What Does Productivity Mean For Small Business?

Business woman working on a report with laptop, coffee, and notebook on table.

The Intel Small Business team is dedicated to providing real-world solutions and resources for business owners. This summer, we’re launching a series of blogs that analyze trendy business jargon, breaking through the buzzwords and giving you actionable information to help your business thrive.

When a Google search of “productivity” gives you almost a billion results, you know it’s a pretty important concept. You see it in advertisements for services, you can find lots of online “secrets” for it, and you’ve heard it often in meetings.

So you know it’s essential, but what does productivity actually mean? It’s similar to efficiency a ratio of input to output, with a lower input and larger output considered more efficient. But productivity is broad enough to include the many responsibilities that help make a business flourish. Entrepreneurs must consider investments of time, money, and other people, which all contribute to productivity ... or not. You’re busy, but taking the time to assess productivity is well spent.

Productivity can be measured

A small business owner’s time is worth a specific amount of money, which means measuring productivity is important. If you have the choice to pay someone else $2,000 to build your website, or save that money and build your own website, it might seem more productive to save the money and do it yourself. But if that website takes you 60 hours (not long for a good website), your time is worth $33 per hour. You’re probably worth more than that. And if you had spent that time doing something else you could deliver a lot of sales presentations in 60 hours, for example you might have landed a new client account worth much more than the $2,000 you saved. (And, let’s face it: Websites really should be built by pros.)

How you spend your time is based on your value system. To build your value system, rank the following in order of highest priority for you:

  • Monetary wealth
  • Relationships
  • Freedom
  • Social impact
  • Health and work-life balance

Being productive means spending your time working toward these priorities. A few hours spent on time management can help you discover where your time is being spent; you can then see whether your time aligns with the priorities most important to you and your business.

Tools for growth

A host of online productivity tools can help you stay on track. One great tool is GetHarvest, a website and mobile app for project-based time tracking. And the Pomodoro technique is a long-standing productivity method to help you use your time wisely.

And remember: You can’t grow your business if your time is spent putting out fires. If your time is being wasted rebooting an old PC in the middle of projects, waiting for slow applications to load, or staying tethered to an outlet for battery, that’s directly affecting your productivity. The right devices and tech are essential to optimize and grow your small business.

In one case, we estimated that field workers saved 50 to 75 percent of their time with upgraded mobile devices, specifically Dell Venue 11 Pro tablets with Intel Core i5 processors. With freedom in the field, workers can respond to more requests faster and provide better customer service.

Productivity is quantifiable, so it’s important that your time aligns with your personal priorities. Otherwise, all the time in the world won’t grow your business in the direction you want.

Check out the Microsoft Accelerate Your Business page to learn more about devices that impact your productivity. For more resources specific to small business, including real-world examples, financial implications, and tools, visit our weekly blog series dedicated to helping small business owners.