6 Small Business Management Tips That Can Actually Save Your BusinessTyler Sousa
As a business owner, your two most valuable assets are resources that you cannot (and would not) sell. They are your time and your team.
Learning how to effectively manage your team members and your time can take years of hands-on experience. Presumably, you’ve found what works for you and now you’re looking for ways to refine your process.
We’ve broken down 6 of the most impactful management strategies and tips to help business owners like you get the most out of both your employees and your time at the office.
Here’s what we’ll review:
- How to set your employees up for success
- The importance of holding regular meetings with yourself
- How to avoid micromanaging your employees
- Why multitasking can do more bad than good
- The benefits of ignoring your emails
- Daily availability to your team
1. Train Your Employees for Success
An employee’s time with your company can be defined largely by the training they receive. Proper training and onboarding procedures can be the difference between your employees buying into the way you do things and feeling like they don’t belong.
Without guidance and insight from management, it is easy to quickly become lost, no matter how confident and qualified you are for your new position.
You can’t expect your new hire to immediately take over some of your responsibilities. While that may be the plan for the future, you should instead expect to be a bit busier than you had been as you get your new hire up to speed on company policies, processes and training.
A well-trained employee is a confident employee.
Here’s what you can do to ensure their training process doesn’t just go well but stays with them:
A successful onboarding process doesn’t start on an employee’s first day at the job, it starts during the recruitment process.
By the time your new hire is clocking in for the first time, the following should already be clear:
- Company values
- Workflow process
- Information about the office
- What the company’s goal is
Your company’s website can help you share this information with potential employees using a career or culture page.
Nothing is more nerve-racking than your first day on a new job. There are probably hundreds of studies as to why, but what we’re focused on in this blog is how to help your employees kick those nerves and get comfortable in their new space.
A few ways to ensure your new hires feel right at home their first day are:
- Have their desk prepared by setting up their computer and providing a nameplate so they know it’s their very own space.
- Have any security badges and passwords they may need ready to go.
- Set up their email, phone system, tools and anything else they’ll need to do their job effectively.
- Give directions on where to park, where the bathroom is, how to use the printer and other frequently asked questions.
- Prepare your current employees for their new coworker by sending out an email the day before and encouraging them to introduce themselves.
- Make sure your new employee knows who to talk to should they have any questions and possibly even assign a fellow co-worker to check in with them throughout their first couple of weeks.
Your new employee joined your team because they saw your vision for your company and how they could help you achieve it. There is nothing more discouraging for an employee than quickly realizing that the goals of their new employer are constantly changing, or worse, not what they were advertised as.
A successful training and onboarding process goes far beyond an employee’s first week on the job. Just as they’ve made a commitment to your business, you’ve made a promise to them as well.
Consistency is part of that promise.
2. Take Time to Review Your Business’ Progress On Your Own
Meetings are a staple of every business model. They’re great for keeping up on projects and making sure everyone is on the same page. However, the person we often forget to meet with is yourself.
Scheduling a weekly meeting with just you and your thoughts can be extremely productive. It gives you time to evaluate your business’ goals alone. While most business owners probably can’t help from constantly analyzing their business’ progress, setting aside time dedicated to doing exactly that can save you a lot of time and headaches.
As the owner of your business, you may have become too involved in the process of your employees and lost sight of the big picture. These types of meetings can be equally self-reflective as they are business proactive.
Your goals and your business’ goals should be in alignment. Putting time aside to confirm this is still the case can go a long way towards keeping you and your employees on track and ultimately achieving what you set out to do when you started your company.
3. Once You’ve Trained Your Employees, Let Them Breathe
Just as setting up your new employees for success is a vital part of managing a small business, so is making sure you are allowing them to continue to grow.
You hired your employees because you saw their potential and what they could one day bring to your company. Once you’ve gotten them accustomed to the way you do things, it’s time to let them find their way on their own.
