The following are some basic but vitally important concepts you need to be on top of in managing your small business.
Create Or Have Created a Professional Business Plan
A Business Plan is something many small businesses only consider when they need to get funding however what many don’t realise is that funding is much more likely to come to the small business that has been well managed for an extended period of time and that starts with a professionally prepared business plan. This doesn’t have to be War & Peace and if you are looking for inspiration here is an article I wrote on How to Write A Business Plan.
Not every Small Business Owner however has the time to sit down and write this essential document. If you have 45 minutes to spare you may wish to outsource this task to our highly skilled Business Plan Writers.
Get Bookkeeping sorted
Develop a system where you or one of your staff members manages the bookkeeping process from processing of paperwork, be it invoices to clients or from suppliers/service providers through to reconciling this paperwork to your bank statement and finally entering into your bookkeeping software in preparation for your accountant.
Check out this article I wrote on Small Business Bookkeeping for further details.
Running out of cash is most probably the number one cause of small business failure, making cash flow management an imperative in Small Business Management.
You want to avoid the two extremes of bill paying to start with, being paying bills as soon as they come in or the other extreme of letting them gather on your desk (or bottom drawer if you really don’t want to deal with them!!) well past due date.
Find some smart ways to manage through the difficult periods where cash is tight. Try seeking extended terms with your suppliers. The Australian Tax Office in some circumstances allow you to initiate payment plans with them if you are struggling to pay your tax on time. Having said that ensure that you pay both yours and your staff’s superannuation obligations by the due date (usually the first month after the end of each quarter) as the ATO gives heavy penalties to late payers. On that note make sure your staff is paid on time as the last thing you want when cash flow is an issue is to have unhappy staff as after all they are going to be the ones who will help you get out of it. Some may be willing to take a pay cut or defer their salary as potentially the only alternative you have is to let them go.
For many of us, starting a small business is a labour of love, as it should be but that can sometimes lead to a desire to do everything yourself. This will never work in the long run and there are literally thousands of tasks that can be outsourced. Take time to think about the areas of your business you enjoy working on and look to outsource as much of everything else that you can.
Before outsourcing however make sure you have a clearly defined process for the task/s you wish carried out. If you are looking for some ideas check out this article I wrote on Businesss Process Outsourcing.
Dedicate a set time in the day for checking & responding to emails
One can often get caught up in the mountains of emails that we receive every day. Email was never a mode of communication that demanded instant response, we have phones for that!
A great time saver I have learnt is t have dedicated time through the day for checking and responding to emails. The rest of the day I am working on projects that will take my business to the next level. How often have you been working on an important task only to be sidetracked by an amusing, yet completely time-wasting email?
Another way to reduce the volume of email you receive is to unsubscribe to enewsletters & subscribe via RSS or through Social Media channels like Twitter or Facebook. This will allow you to read articles in your own time not when you need to be doing client work.
You will see productivity increase substantially if you can be disciplined in limiting the time you spend on email.
Mastering these 5 areas of Small Business Management will have you well on the way to success!
Got any other great ideas? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.