How many hats do you wear? Sales, marketer, boss, employee, manager, accountant, customer service, production, and operations – ok you get the idea.
With a lot of hats comes a lot of information; too much in fact. And because of that, you end up focusing on everything and not spending enough time on the things that are critical to your business and your success.
So as a small business owner (less than 100 employees), here are the top five things we recommend you should be focused on to make sure you’re not overwhelmed, but still on top of things:
- Employee engagement
- Professional development
You don’t need to get your CA, but you should have a strong understanding of what we call your “big 5 numbers”.
- Cash flow
Get yourself a solid bookkeeper and an accountant. Make sure you meet with them on a regular basis (bookkeeper weekly, accountant monthly/quarterly) depending on the size of your company.
Learn about your numbers, the ebbs and flows of your business and how to manage your dollars.
A disengaged employee can cause havoc in your business.
Typically employees feel disengaged because they don’t feel appreciated and recognized for their contributions. So here are some things you can do to help engage your people.
- Regular meetings with all staff to keep them informed of what’s going on in the business and to allow them to contribute ideas – we recommend at least monthly
- Publicly recognizing you staff when they go above and beyond what you expected
- Group outings – every once in a while organize something fun outside of work to do together, from bowling to line dancing lessons, it builds a feeling of team
- Develop a culture that embraces effort, initiative, taking educated risks and counting on each other
Engaged employees can achieve far more in less time with less resources. So while the investment may seem like it will take a lot of work and effort, it is completely worth it.
Let’s face it, without customers you don’t have a business you have a hobby.
You’re number two goal right behind taking care of your people is taking care of your customers. Yes you read that right, your number two goal.
The way you treat and care for your employees is how they will ultimately care and treat your customers. The better your team is trained, organized and engaged, the better prepared they are to service your customers and make their experience unforgettable.
At every opportunity you have, talk with your customers. If you run a retail location, spend time learning their likes, dislikes, body language while they shop and how your people engage with them on the retail floor.
If you run a manufacturing business or have a direct sales force, make sure you take the time to physically visit your customers at least annually and call them on a regular basis.
Believe it or not, many small businesses take this for granted, especially if they’re in a service business. But quality is more than just a good product/service it’s about delivering a consistent and memorable experience every time.
With the global economy, anyone can sell almost anything anywhere. So the chances that your competitors have a quality product are pretty good. The challenge comes over time of pairing that great product with an equally great experience. Your customers are looking for the total package and that’s your opportunity.
While you’re focused on the right things within your business and hopefully delegating or outsourcing the other things, you still need to stay focused on getting better as an owner/operator of your business. The day you know everything and can't learn anymore you should retire.
We recommend to all of our clients that they focus on one new skill each quarter that they want to improve. It can be anything from learning a new technology, to leadership, to public speaking to sales. The point is to never stop learning and to always strive to get better.
Because we know you’re an entrepreneur, you won’t stop wearing all of your hats, because after all it’s your business, we hope you’ll be better focused on the things that matter most. Take time every week to look at these critical aspects of your business and you'll be able to maintain solid growth.