This isn’t to say you should be ignoring your employees, but constantly standing over their shoulder is ineffective for a handful of reasons.
Could Damage Their Confidence
Regular check-ins can be beneficial but constantly being monitored and told how to do things can create a miserable working environment for everyone involved. An employee who is lacking confidence is an unproductive employee, and nothing can shake a worker’s confidence more than feeling like your boss doesn’t trust you to produce quality work.
Won’t Become Independent
If it becomes blatantly obvious to your employees that their input isn’t carrying any value, they can quickly lose their ability to make a decision on their own.
This is a slippery slope because your employees will now look to you to make every decision for them, creating more work and eliminating the whole reason you hired your staff; to relieve yourself of excessive responsibilities.
Be Available – But Not Too Available
If your employees have access to you at all times, they might become dependent. Instead of doing their own research, they’ll constantly look to you for your knowledge on the subject which can quickly stunt their growth as an employee.
A good way to prevent your employees from becoming too reliant on you is to limit your availability. Designate a time during the day or week where your door is always open and your employees can come to you with any questions or issues they have.
4. Eliminate Multitasking
The ability to multitask was once seen as a mandatory skill for employees, and in some industries, it is. In most business settings, however, multitasking can actually be very unproductive.
We don’t have to tell business owners that very rarely, if ever, is there only one task that needs to be taken care of. Usually, it’s about 10 to 20 things that need tending to, creating the urge to tackle them all at once.
Starting multiple projects at once can quickly become an issue for your company. Jumping between projects and random tasks can not only result in patchy work, but it may also impact due dates and the duration of the project in general.
Once things start to drag, it can feel like nothing is getting done and create a mental hurdle for you and your staff that can be hard to overcome.
Rather than expecting your employees to multitask, your business may benefit from employees who excel at staying on task and have a good understanding of when to move on to their next project.
This is an extremely valuable business management tip that should be shared more commonly among business owners who feel like their productivity has gone stagnant.
5. Avoid Checking Your Email Until Midday
What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
Was your answer check your emails?
If so, here’s why it shouldn’t be.
Checking your email as soon as you get to your desk can create bad habits. One of the main things it can do is distract you from what you planned to get done that morning.
For example, let’s say your agenda this morning was to run a report on this month’s sales numbers in previous years and use that report to identify any possible trends.
You sit down at your desk with your coffee and open your email to 50 unread messages. Those messages contain a healthy mix of questions, issues and spam that can easily eat up the first 2 hours of your day, leaving you only a few minutes to organize for the marketing meeting scheduled with your team. From there it’s on with the rest of your day.
Putting an end to the habit of starting your day answering emails can increase your daily productivity. Try ignoring your email for the first 3 to 4 hours of your day and see what kind of impact it has on your daily to-do list.
6. Make Time for Your Team
Doesn’t it seem like there’s always something that pops up near the end of the day that requires your immediate attention? This might result in you now having to stay late or put your current project on hold until the next day.
Well, what if you had time blocked off on your daily schedule specifically for situations just like those?
That’s the idea of scheduling yourself 1 or 2 free hours. This gives you time in your day to tackle those unexpected tasks, answer emails or even just decompress from a long day of work.
While we know it’s tempting to schedule yourself a full slate of work and meetings every day, many business owners have reported much less procrastination once they adopted this strategy into their daily routine.
While the idea of having two hours of nothing to do may seem unproductive, that actually happening is very unlikely to happen. And if it does, take a moment to reflect on the day’s work. Maybe even work on your own personal project to help break up some of the monotony that comes with being a business owner.
Start Improving Immediately
While some aspects of these tips can seem a bit complex, for the most part, they are easily implemented and you can start using them immediately.
Sometimes it’s hard to see how you can improve your business when you’ve got your head down, getting after it every day with your team. The only way to find out what works for you and your business is to experiment and see what works.
There are always improvements to be made and time to be saved. Use the management tips we’ve highlighted in this blog as a starting point and continue to look for ways to improve your process.