These 10 tips will inspire you to look at your business from several perspectives. It will be a thought-provoking experience with the intention of improving your business management strategy. As you read, you’ll have ah-ha moments. Don’t let the ideas get away from you. Write them down. Once you’re in the full report, you may request a PDF for printing here.
- Do you have a clear and *measurable* business plan with your goals and objectives in a well-outlined, written format? If your business ideas are vague and/or not in writing (paper or electronic) the steps you need to take will be unclear and you’ll waste valuable time and resources. This process may seem daunting but it’s really very simple for most business owners. If your overhead costs are low, it can be a very simple business plan of just a couple of pages. In the event you’re looking for venture capital or a small business startup loan, your business plan will need to be more indepth. If your goals are not “measurable” with dates, numbers, and achievements, you will lose momentum. Even small accomplishments can propel you to the next one and keep you moving forward.
- If all of your team members were asked to share the company vision, mission, and business strategy, do you think their answer would match yours? If not, how do you think you could improve this? The ability to effectively communicate your vision, mission, and business strategy, is often an overlooked part of business plans. Is your team inconsistent in producing the results necessary to take your business strategy forward? If not, perhaps it’s because they don’t understand how their role impacts your vision, mission, and business strategy. If your team *is* producing results conducive to the company vision, mission, and business strategy, how are you rewarding them? If your answer is, “they get a paycheck,” the morale of your team will not sustain forward-moving results. Disenchanted associates breeds discourse and drama which leads to time and money-draining distractions. Your team deserves a paycheck. After all, it’s your dream and vision they’re fulfilling with their hard work. When you provide rewards to the team, your dream matters more to them because you’re demonstrating they matter to you. I.E., verbal validation of a job well done, hand-written thank you note, paid time off, lunch with the boss, cash bonus, etc.
- What have you done in the past 3 days to move your company’s goals forward? BE HONEST. Most business owners waste vast amounts of time putting out fires, or doing administrative minutia, instead of actions that move the needle of the company forward. The soft costs of spinning your wheels on stuff that isn’t productive, or which does not contribute to your bottom line, has a very real impact on your profitability. Just because you’re an over-achiever doesn’t mean you’re moving the company forward. If you don’t know when or how to say no to distractions, or to work that isn’t really in your role or responsibilities, you are likely experiencing a false sense of accomplishment. Be vigilant to protect your time, steer clear of distractions, and delegate the minutia.
- How consistent is your daily planning? Lack of consistent, forward moving action is one of the reasons businesses fail. If you don’t begin EVERY day with a clear, written (and calendared) list of action steps, or you have not developed a tool or system to record your daily plans, your business won’t move forward in a consistent, efficient, effective manner. Once you have a list, prioritize it by first focusing on the people-related items first. Who are you waiting on? Reach out and remind them you’re still waiting. Keep your contact short and to the point. Who do you need to contact to move your plan forward? Do you need to ask for help? Do it first thing. Then move on to the rest of your list as the day progresses.
- What kind of distractions do you experience that prevent you from doing productive work vs busy work? Do you have boundaries around your time? Do you check email all day long, or do you have set times? Do you answer every phone call, or do you use voicemail to effectively manage your phone time? Do you close the door to prevent interruptions so you can focus on your work? Are tasks on your to-do list that would add time to your day if delegated to someone? Oftentimes business owners are afraid to put boundaries around their time for fear they’ll lose business. However, the opposite actually happens. By taking the necessary steps to ensure good time allocation, you get more done and are better equipped to meet your deliverables.
- What do you think is the number one issue standing in the way of improving your company’s overall operations? There is likely to be more than one so if you’re scratching your head instead of writing down ideas, ask for help. I.E. Do you miss the mark in consistent follow up? Are you regularly invoicing clients? Is your website accurate and up-to-date? Do you have ongoing marketing efforts? Are the same people falling down on meeting your expectations causing you to revise your to-do list to make up for the slack? Do you have dedicated time blocked off on your calendar on a daily (or regular) basis for working on your business?
- Are procedures/policies/processes getting in the way of doing your best work? If so, which ones and how would you change them? Have you asked your team this question lately – and then actually listened to their feedback? Business operations without flexibility is like driving a car with the emergency brake on. The resistance will slow you down. To excel in business, we must be flexible. But do not mistake flexibility with inconsistency. As you evaluate your procedures, policies, and processes, are they reactionary vs proactive? Are you caught up in the controlling (or perfectionist) mindset of, “you have to handle things to get it done right?” Do you tie the hands of those supporting you by micro-managing him/her and deflate their sense of ownership of their work? Have you described yourself as, “the jack of all trades, but the master of none?” Does every day seem filled with chaos and crisis? If so, it’s important to evaluate each situation to find the business management adjustments necessary to improve the efficiency and flow of your business operations.
- Are you aware of changes or trends in your industry — including customers and competitors — and are they addressed in your business operations? If you don’t have your finger on the pulse of your industry, you will miss opportunities to set your business apart from the competition. What are you doing to stay on top of industry trends and differentiate your business from the competition? This is an area ideal for delegation. If you don’t have someone researching your competitor so you can review it when you’re in strategy-mode, you will leave money on the table by losing business or failing to get new business by being too vanilla.
- Do you believe customers are receiving extraordinary value from your products/services? I promise you, if you’re not over delivering, you will not have loyal customers. In fact, your competitor will likely steal your customers. In what way(s) can you give your customers more? Evaluate your products and services and then choose the applicable one(s) and create a modified version and give it away for FREE. If you fear giving more, it will cost you in slow growth and lost revenue.
- What are you doing to stay in front of your customers and potential customers? If you see marketing to your audience as an imposition, or you’re afraid to take the necessary steps to keep your business in front of them, you are committing business suicide. And I’ve watched many businesses die a long, slow, painful death. Businesses compete for newspaper, print, TV, and Internet ad space. Nightly, we’re bombarded with the same commercial over and over in the timespan of the TV show. When we open our favorite magazine, we sift through advertisements to get to the reason we bought the magazine. The next thing you know; we’re buying those products. Why? REPETITION WINS!We live a digital, media-driven world and if your marketing and relationship building efforts are not repetitive – YOU WILL BE INVISBILE – and your business will NOT grow. Your competitor will take your customers and potential customers, if you aren’t creating a bold, deliberate, methodical, repetitive, digital media presence.
Now that you’ve written down some ideas, what changes would you make based on the answers to the 10 questions above? Create actionable steps from your notes. Connect with someone who can help. Give thought to how will you implement the changes? A strong business management strategy is an important piece to thrive, instead of just survive in today’s competitive market.
Thank you for reading, 10 Tips for Better Business Management. If you’d like to receive more in-depth support for any area of your business, please contact me at your convenience.
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