Being a small business owner comes with challenges unique to the size and function of the business. The small business owner has to handle all the challenges of selling, delivering, financing, managing and growing the business with little or no staff, while trying to make it a success. The most important of all is to retain the interest of all stakeholders like customers, vendors and team to build momentum in a short span of time. A few tips on how to run a small business can make these challenges easier to handle. However, running a small business can be hugely rewarding both personally and financially.
Here are tips that will help to ensure your business is a success:
1. Have a written plan. Without a plan, it is merely a dream. It doesn’t have to be a book, but you need a few pages outlining specific objectives, strategies, financing, a sales and marketing plan, and a determination of the cash you need to get things done. Writing it all down is a crucial first step.
2. Don’t marry your plan. Every great military general in history has known that even the best-laid plan sometimes has to be thrown in the fire when the bullets start flying. Adjust, confront and conquer.
3. Keep your ego in check and listen to others. Advisors are crucial because you need people to bounce ideas off, inspect what you’re doing, and push you to greater accomplishments, holding you accountable for what you are committing to do. Always be good to your word and follow through on commitments, even when difficult and challenging. This isn’t about you; it’s about the business. Don’t take things personally and stay out of emotion. Do not let your ego take control.
4. Keep track of everything, and manage by the numbers. Create written systems for everything, because you will reap benefits from them later on. This is how you train your employees and retain consistency. Know your numbers and check them daily and make all decisions based on what they tell you. One of the most important calculations is cash flow pro forma. Determine how much cash you need to do the business, and do not start without the required cash on hand.
5. Delegate to employees and avoid micromanaging them. A manager’s job is to delegate and then inspect progress. So don’t be a control freak. Keep business organization flat. If you delegate effectively, you will get more and better than you expect. Have an actual written training and orientation plan so your employees know what is required of them. Use an incentive-based rewards system, and maintain a no-problem attitude about issues that crop up.
6. Use the Internet. It is incredibly powerful and very cost efficient, but it takes time and some skill. It is about creating a community, using social media networking such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogging to build rapport with your market. You need to get on the train and do it, because your competitors are. Sites like OLX can be a good network for selling your products. Be professional by starting to interact on LindeIn with other professionals. In the long run, you will have a huge market growth.
7. Reinvent your business. It is net profit, not gross revenue that you want to focus on. Separate yourself from your history and create a new competitive advantage, be it a focused niche or super service, but not by discounting.
8. Make your bank work for you. Run your small business with financial efficiency by exploring all the options that banks offer small business owners and choosing the right bank for your business’ financial plan. Many financial institutions offer accounts with low fees, loans with discounted rates or free direct deposit programs for small business account holders. Banking with the institution that gives you the best deals will help you stretch every shilling.
9. Network as much as possible. Gain the support of other local small businesses by networking with other small business owners. Join small business associations and participate in community events to raise awareness of your business. Participate in community functions so potential clients will be aware of the services you offer.
Above all, have fun. Being an entrepreneur is your choice, so make it work. It can be done. You can survive, emerge and succeed in this downsized economy, if you follow the right path.
The following is an edited excerpt from Successfully Navigating the Downturn by Donald Todrin from Entrepreneur Press.
Originally posted 2015-05-10 20:50:06.