What’s the one thing business owners can do to boost productivity and growth?

How shifting your focus and changing resourcing can free up your time


There’s no doubt about it; running your own business is both exciting and rewarding, but it also has its challenges. In the early days, you probably did a bit of everything – from business planning and marketing, to accounts and making the tea. As your business has developed, it may be that clients seek you out personally for your insight and expertise, making it harder to delegate. It could be that your team frequently comes to you to solve issues. You might still be involved in daily operations like fulfilling orders or delivering a service to ensure quality. You’re possibly even a bit of a control freak about the business you’re so invested in… go on admit it!

Whatever the reason, these tasks create a bit of a rabbit hole you can get lost in. They prevent you from focusing on growing a sustainable business. You’re working in the business, rather than on the business. Many business owners prioritise admin over business growth; maybe because smaller admin tasks are easier and they avoid dealing with grittier issues.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Many business owners find it difficult to relinquish control of these jobs and keep the tasks within the business, rather than outsourcing. However, making this shift towards the bigger picture could be the most important thing you do to become more productive and drive growth.

In the Harvard Business Review, Karen Dillon says that: “a good manager trains and delegates”. She talks about the importance of identifying what work you can pass on so that you can focus on the “big-ticket items where you can truly add value”, such as strategic planning and growth. Outsourcing a time-consuming task is one of the top three ways to work on your business effectively because it frees you from routine daily tasks.

However, when you’re rushed or in demand, the perceived challenge of finding the right person or people to outsource work often creates a barrier. You may end up thinking it will just be quicker to do it yourself.

Business owners are overworked

One of the drivers behind creating the Unisource platform was to help business owners focus on their business. We’re doing this by providing a pool of talent they could quickly outsource tasks to, while helping them maximise business potential. In our initial planning stages, we commissioned some conduct market research.* We spoke to 250 SMEs working in manufacturing, retail and leisure with five employees or less.

We found that business owners were feeling stretched and bogged down by administrative tasks:

  • The average time spent by SMEs on tasks not directly related to growing a business was 26.6% – a quarter of their time

  • 42% say they spend too much time on tasks that are administrative and not related to growth

  • 10% of SMEs spend 70% or more of their time on administrative tasks.

From this information, the Unisource platform could give business owners around a quarter of their time back to focus on longer-term tasks that could help grow their business. It allows them to stay focused on growing their business by outsourcing tasks to savvy students, at the forefront of learning. Out of the business owners interviewed, 97% say they believe Unisource is a positive initiative.

During June 2020, we commissioned further research into how SMEs were managing during the COVID-19 pandemic.** Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that having university students to take on some of the workload related to running a business would be very helpful.

We asked about the areas where they need support over the next year. Digital and social media support appear to be one of the strongest requirements with a high level of confidence in student competence in this area, along with market research, accountancy and graphic design were also identified.

It’s really easy for companies to advertise a task and be notified when a student bids. All you have to do is create your company profile and after verification, you can get posting!

If you’d like to know more about how Unisource could help your company, please get in touch with us via contact@unisource-tasks.com, or take a look at our page for businesses.

* Conducted by KAM media 2019
** Conducted by KAM media 2020

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