Today it is more important than ever for small businesses to have effective management if they are to remain profitable and compete with larger companies in the same market. The good news is there’s plenty of information out there and you can learn a lot for free just by spending some time with Google.
It’s easy to get caught up in the “I don’t have time for that” mentality of small business. Going out, securing business and then serving that contract are key to any business survival and I wouldn’t ask those activities to be deprioritized. However, and this is a big however, small businesses need to work smarter not just harder. Inefficiency can kill a company just as quick as having no clients. The art in management comes from knowing when you have enough and when you have too much.
If you’re at the business plan stage and haven’t started trading yet then this a great time to look at how you’ll manage your company. Goal setting, staff feedback, reporting and client management are a few topics you should really allocate some time to understanding and planning your management of. A management system can, and should, always grow with the company and adapt to it’s changing needs.
Communication is an often-overlooked area, but a company needs to invest some time in how it communicates within itself and to other parties. Overly formal or casual emails between staff or staff and clients can undermine all your efforts to have a professional company. Lack of structure in frequency and content of emails, reports or reviews can lead to loss of information, delays and incorrect work being done. None of these you can afford.
My last point is about managing your time. It’s really easy to feel like every hour you are with a client, or in your office, that you’re contributing to the company and therefore making money. This isn’t the case. Guard your time like the valuable commodity it is. Set your hourly rate the same as you would for any employee. This will allow you to monitor how much money you’re spending bringing in, managing or servicing a client. You’ll be surprised when you see how much some of these activities actually cost. Control your staff and your time effectively and the money will control itself.
These are all general pointers, and not meant to be too specific to every business. My aim is to make you think about time management and what place it has in your business. There’s always room for a little management just make sure it doesn’t become constrictive and burdensome. Good time management should make things easier and allow your company to grow.
– Andrew, Programs Manager