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Business Productivity and Profitability Join the chat #ForumHour

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Business Productivity and Profitability What is #ForumHour? #ForumHour is a monthly twitter discussion in real time focusing on current issues faced by UK small businesses. This month’s topic was business productivity and profitability.

Summary of findings The Forum asked the audience six key questions relating to the main topic and here is a summary of the key findings below with captured tweets to support the findings.

1 What do you do in your business to save

time and improve productivity?

Training was a big source of discussion with 80% of those involved contributing to the training discussion and confirming its importance to improving productivity. BSA Buying Group @BSA_BuyingGroup @The_FPB #ForumChat #ForumHour Productivity suffers through lack of skills training. We see more sales training than for purchasing. Training budgets are often first hit when recession hits or when economy uncertain such as Brexit. False economy as skills must keep up. MD Safety Management @MDSafeT Training staff always ensures staff know Company goals & procedures. Short term = timeconsuming but long term = massive benefits. JournoLink @JournoLink #ForumHour great point. Fully agree!! #Training is very important. And esp in a smallbiz with few staff, skills gaps appear! Ian Cass @IanCassMD 3h3 hours ago Agree! I’m always keen to get my team the relevant training needed. Education is so important #Forumhour

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Jill Poet (ORB) @ORB_UK Absolutely Specific job training essential as is self-development which can produce amazing benefits. #confidentstaff #happystaff #Forumhour Some other very interesting points were made around HR and business efficiency with a very good suggestion made about automating social media to improve productivity. James.Barnett @rradarjames I think some employees get worried when they hear #businessproductivity as in the past it has been code for redundancy but not anymore! JournoLink @JournoLink #ForumChat One thing is we play to our #HR strengths. People do what they are best at! It’s simple but very effective. Leanda Hickman @MrsHickman2013 @The_FPB how many meetings do people have in a week? ... do we need to have all the meetings we actually have? #forumhour MD Safety Management @MDSafeT responded… Efficiency is being pro-active about compliance not reactive. BSA Buying Group @BSA_BuyingGroup @The_FPB What we do to boost productivity is to only do what is core and outsource what isn’t core to others (trusted and vetted suppliers) JournoLink @JournoLink We automate as much as we can on social media but make sure our content is creative and human, not #Bot Like :) #HumanTouch

2 How does your business save time and

money to profitably grow and develop?

100% of the audience agreed that clear communication and planning was essential to improving profitability. BSA Buying Group @BSA_BuyingGroup @The_FPB #ForumChat #ForumHour We find that many firms lack plans for tackling specific areas of supply which means profit not optimised. Leanda Hickman @MrsHickman2013 Having clear processes that all your team are aware of #forumhour & if you are able to provide clear, concise documentation for your team, it leaves little room for things to be miscommunicated #forumhour Jill Poet (ORB) @ORB_UK Agreed/ Also companies need to have strong values & an ethos that is clearly communicated across whole team. #forumhour

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3 How can you motivate people to

improve a business’ profitability and productivity performance? The initial response to this question focused on celebrating achievements and rewarding individuals – even if it’s just a thank you. Jonathan Farber @CllrFarber Millennials are focused on achievements and making a difference. It’s critical that those elements are part of a daily work programme. Science of Done @scienceofdone

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Put them in a small team on one project, quantify productivity & reward them if they increase the rolling average of their productivity. Jill Poet (ORB) @ORB_UK Like a good football team you need talent but never at expense of good teamwork. Rewards essential - even if just a “Thank You” #ForumHour Alan Hornby @rradarLegal Totally agree. Never underestimate how much a ‘Thank you’ means. Jill Poet (ORB) @ORB_UK Indeed. Being happy at work isn’t all about money #Forumhour.

The twitter chat then moved on to making sure people are involved, ensuring their wellbeing and career planning. JournoLink @JournoLink #ForumChat great question this!!! I’ve found it’s important to ask their ideas and value them. That way staff own biz goals and output ! Leanda Hickman @MrsHickman2013 Talk to your team individually and plan what they want to do with their career path this is always a starting point #planofaction #forumhour BSA Buying Group @BSA_BuyingGroup Look after your staff - health, safety, well-being. The positive culture that develops drives productivity. Customers see it too.

