As a small business owner, it’s obvious that you will be thinking of ways to improve your business in 2016. This is in-spite of the current uncertainty in the economy (e.g. on oil price, FX restriction etc), this year should be one of taking concrete steps to take your business to greater heights.
So here are 5 things that you definitely should be doing to get the best out of it:
• Take care of your health
Yes, business (and profits) matters but nothing comes close to having a good health! As a business owner your health is critical for the life of your business, more so if no one knows or understands the business the way you do. You can take care of yourself by doing the simple things; watch what eat (it is often said “we are what we eat”), try getting some exercise, sleeping minimum 6/7 hrs, cut down on drinking & smoking etc.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
The reality is that as the owner of a company, the bulk stops right at your desk. This means there’s a lot depending on you to be at your very best. You are the brain of the business so it is a no-brainier that the brain needs to be in good health, pun not intended.
• Get Organised – Tools, Policies and Procedures
It’s 2016 and time for you to stop using the old paper or ‘all in my head system’! For example, you could use PrognoStore which is a point-of-sale and inventory software to run you store. ProWork to ensure team collaboration on projects is easy and seamless. Xero for all your bookkeeping and accounting needs etc. There’s absolutely no excuse to be inefficient and lose out on profit when there are loads of good tools that will make you and your business more efficient.
Think policies, document your processes and of course train your staff. The following are some of the advantages of getting all these done;
1. Produces clarity of required steps – everyone knows how things are done without asking.
2. Helps with performance measurements – you know what you are doing and how the business is performing.
3. Provides process consistency – tasks are performed in a consistent manner that removes ambiguities.
4. Becomes a training tool – new joiners can be easily trained since you have documented processes and policies
5. Lays the foundation for process improvement – you can improve your processes when they are documented since you get to see the bottlenecks in the processes. Pain points are easily identified.
• Keep your employees happy
Employees are the greatest asset of any organisation. This is because research shows happiness of employees leads to increased productivity. So what should you do? Train, reward appropriately (appreciation and thanks also matter) and more importantly, give them motivating tasks. How often do you perform job rotation? Some employees thrive better when they perform different tasks while others are content to perform only one task. It is imperative therefore to carry out employee survey to identify the strengths and weaknesses of employees.
• Focus on your finance
Ok so this one is a bit of a no brainer! It’s not just about making sales but ensuring that you’re actually turning a profit. While this might sound obvious, focusing on finance too late is one of the top regrets owners have – don’t be that person this year. There are several tools that can help you do this. Xero mentioned above is a very good tool for small business owners to ensure they can monitored the financial health of their business. Business is not just about generating revenue but also to generate the right amount of profit given the underlying operational costs or business expenses.
• Give your customers more
Customer is king. We all know this and now is the time to really put this in practice. Why is this important? It’s easier to keep your customers happy than attract new ones. A happy customer is a customer you can keep. You need to ensure your employees are properly trained so they can provide adequate customer support thus ensuring your customers are kept happy.
Also, you need to make sure you keep a record of your customers with emphasis on your VIPs. You can also do this by using a CRM tool. Remember it’s all about being organised.
Now it’s your turn.
Do you agree with above? Let me know what your thoughts. Until then, may your year be filled only with the best things (did I hear you say Amen?).
Article by Ade Olabode