Most business owners would agree that business productivity bridges the gap between investment and return. Business productivity tools enable business owners to do things better so that their business can produce more, create more and deliver more at lesser the time and cost.

As a business owner, investing in business productivity is – and should be – in your agenda if you are setting your eyes on growing your business significantly. With investments in business productivity, you can cut costs and re-channel expenses to other more productive aspects of your business, such as paying better wages, staff training, among others.

By combining automation, improving collaboration, streamlining work processes and easing workload, business productivity can give your business a boost. The question is, how do you know when you’re ready to invest in business productivity? How do you know when your business calls for productivity enhancements?

Doing things more efficiently at a fraction of the cost

One example of how business productivity helps your business is when it allows you to do things more efficiently at a fraction of the cost. HR productivity tools, for example, can help you get rid of repetitive and routine HR functions such as monthly payroll preparation, payslip printing, leaves recording and monitoring, computation of CPF, etc., thus, reducing the cost of hiring a payroll administrator while at the same time increasing workforce productivity by refocusing the role of your HR department to training, employee motivation, or recruitment of the best talents.

Do you need to hire a full-scale project management team? Or perhaps you can use a project management tool that tracks tasks, deadlines, and even alerts you to invoice your client on time? There’s a greater chance you will accomplish more with less when you have a project management tool in place.

That said, here are five signs you should invest in business productivity:

#1 Your business is failing to achieve goals

How’s your monthly Profit and Loss looking like? Are you always putting off fires and doing damage control, because of your staff’s poor performance? Are you always behind your delivery schedule due to unforeseen circumstances? Are you failing to achieve your goals because you’ve set too high a target? Is your competitor out-performing you? These are signs your business is failing to achieve your goals in terms of profit, market lead and organizational growth. These are clear signals that you might need to invest in business productivity.

Improving processes, training your manpower, and acquiring machinery may help you overcome below-the-line results like missed revenue targets, low production, or poor product quality. Business productivity can increase your efficiency and enable you to achieve your business goals.

#2 Your customers are starting to show signs of dissatisfaction

Are you losing your customers to your competitors? You’d be lucky if your customers would even drop a comment or feedback, as most of them simply won’t care. They’d be switching camps in a snap if you’ve dissatisfied them even just once. Surely, nobody else can give you a better signal that your business needs a boost other than your customers.

Evaluate your company’s efforts and do your best to recognize what’s causing the problem. Is your failure to meet customers’ expectation due to lack of manpower? Is it because of outdated equipment? You would be wise to invest in recruitment, training, or even in equipment upgrade to be able to plug the cause of your customers’ dissatisfaction and keep customers coming back to you. Taking this proactive step will surely be better than having unplanned expenses to recompense damages caused to your customers and in trying to win them back.

#3 Your employees are starting to show signs of inefficiency and dissatisfaction

Working towards the success of your business should be both a challenging and a satisfying endeavor not just for you but also for your employees. But if your employees are constantly feeling stressed and overworked more than feeling fulfilled and accomplished, then this may be a sign that something is wrong within your organization. Are there frequent employee tardiness and absences? Is their quality of work failing? Are you receiving a lot of complaints? Are they failing to carry out orders and follow directions? The last thing you would want to happen is to see your employees resigning and joining your competitor.

You might see the need to invest in your team. Examine the source of their dissatisfaction. Do you need to upgrade their competency and skill so they can work efficiently? Do they need a better facility? Do they need a break? Be ready to invest in their productivity. You would be surprised how much more they can achieve if they feel that you are taking care of them.

#4 Your business is ready to achieve greater heights

Either you’re ready to open to new markets, launch new products, or compete globally, a business expansion is definitely the perfect time to invest on productivity. There are just so many indications that can prompt you to level up your business’ capacity.

Do you have a strong demand for your products? This may be a sign you can already increase your supply or expand to another market?  Are you getting repeat business? This may signal that you can nurture a loyal community to which new products can be launched.

Expanding your business is going to be a challenging yet exciting milestone. And when your initial business goals have been carefully and surely achieved, when you have done your due diligence in studying your expansion, and when you have secured funding, then investing in business productivity will indeed fuel your success as you take your business to the next level.

#5 You don’t need to look for signs. Improving productivity should be a constant goal of any business.

The pursuit of productivity in your business should in fact be constant and continuing especially if you look at it in view of the scalability of your business. Productivity is the bloodline of any business; scalability assures its longevity. Market demands will change, customer preferences are increasingly becoming more sophisticated. New competitors are arising. Change being your constant companion, pursuing productivity will help you sustain profitability, leadership and growth amidst these complexities and change.