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4 In your opinion, what one business

change can result in the biggest improvement in productivity and profitability?

The conversation started on the subject of Health and Safety, prompted by the recent Grenfell Tower disaster. BSA Buying Group @BSA_BuyingGroup @The_FPB #ForumChat #ForumHour Productivity also hampered by H&S failings. Grenfall Tower tragedy shows results of complacency No good outsourcing to gain efficiencies if contractors don’t comply with H&S! Must vet carefully & regularly. Jill Poet (ORB) @ORB_UK Short cuts inc. H&S failings might increase short term profits but clearly long term effects can be disastrous. #Forumhour Plus also need to understand & adhere to #values of company to avoid #reputationaldamage #Forumhour

People, skills, communication and creating the right environment were also hotly discussed. 100% of the participants agreed that these were critical factors in ensuring improvements in productivity and profitability. Jill Poet (ORB) @ORB_UK Creating the right environment is essential. Ensure employees feel valued and engaged & consider their wellbeing at all times #Forumhour Problem with #skillsshortages starts at school. Businesses need to support young people & work with their local schools. #forumhour James.Barnett @rradarjames Be clear about why you’re doing it! People fear change if they worry it will affect basic needs to provide for themselves. #communication JournoLink @JournoLink #ForumChat I think of 2 Ps as inputs to productivity & Profitability: 1.People 2.Processes. We’ve talked people #RedTape big #process issue.

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Mark Greenhouse @theleanmanager #businessproductivity meet daily and you’ll ensure you get work completed on time and hear what is really causing productivity issues. Another separate point was made about “blue tape” which prompted a great discussion within the office about the potential impact on our business. MD Safety Management @MDSafeT Is “red” tape as large as is portrayed? What is the impact of “blue” tape (i.e. inter-business) compliance?

5 How do you think Brexit will affect your

business productivity and profitability? 50% of participants expressed concern about how Brexit will affect business productivity and profitability in one way or another. BSA Buying Group @BSA_BuyingGroup

Training budgets are often first hit when recession hits or when economy uncertain such as Brexit. False economy as skills must keep up. Ian Cass @IanCassMD With no deal agreed on #brexit some businesses are already being affected. What will happen once deal agreed? #Forumhour James.Barnett @rradarjames I think the worry about how it will affect families is going to drive down #productivity as is the loss of workers in some industries.

40% of participants also saw Brexit as an unnecessary concern and an opportunity for future improvement in productivity and the remaining 10% didn’t share their thoughts about Brexit. Jill Poet (ORB) @ORB_UK I think too many small biz are worrying about #Brexit unnecessarily. Negative press breeds negative attitudes. #keeppositive #Forumhour JournoLink @JournoLink We buy digital resources abroad and £stg is down so costs are up. Means we have to get more productivity from all our resources. #ForumChat as long as we have free access to Europe the future is bright. But it’s highlighted the importance of home market even more.

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6 If you had one wish from the

government to help you improve business productivity and profitability what would it be? 100% of participants agreed that we need stability, simplification and a clear direction to see an improvement in productivity and profitability and 50% went on to specify that simplification in our tax system is a critical factor. Ian Cass @IanCassMD Reduce red tape, with no noticeable change over the last decade; if anything it’s got worse. #Forumhour JournoLink @JournoLink #ForumChat - our finance guys say 2 wishes here are 1. Simplification and 2. Simplification of the tax system :) James.Barnett @rradarjames Simplification of the tax system…but it could help us drive forward as we push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. JournoLink @JournoLink Frankly the worst thing is the limbo. Not knowing! It affects clients and their ability to plan which in turn rolls back to us. #ForumChat

The next #ForumHour To find out about the Forum’s next twitter chat you can follow us @The_FPB and use the hashtag #ForumHour to join the discussion. If there is a hot business topic that you would like to discuss at a future #ForumHour, please get in touch info@fpb.org We look forward to tweeting with you at the next #ForumHour.

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Findings from Business Performance Twitter Chat  

This document provides a summary of the findings from the #ForumHour about business productivity and profitability held in June 2017.

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