my life and the client’s life 10x easier. Tools like Zapier makes it easier for business owners to prioritize their work without the burden of hiring outside help. 

What Katie and I have implemented into clients business are:

  • Automated tagging, filtering, and email responses for better inbox management.
  • Scheduling posts for consistency & brand visibility.
  • Calendar scheduling for seamlessly booking for warm leads.
  • Email sequences to build that like, know, trust factor with subscribers.
  • Automated comment management to reduce the amount of time on social media.
  • Accounting/financial planning so tax time isn’t a complete headache.

What each of these do is give you more time while maximizing your business output. It essentially means you can have your cake and eat it too! What I would recommend doing is listing out all your repetitive tasks to see what can be automated. 

From there you can select one task to explore how it can be automated with a tool like Zapier. This is something Katie & I love doing so if you need any help please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Become The Master of Your Time 

I cannot tell you how important it is to become a master of your time especially if you’re a service provider. The trap I see so many entrepreneurs fall into (myself included) is losing themselves in their client work.

IMO client work is so damn easy. Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it! However depending on your industry all of your time can be given to a client rather than your business. This is a balance I am constantly playing with because my goal is to work ON my business rather than IN my business.

Having this mentality allows you to keep moving the needle of your business while still serving your clients effectively. Something I like to do is:

  • The Pomodoro Technique forces me to stay focused on one task with scheduled short breaks. If you’re anything like me, taking breaks can be hard to do.
  • Sending out an “Intentions” email to Katie. This helps me to set clear intentions for the week on what important tasks need to get done and how we can support one another.

If I had no support I would prioritize my tasks by writing in a journal or planner the following:

  • What is my goal for this week?
  • What tasks do I need to prioritize in a given workday?

As for Katie, she likes to incorporate small time blocks and flexible deadlines. This provides her with structure & flexibility to get her tasks done. 

These time and task management hacks let you get more done & run your business effectively. Plus, you will find the more you stay organized the more free time you can have. 

You might like this too: How to Avoid 4 Major Productivity Pitfalls in Your Online Business. 

Clear Out All Distractions

This one is a call out for myself because lord knows how distracted I can get. I tend to jump from client to client, task to task, which only increases my overwhelm. It leaves this feeling of getting so much done & nothing at all…

That is the dilemma of multitasking. You think you’re getting more done, but you’re actually not. The number one way I started to transition out of this practice was to clear all distractions.

For me this looked like:

  • Keeping my desk cleared any clutter (because a clutter space if a cluttered mind)
  • Creating a Do Not Disturb schedule to filter my notifications.
  • Adding a productivity tool like Opal to block me from endless scrolling social media.

Especially when you’re working from home, it is so important to have these boundaries. Any successful entrepreneur protects their time. By eliminating distractions it is easier to improve the productivity of your business. 

Plus by focusing on one task at a time, you reduce your stress levels & prevent unnecessary mistakes from happening! That was my biggest downfall in trying to get work done so fast to only having to go back to redo it all. 

Please learn from my mistakes. And by using these tips for reducing distractions & the time management, you can see an increase in productivity and achievement of your goals faster than you think!

Fill Your Cup Up First

I remember vividly Katie telling me to get a hobby and looking at her like she had 10 heads. I could not comprehend a hobby when my to-do list was so long. The excuse I would give is “I don’t have time for this. I need to do XYZ.” 

The reason these excuses came up was because I was so afraid that if I don’t work 24/7, I will not get to where I want to be. This all came being taught that if you want more money you need to trade your time. I am here to tell you that’s not true.

I spent years doing this and all I had come from it was being sick, burnout, and resentful of my business. I was trying to run a business as an employee not an owner. 

The way I started to integrate this was finding a hobby, setting boundaries around work hours, and scheduling breaks into my day. By doing this, you create freedom for yourself. That is why we all start a business, to have the freedom to do as we please while leaving a big impact too.

Final Thoughts

Each of these strategies allows you to reclaim your time without impacting your bottom line. My goal with this post was to give you tools that are both tangible and not. By streamlining operations, automating what you can, mastering your time, clearing your desk, and committing to fill your cup first you can achieve not only business growth but also a fulfilling work-life balance. 

P.S. If this blog was too long to read, here is the gist:

  • Simplify your daily operations by reducing the number of softwares you use.
  • Automate your list of tasks that don’t require your attention.
  • Become a master of your time by incorporating time management tips.
  • Clear distractions from your physical and mental space.
  • Don’t forget to book a free consultation if you’re ready for a virtual team to support you!


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Heey, it's Katie & Sara!

We are the founders of Indigo Elephant Co, where we specialize in helping overwhelmed business owners move from chaos to clarity with our proven systems and dedicated support.