The careful blend of the two hats a small business person wears is a requirement for survival and growth. One hat sees you running a business, making sure that there is enough income to keep going and at the same time, concentrating on marketing to continue your growth. Many clients want to concentrate on generating income as their first effort, when they ask for my assistance. Cash flow and organization are the two main factors that prompt a small business owner to engage a coach/business consultant.
The second hat that must be worn is that of a trusted provider of goods and services where the wellbeing of the customer is in first place. The juggling of these two hats may result in neither of them being “properly worn”.
First and foremost, every business owner needs to chart a course for the future. The foundation for this is the creation of a Value Based Strategic Focus Plan which includes both marketing and organizational aspects. Sometimes an owner may focus so hard on taking care of the customer end of the business that the internal operations such as accounting, office procedures, etc. are neglected. This foundation should be built when the business starts and reviewed on an ongoing basis. Don’t wait until there is a problem. The best time to strengthen the foundation is “when things are going well”.
The following is a suggested framework for managing your business:
- Staff: Even if you are the only staff person, the efficiency with which the staff accomplishes daily work should be detailed accurately and efficiently. This includes having standard working hours for everyone.
- Operations: This includes the systems and procedures that are set up in the business. This portion includes such things as accounting, other necessary record keeping, documentations, inventory control and all other aspects of running a successful business. Technology should be embraced to make work easier and more efficient. This section should also include how customers are handled, from the first call or meeting to ongoing relations.
- Marketing: As I have so often mentioned, marketing is an ongoing process and should be organized (targeted) and be part of the daily work schedule. There should never be a time in the life of a business that marketing is not an ongoing process.
- Management: We are creatures of habit and, unless we establish a management routine, it becomes a neglected item. This is the part where you work “on your business, not in your business”. Work with your coach to have an ongoing review of your entire operation; a major business plan review every six months, and monthly mini-reviews.
This type of organizational plan may be the most “boring”, yet it is the most essential for future success. Don’t procrastinate, do it now.
Successful people make the major decisions in their business life early and manage them daily.
Make it a successful today!