Nine Tips For a More Successful Business
Small business owners are not always the most qualified to run their business. They are…
Small business owners are not always the most qualified to run their business. They are often very good at performing the service they provide but they might not be skilled at administration, marketing, sales, or the myriad of other tasks required. So here are nine tips to help small business owners manage their businesses more effectively.
1. Have a plan. Start with goals, break those goals down into smaller objectives, and then break those objectives down into manageable tasks. Then perform each task with excellence. Revisit your objectives and goals often so that you can make sure you’re on track, and make course adjustments when necessary.
2. Have a contingency plan. Think about the various things that can happen. In some situations, there might be a “business as usual” plan and a “worst case scenario” plan. In other situations, there could be three or four (or more) potential outcomes. Make sure you know what could happen and plan for it.
3. Outsource. This is huge. You can’t do it all. You can delegate some, but chances are, you won’t be able to delegate all of it. Outsourcing is often a more affordable alternative because you don’t have to cover overhead and benefits and you only need to pay for the time you need. More businesses need to do more of this and when they do, they’ll see more profit.
4. Know your business. A good manager once told me, “You should never be surprised by what goes on in your department”. That was good advice and I took it to heart. Now that I run my own businesses, it’s even more important to know the business well.
5. Don’t work 24/7. It can be tempting to work around the clock, especially if you’re a small business owner with few or no employees. But taking periodic breaks, and forced downtime on the weekends, will actually make you more productive when you are working. Sure, you might occasionally need to burn the candle at both ends, but keep it rare and you’ll be surprised at your productivity.
6. Don’t be afraid to tell a client “no”. Clients ask for things. It’s easy to say “yes”, especially when we want the business. But clients can sometimes ask for too much. It’s rarely malicious. They either don’t understand what you do and don’t do, or they’re just watching their bottom line and trying to get a good deal. Consider the long term consequences of delivering on their request and be willing to say “no” if it makes sense.
7. Manage risk, manage risk, manage risk. Businesses are a delicate balance between risk and reward and you sometimes have to risk a little more to leverage your way into more business. But manage that risk as much as possible. Remember: if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts because you’ll be surprised at how accurate they are.
8. Be creative. The longer a business operates, and the larger it gets, the less creative a business becomes. It’s as if someone just sucks out all the creativity and replaces it with bureaucracy. Creativity is a powerful force in business and can open up new opportunities. Just remember: creativity only happens in the midst of failures. (Think: Edison and his hundreds of attempts at light bulbs).
9. Dust off that business plan and revisit it. If it seems irrelevant, you’re not pulling it off the shelf often enough and you’re letting the business lead you where it wants to go. Take control and work with the plan. If the plan is outdated, update it.