Guest post by Paul Bolton
You spend a lot of time managing the financial end of your business, and even more time marketing it. If you’ve experienced success, raising additional funds and expanding may both be high on your list, as well. However, what about running daily operations? In the midst of all of these endeavors it’s easy to lose sight of the nuts and bolts of your business, which are absolutely critical. Here’s a list of five tips which can help you run your small business more effectively starting today.
1. Lead With Authority, Not Arrogance. Being a powerful leader at your small business is important, but there’s a difference between doing so with authority and with arrogance. Make swift and confident decisions, but only after taking all sides into consideration. If you know you have a difficult decision coming up, don’t shy away from it. Use your best judgment, make the decision, and let the chips fall where they may. If it turns out to be a bad one, fess up and admit your mistake. Your team is going to respect you for it. And remember, it’s possible to display leadership while helping out at the same time. This small measure won’t go unnoticed.
2. Be Timely With Everything. You expect your team to be on time for their shifts and to complete their projects in a timely fashion as well. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so be sure you do the same. Post employee schedules well before the work week starts, arrive early for your own shifts, and stay on top of things such as employee reviews, budget forecasts, and sales projections. Your team expects you to live by your own words, even if you don’t necessarily have to.
3. Swiftly Quash Employee Squabbles. Employee conflicts can kill staff morale and may even affect customer service. Keep a keen eye out for any problems, and when one pops up rid your business of it quickly. Schedule and moderate a meeting. Let both sides air their disagreements and come up with a joint solution. Or, simply demand that employees keep squabbles out of the workplace and argue on their own time. When they’re on the clock, you expect your employees to cooperate. Monitor situations going forward so you know they’re in the rearview mirror for good.
4. Foster a Stellar Working Environment. A positive working environment can take many forms. Having fun is great, as long as business objectives are being met. Scheduling team building events during off hours can be effective if your staff buys into them. Encourage collaborative projects where you direct your team members to work with other employees, rather than helping them out solely by yourself. Teamwork is key and it’s part of your job to foster it.
5. Expect Top-Notch Customer Service. There is no excuse for anything less than top-notch customer service. Although small businesses are prevalent in our economic landscape, many entrepreneurs have yet to get this right. Conduct meetings and training sessions on what stellar customer service is and how it can be achieved, and be sure you practice what you preach when you interact with patrons. Taking better care of your clients than the competition is a fantastic way to run and eventually grow your small business.
Conclusion. If you’re in the middle of a growth initiative or considering one, proceed with caution. The first thing that could get lost in the shuffle is your customer service quality, and business can suffer if that falls by the wayside. If you end up overwhelming your staff, turnover may start to tick up. Forget about your regular customers and your base could deteriorate as well. There are simply too many negatives associated with an overly aggressive small business growth strategy, and undertaking one without the right amount of caution could make your ability to see to day-to-day operations impossible. Focus on running your business and if you think expansion is prudent, proceed modestly. There are plenty of profits out there waiting to be made and there’s no sense in rushing to get your hands on them. What tips do you have for running an effective small business?
Paul Bolton is a business owner in Atlanta who shares his advice for managing finances, time, and personal development.