I’m Aida Rejzovic, founder of Sassy Organics — an all-natural, vegan and organic eCommerce store, committed to helping others adopt a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle.
I started Sassy Organics in 2016 with the aim of sharing the benefits of organic living with others. Since then, we’ve made strides towards becoming an epicentre of natural products and a thought leader in considered living. Sassy Organics started with just nine brands and 124 products; it now stocks 130 brands, 2000 products and is growing daily
Like many businesses, the pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges to both my personal and business’ productivity. Fortunately for me, my business is in eCommerce, so the pandemic wasn’t as much of a huge shock to me as it was for other, in-person businesses. If anything, the increased demand for online shopping was the biggest challenge — but a good one to have. The pandemic meant my small team and I had to stay productive and organised, all remotely.
The biggest challenge when working from home as a small business is organisation and communication. My team and I have Microsoft Teams to thank for keeping us on track. Teams lets my team and I instantly message, share files and call one another. I also love that Teams lets us work on the one document at the same time. Getting a software like Teams is crucial when working from home as you’d be surprised how much time you can waste emailing back and forth different documents or questions.
We’ve even managed to employ, induct and train new staff using Teams. Whilst we never thought this would be possible, it proved that remote working can be just as effective as face to face.
Our second secret to working remotely is Trello. Trello is like a digital corkboard where you organise tasks in cards and lists as well as in the form of a calendar. We rely on Trello for keeping track of when all our various blogs, emails, social media and promotions are going live, as well as important dates in the retail year. Before Trello, I used to publish all my content ad hoc, which was stressful to say the least. Now we can strategise and plan ahead, plus it’s easy to ask questions or leave ideas on a certain task card, which avoids us constantly messaging back and forth.
When it comes to increasing productivity, I believe in leading by example. If you, as the manager or leader, believe in your business and are passionate about your core values, your staff will follow your path. I believe the best way to motivate your staff is by doing, not simply asking. It’s also important to check in with staff and see how their well-being is in those difficult circumstances. Here in Melbourne, Australia, we’ve had six lockdowns. As leaders, we have to remain optimistic and ensure that our staff are well looked after in such challenging circumstances. A daily phone call or team meeting may be just enough to show your staff that you really care.
My advice to others would be to put staff at the forefront of everything you do. Be understandable and approachable. Accept that staff may struggle, mentally and physically and that some days they may be less productive. Support them and appreciate them, especially when they go over and above their duties.
Another tip for business productivity is to be open to learning and trying new things. This is especially true of technology and the times we live in with remote work. Technology is great and there are plenty of tools out there that may help you and your team work more effectively. Don’t be afraid to try new things. What you learn today may change your work practices forever.
One of the biggest things that’s helped me succeed in business is cultivating a productive mindset. This is challenging. There are so many competing demands in life: work, social, family, friends, physical and mental health. Nourishing them all equally can be difficult. I think the first step is finding work that you can more easily be motivated to do. Next, it’s all about routine. I’m an early riser; I find getting up early before everyone else is crucial to me getting uninterrupted work time. Making a list of things I need to do each day in order of priority also means that I have a clear plan to follow, I don’t feel overwhelmed, and I can get the most important things done early, before all those emails start flooding in at 9 am.
Rest can sometimes feel counterintuitive. As a business owner in particular the work never really stops, there’s always something to be done. But rest is crucial to success. You have to take rest when you need it and spend time with your friends and family. This recharges your energy levels and will see you more productive when you get back into work.