Managing a small business is tough work. You’re in charge of all the details, from sales to marketing to hiring to firing to leasing to inventory. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re keeping tabs on a million different details. The good news is that there are ways to simplify and make small business management easier.
1. Automate Your Operation
The adage is true – time is money. It’s especially true when you’re running a small business and you have a limited amount of time to deal with all the day-to-day operations.
You can make every minute count by taking advantage of automation to increase your efficiency. You can use apps and programs to record timesheets, track your inventory, manage your money, and more. Productivity apps can automate your to-do list, making it easier to keep track of urgent tasks and plan out your busy days. There are tons of apps and programs designed with small business management in mind, so you can choose the ones that are right for your operation. Keeping track of all of the information that makes your business run by hand takes forever, but automation makes it quick and easy and frees up your time for the tasks that need a human touch.
Some of this automation costs money up front, so you’ll need to weight the cost against the amount of time you expect to save down the line. Other types of automation, such as setting up automatic bill pay through your bank, are free.
2. Keep Up With The Technology Your Customers Expect
These days, customers and clients expect all businesses to embrace current technology to make their consumer experience better, faster, and cheaper. We all carry smartphones and we expect to be able to connect with the businesses we love online and in apps.
Part of small business management is making sure your brand appeals to your customers. That means keeping up a high-quality website and offering the same level of technology as your competitors in order to keep your customers happy. For example, say you’re running a salon. Consider setting up your website so that customers can make appointments online – they’re happy with the convenience and your appointment book fills itself up. One easy way to manage this aspect is to talk to your customers – ask them if you’re meeting their needs and if there’s anything else they’d like to see from your business.
You’ll also need to keep track of the technology developments within your industry. Are there new developments that will help you take better care of your customers? If you’re running a yoga studio, for example, you may want to offer your customers heartrate monitors while they work out so they can better track their fitness.
3. Delegate Tasks
Small business management isn’t just about you and the business – it’s also about managing your employees effectively. This is your business and you may feel reluctant to let other people take over running nay part of it, but knowing when to delegate can save you time and headaches.
If you have regular employees, you can train them to do things your way until they’re ready to take responsibility for parts of the business. If not, it may be worthwhile to hire a freelancer or contract worker for projects that require time, labor, or expertise that you don’t have. Building a website is a great example – it may be easier to hire someone experienced than to figure it out on your own.
4. Never Forget Your Budget
A budget is a necessary tool to laying out projected expenses, preparing for those inevitable rainy days, and staying on track of your financial health. No matter how busy things get day-to-day, you’ll always need to be mindful of your business’s financial status to make sure you’re in a safe and stable position.
Remember that your budget is a dynamic document. As your business needs grow and change, you’ll want to reevaluate your budget and make any necessary adjustments. Experts recommend a monthly review of all your budgetary costs and expenses to stay on track.
5. Manage Your Inventory
When you’re selling a product, part of your managerial role will be managing your inventory. You’ll want to find a good system to manage your inventory, track what sells, and, if necessary, track your shipping. This is one place where you can take advantage of automation to track your inventory uses and needs.
You also have to manage your inventory if you’re providing services – you have a finite amount of manpower and supplies to work with and you’ll need to make sure that you have enough of both at the right times to keep your customers satisfied.
6. Set Concrete Goals
Much of small business management is focused on day-to-day tasks – making sure you have the right inventory, keeping your customers happy, minding your finances, and more. However, be careful not to let that daily grind overshadow your long-term goals for growth.
The best way to keep an eye on the big picture is to set concrete, quantifiable goals and check in regularly to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction. Your goals may reflect a certain number of customers served, a certain number of products sold, or some other measure of success. Perhaps you want to expand to a second location – that’s another goal that you can track.
Write your goals down and revisit them regularly to keep your business moving in the right direction.
Small business management involves wearing many hats and keeping your focus on many different tasks. These tips and tricks can help you stay focused on the most important aspects of your business and keep you on the road to success.