As owners, we can all agree that it’s not easy running a business.
You are responsible for everything! From making sure you have goods to sell, customers to keep happy, employees to pay, suppliers to keep honest, and the list goes on and on. In short, you’re responsible for everything that ensures that the lights are on.
Over the last year, while building PrognoStore which is a Point-of-Sale software for small business, I’ve spent a fair bit of time with owners, just like you. Partially researching, sometimes advising but always observing. Of course I learnt a lot. So these are the results of my observations which represent the most common challenges/questions/issues faced by the small business owners.They represent the 4 things which should be on your New Year Resolution:
- Seek the right tools to run your business
It doesn’t matter what type of business you run, you need the right tools. If you run a clinic in Ikeja or own a boutique in Victoria Island or a store in Alaba, without the right tools, everything becomes a struggle, productivity drops and more importantly, you make less profit.
What should you do? Review your current processes and for any task which is manual, critical or time consuming, there’s likely a tool that can do that more effectively and efficiently. Take for instance, if you’re the boutique owner based in Victoria Island, instead of telling your employees to take orders with pen and paper, you could use a point-of-sale software (like PrognoStore), which helps you sell, know what’s left in stock, keep tabs on your best customers, and even notifies you when you’re running out of stock!
- Treat your employees as a valuable key stakeholder
Now a lot of us are probably guilty of this. I’m referring to the pervasive attitude that employees are just ‘necessary evils‘ to be tolerated. You don’t know what I’m talking about? Well this hilarious but true post aptly captures how Nigerians like you and I treat our employees. Shouting at them, regarding overtime as a God-given right or being out rightly mean and rude etc is not the way to treat your employees.
So what should you do? Start with giving them the right tools and training, pay fair wages, create an environment suitable for work and more importantly, make it clear why their work matters. Employees want to know they are involved in meaningful work.
According to the Gallop-Healthways Wellbeing Index, which has an annual survey of employee’s level of job satisfaction, it reports that the single most important way to engage workers is to enable them to make progress in worthwhile work. Not money (salary/wages) but worthwhile work. They found that organizations that do this successfully have 3.9 times the earning per share growth compared to organisations with lesser engagement in the same industry.
That’s why it’s important to take care of your workers, it drives greater productivity and invariably, greater profitability. It makes business sense.
- Make planning a priority
It’s amazing how many business owners don’t see the importance of having a formal plan, especially when important projects or deadlines are in sight. A plan gives you a greater chance of success because as we all know ‘he, who fails to plan, plans to fail’.
What should you do? For any major undertaking, simply sit down with a piece of paper and do the following:
- List out the broad goals or objectives for the specific task or project.
- Create specific goals with specific dates to achieve them by.
- Access where you are right now in terms of achieving the objective.
- Determine and write out the steps you will need to achieve them
- Revisit your plan and adjust it if needed.
The key takeaway is that you feel more empowered when you have a clear understanding of what you’re hoping to achieve and what it takes to do so. That’s the advantage a plan gives you.
Take your health seriously
The last but certainly not the least important! Health is indeed wealth, and there’s no business profit or glory that is worth your good health. I’ve seen business owners treat their health as this thing which will complete. Don’t be that person.
So what should you do? Rest well, eat well and in moderation, stay physically active, cut back on harmful habits and firmly decide to dedicate quality time to look after you. The success of your business depends on you functioning at your 100% best.
So folks, do you agree with these pointers for New Year resolutions? Let me know your thoughts.
Ade Olabode is an adviser to small business owners. He’s the co-founder & CEO of PrognoStore (www.prognostore.com), the Point-of-Sale Software for small businesses. PrognoStore is a 3-in-1 solution as it combines point-of-Sale, Inventory and Analytics to be all you need to run your store. He’s a chartered accountant and has previously worked at Deloitte, Credit Suisse and co-founded HGE Capital. Follow on Twitter @papaolabode