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Running a business is a challenge in the best of times, and the last two years have been a struggle. Many businesses have closed and others have struggled to survive on a skeleton staff.
What can you do to position your small business for success, whether times are good or challenging? There are a number of processes to put in place that will help make your company more resilient.
Here are the tips you need to effectively manage your business and reach your goals!
Your business plan is your company’s north star. When things are going well, it’s the document that defines your goals and growth plan. When things get tough, it’s the business plan that helps you focus on what’s most important.
Of course, no business plan is perfect from day one. Updating it regularly is essential if you’re going to use it to succeed. Plan to review and adjust your plan at least once a year. You can revisit it more often in times of crisis or economic instability.
Having your business plan up-to-date doesn’t just help you and your employees work on the right priorities, it can also help you get funding if necessary. During difficult times, that can be an excellent asset.
One thing that often leads to a company’s downfall is when no one in leadership feels like they can disagree with the president, CEO, or owner of the business. When your meeting room is filled with people who simply say “Yes” to everything you propose, something is amiss.
You need people to challenge ideas and ask questions. Even if you stay with the original idea, it becomes much stronger due to the adjustments you make after testing it. Or, you might discover there are serious flaws and the path forward should be different.
If that’s hard for your team, consider designating one member of the leadership as the “agitator”, whose role is to challenge proposals and bring up possible problems. That person then won’t feel at-risk when they bring up questions, and other team members might feel empowered to test ideas more thoroughly as well.
Old management ideas have a way of hanging around long after they’ve ceased to be useful. That includes the concept that you have to keep a close eye on your team or they won’t work hard.
Today’s workforce has technology at their fingertips that previous generations could never imagine. They’re used to making their own decisions at lightning speed and communicating openly about projects. Don’t micromanage them and try to control every process.
Instead, as a manager, focus on listening, delegating, and measuring progress. You can still hold your staff accountable to specific performance metrics without looking over their shoulder every day. Let your employees know you expect them to collaborate and brainstorm ways to meet project goals and overcome challenges, and that you are available to support them when they need it.
An empowered team is an engaged, successful team!
Lack of communication kills more projects and derails more careers than any other factor in a business. When there isn’t communication, people assume. When people assume, they are often incorrect but go forward for weeks or months based on that false premise.
How can you develop good communication? Start by understanding how each of your team members wants to receive information. Some people prefer face-to-face interactions, while others want easy-to-scan emails. Perhaps a project tool can be a central location for documentation and questions about a specific initiative.
Then, make sure you focus on listening first. People need to be heard, and if you jump ahead or interrupt you might miss important information you need.
Finally, make sure communication doesn’t interrupt important work. Many companies pick a day of the week as “no email” or “no meeting” days so that employees can focus on finishing vital tasks.
Is business administration worth it? You’ll never know if your management practices are working unless you track your results. Tracking specific metrics that make sense for your small business will help you understand if you’re growing and help you catch problems early.
What should you look at? Here are some ideas:
When you’re aware of these numbers and how they’re trending, you can respond to problems quickly and make corrections before your business suffers significant losses.
Running a successful business is a major challenge, and it involves a lot of internal processes. However, you also need to make sure your customer-facing processes are going strong as well, especially your digital marketing.
If you’d like help optimizing your website and building your online presence, we’re here for you. Contact us today for a free consultation to discover what we can do!