SOLOPRENEURS: Are you productive enough?

Christo Botes
As South Africa starts a month of four-day weeks due to back-to-back public holidays, strategies for maintaining and improving productivity are brought to the fore as businesses plan for the upcoming periods of down-time.

For solopreneurs – entrepreneurs who run their own one-man-show business – reviewing productivity levels can be a difficult task when there isn’t somebody holding you accountable for the business’ output. This is according to Christo Botes, spokesperson for the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, who says that it is important for entrepreneurs to measure their personal productivity levels as this will essentially determine whether the business is moving forward or not.

“While they are some of the hardest workers in South Africa, entrepreneurs can experience idleness from day-to-day, this is normal as many workers experience more productive days than others. It is thereby important for entrepreneurs to find and implement methods within their working day that will help inspire and boost productivity within their own business.”

For solopreneurs to assess their productivity, Botes advises setting goals which can be tracked on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis. “These should be researched to ascertain what is realistic within their given industry and line of work. By doing this, they will be able to benchmark their progress against key ratios, such as comparing turnover growth against budget and previous periods, profit margins and liquidity ratios, which are regarded as accepted standards within their industries.

He continues to say that this can be done by using graphs or tables that are visibly displayed or easily accessible at all times. “Solopreneurs can also create incentives for themselves to motivate them  to achieve their goals. Such tactics will help entrepreneurs keep themselves accountable for the goals they have set.”

Maintaining productivity levels is paramount to sustaining cash-flow for a business, says Botes, especially in light of strong economic headwinds facing South Africa’s landscape, such as a potential hike in interest rates, amid a number of other factors that will impact the local entrepreneurs following the recent downgrade announcements.

“Productivity, however, is not just about the numbers,” he adds, “although it is key to meet industry benchmarks of being able to correctly position and price a business’ product/service in the market. What is equally important is for entrepreneurs to learn how to work smarter, and ultimately feel a sense of fulfilment at the end of the day.

“Often entrepreneurs are too hard on themselves and don’t take a step back to look at their successes. As alluded to before, there is no employer congratulating an entrepreneur on a job well done. By setting goals that measure productivity, an entrepreneur can measure a good day, from a bad day, and celebrate achievements when it is due,” concludes Botes.