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11 Important Things Every Startup Blogger Needs To Remember

11 Important Things Every Startup Blogger Needs To Remember

We live in an amazing time when anyone can publish their thoughts, ideas and projects online for the world to see. I assume that the Gutenbergs would be totally amazed! If you are a startup blogger there are a few best practices that you will want to remember to make sure you have the right foundation. Trust me, these will save you time and energy later.

Start Writing With Your Mission In Mind

Sure, you can begin publishing your thoughts online, like a private journal turned public, but most people aren’t going to want to read what about what you had for lunch, where you are going, or how crummy your day was. Instead, sit down and think about what your mission with your blog is and write from that place on every post. This will make it easier to decide when to scrap or publish a post.

Know Your Audience

You won’t know, at first, who is going to be reading your blog until you start publishing, but you can begin by thinking about who you would like to have read your blog. If you are really into design or fashion, you would gear articles towards that audience. If you are a happy vegetarian and are publishing recipes, you would write to other current vegetarians or would-be vegetarians. Think about writing each post with the reader in mind.

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Write In A Compelling Way

People want to learn something new, feel better about themselves, or get excited about a topic when they read a blog post. Your blog needs to be informative, inspiring or affirming with each post. Don’t worry, at first, if your blog posts are too long or too short, but remember the average attention span gets smaller. Consider bite-sized information in short paragraphs that tell a great story!

Collaborate, Don’t Compete

Blogging isn’t a competition. Everyone has value in the blog world and your voice is appreciated and needed. Get in the game and be friendly with other bloggers! It is a pretty welcoming community and if you want to guest post, share content on Twitter, or get to know other bloggers and introduce yourself. Even the bigger bloggers take time to help newer bloggers.

Promote Your Blog

It isn’t enough to just write and hope they will come! You have to promote your blog posts online and off. Join an online blogging community and share your posts, tweet about your new blog posts, pin your photos on Pinterest, have your blog printed on your business cards, go to blogging conferences and get involved in your local and regional blogging communities. A quick search online or on Facebook will help you find groups of people blogging about similar topics. By joining these groups you can promote one another and grow your audiences. People who write about gardening also read about it and you will have found your built-in audience!

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Be Aware Of Time-Sensitive Topics And Trends

Being current about a topic is always a good time to publish. Did a celebrity just say something really demeaning about his mom? Is there a new trend in your field? Are new colors coming out for the season? Having an opinion about those things will more than likely get your blog post read.

Know When To Publish

You can’t always react to trends and you don’t always want to be controversial on your blog because readers get tired of that and want to know your own ideas. Remember, your blog is open for the entire world to see and what you publish is available for anyone to read. Don’t get hotheaded some night and write a flaming open letter that you are going to regret someday. Exercise the “wait a day” rule when you are publishing something that might be sensitive or difficult!

Know What Is Your Story

Tell your own point of view on your blog, but remember you do not own other people’s stories. If you are writing about sensitive information about your family, local community, or even the world around you, be careful that you don’t assume you have permission to tell someone else’s story. This is particularly true of children. Think about how they will feel in 20 years when they see unflattering pictures of themselves online from when they were kids. Ask permission, don’t share real names, and be sensitive to how others will feel with their story broadcast worldwide.

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Lead An Interesting Life

You can’t just blog. You have to actually do interesting things in your real life to have topics and ideas to blog about! Step away from your computer and plan something fun and blog about that. Your blog will remain fresh and fun if you are balancing a real life with blogging.

Be A Real Person

You aren’t a huge publishing house. You are a person; please blog like one. It doesn’t matter if you are blogging for your business or writing a personal blog, write like a real person. What makes blogging so interesting is getting to know the real people behind the blog. Your story is what is most important; not how slick you can write an article.

Just Do It

Don’t let the idea that you aren’t a great writer, photographer, or have the perfect idea stop you from blogging. The more posts that you write the better your writing will get and the better your blog will be. If you wait until the perfect time you might just be waiting forever.

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Now is the perfect time to start a blog and the blogging world is waiting to hear your voice and your story. Get started and share what know with the world.

Featured photo credit: Blogger. Man holding chalkboard with word Blog written on. via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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