Both startups and established enterprises alike understand how important effective management is for the growth of a business. Without clear-headed direction, there’s no basis on which the company can grow internally and scale externally. That’s where managerial leadership comes into play.
Small business management is often the difference-maker between a failed venture and a successful, driven company. To help you manage your business better to save you time and increase your productivity, we put together a list of our favorite small business management tips below.
Center Your Employees
Businesses are about people. No successful business owner can go without knowing how to cater to their customers’ and employees’ needs. Among the many decisions that business owners need to make over the lifespan of their company, assembling a winning team might be the most important of all.
Below, we break down our top management tips and suggestions for putting your employees first while also padding your company’s bottom line.
During the early stages of your company’s growth, your employees are inextricably linked to the overall success of the business. Since no small business is truly a one-person show, it makes sense to include your employees and team members in the success of the company.
Even if they aren’t equity partners, providing some degree of latitude when it comes to decision-making and regularly rewarding them with performance bonuses are seen as great ways to motivate employees and make them feel prized.
Prioritize Employee Development
Knowing how to manage your business begins with knowing how to manage your team. If you hire your employees and only train them at the outset of their employment, you are actively stunting their growth.
Managing a business properly should involve the continual education and training of your staff and team. This way, they can develop professional skills that will allow them to face new problems, take care of customer relations more confidently, and give them the potential to ascend the ranks of the company.
Let Go of (Some) Control
Sometimes letting go of your problems is the best antidote. For example, handling your accounting or customer service all on your own is a recipe for disaster if you’re handling your inventory, staffing, and everything else. No matter how driven you are, you cannot put all the weight on your shoulders.
Instead, delegate responsibility wherever possible. Not only with this help build trust and establish rapport between you and your staff, but it will make your life a lot easier too. Effective leaders are able to recognize the special talents and abilities of others. To take your business to new heights, play to your personal strengths while also letting team members play to theirs.
Hire for Intangibles
More and more business owners realize that employees are able more than who they are on a piece of paper. Although college degrees and other formal credentials are still valued in the job market, there are other aspects of character that do not come across visibly until you can meet face-to-face with the job candidate.
Leadership skills are equally as important as work history and credentialed professional development. If you want to hire a long-term employee that will play a central role in the growth of your company, consider looking out for the following ‘intangible’ qualities during their interview:
- Verbal and written communication skills
- Analytical skills (i.e., prioritization, problem-solving)
- Social skills
- Willingness to lead when appropriate
- Ability to work well on a team
- A positive, ‘growth-oriented’ mindset
Systemize Your Processes
To gain a competitive edge in today’s market, you need to be willing to turn your operating processes into closed systems. While still allowing for critical and creative thinking when necessary, it is important for the health of any business to prioritize a work environment that thrives on routine and predictability.
When you create systematic work environments, you insulate your business against outside influences and threats. If an unforeseen event or mishap comes up, you will have a plan mapped out to help you overcome it quickly and effectively.
Small business management is a labor of love. Fortunately, drafting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) can remove many pain points from your workflows and create a universal, accessible operations guide for you and your employees to work from.
Think of an assembly line. These are closed systems that define the day-to-tasks of every component within the system. If the assembly line fails, it can be quickly ameliorated by referring to the SOPs that set forth basic guidelines for dealing with problems as they arise. In other words, creating SOPs takes a lot of the burden of dealing with issues off your back.
Create Passive Marketing
To manage a small business with passion and drive, you need to be prepared to spend a significant amount of time dedicating yourself to the front-end aspects of business development. For instance, you need to greet customers, seek out prospective clients, manage and train your staff, and handle day-to-day expenses.
In other words, there isn’t always a lot of time left in your schedule for marketing and promotion. This where the beauty of passive marketing comes into play. Since active marketing operations can take a lot of time out of your day, using passive marketing techniques can free up time that can be better spent elsewhere. Passive marketing techniques for small businesses include:
- MailChimp email marketing/newsletter blasts
- Google and Facebook Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads
- Customer referral programs
- High-visibility signage
- Create an SEO blog or website
Streamline Your Accounting
Hiring a good bookkeeper to manage your company’s finances can be costly in both time and cash resources. Thankfully, today’s automated accounting software makes it easy to find out how to manage a business from a financial perspective.
Using intuitive applications like Intuit QuickBooks can make your life a lot easier if you want to focus more on scaling and managing your business rather than fiddling with balance sheets. In other words, don’t be afraid to let automated software handle processes for a recurring cost if it allows you to focus on what’s most important to your company’s growth.
Don’t Lose Sight of the Basics
Learning the ins and outs of small business management doesn’t have to be a headache. Usually, all you must do is set your sights on your basic goals and strengths. However, this isn’t exactly an easy task unless you take the time to identify what those goals and strengths are.
Play to Your Strengths
Learning how to manage a small business is simply a matter of specialization. Market economies reward businesses that specialize in a niche domain and make the most of their strengths. That is, successful businesses rarely spread themselves thin—rather, they focus on what they do well, and learn how to do it even better.
One of the best tools for becoming a better small business manager is to track your sales and development areas, and gauge where you’re making the most progress. If you find that one product or service outsells your others multiple times over, you should focus your efforts on scaling up the inventory of those “winner” products that make you the most money.
Set Goals (And Stick to Them)
There are few business management tips more important than the simple task of setting goals. By establishing written and communicable short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, you can work as a team toward their realization. Without having them written down and clearly defined, it is unlikely that your team will be working cohesively toward a common vision.
If you want to know how to manage a business success story, it all comes down to whether you can set forth actionable and realistic goals. For help establishing achievable, bite-sized goals, follow this quick how-to guide to corporate goal-setting.
Become A Better Manager Today
The art of small business management is learned through trial and error as much as experimentation. However, you can take several steps toward becoming a better small business manager today simply by adopting the techniques mentioned above.
The formula is simple: empower your employees, delegate responsibility, automate tasks when appropriate, and streamline established processes. In doing so, you can take better command of your company while also lessening your workload and decreasing your chances of burnout.
Ultimately, goal-setting and a common long-term vision is the best path forward to success as a small business owner. However, without taking the time to goal-set and devise business objectives, there is no chance that your company will be able to move toward them.