As a small business owner, you know the valuable time and effort it takes to build a successful business. According to a recent study, it’s becoming increasingly clear that small business owner’s time and effort has paid off. Per a recent Forbes article, businesses with less than $5 million in revenue had an average annual sales growth of 7.8% in 2015!
As a small business owners, you may be wondering how to take your business to the next level. While you should take the time to appreciate your well-deserved success, improvement and innovation are always in the back of your mind to ensure that your business continues to move forward.
We’re here to help. In this post, we’ll walk through the top ways to manage every aspect of your small business to make sure that you are not only growing, but also thriving.
Managing Business Systems
Even the smallest amounts of growth in your business—such as adding an employee or taking on a new client—can change the course of your bottom line. It’s important to create the framework in which growth can take place and in which your business can succeed. Follow these steps to manage your business’s growth correctly:
- Prepare: Successful business growth requires preparation, from an understanding of trends to a knowledge of the risks associated with new opportunities. Per the NSBA, 27% of businesses couldn’t get enough funding to fuel growth in 2015. Another way you can prepare for growth is to line up funding in advance.
- Measure the bottom line: Don’t let your grand vision drain your resources. For example, hiring new employees requires an extraordinary upfront cost. Another place to keep your eye on the ball is cash flow management. 82% of businesses fail because of cash flow problems, per U.S. Bank.
- Organize: Growing businesses require growing management systems. With new tasks and new employees comes the need for more in-depth documentation, well thought-out policies and procedures and legal systems such as contracts, terms and conditions.
- Embrace change: Ask yourself if you’re ready for the changes that growth creates. New ideas, clients, customers or inventory can change the face of your business. Successful growth comes from a willingness to change.
Successful business owners cultivate and maintain strong teams, even amid rapid change. Make sure you don’t forget about your current employees while expanding your team.
It’s important to make sure that your employees are engaged and satisfied with their jobs. Various studies have found that employees who are satisfied are also more committed, productive and likely to stay with your company. These same studies found that satisfaction is not linked solely to compensation. By making relatively small and inexpensive adjustments, you can have a long-term impact on your employees’ happiness.
Below are a few critical ways to keep your employees happy in a growth environment:
Provide Open Communication. Small businesses have fewer employees, so the engagement of every member is crucial to the team’s success. Keep open communication with everyone who works for you to automatically help boost your employee satisfaction. Make sure to show the respect you have for all your employees.
Allow Flexibility in Schedules. One of the most important job aspects for employees is control. Even partial control of schedules or the work environment can help boost morale. For example, offering your more senior employees the opportunity to create their own schedule one week of the month, could go a long way.
Encourage Social Connections. Though it might sound counterintuitive, socializing between employees can boost engagement and productivity. If you enjoy the company of your coworkers, you’re likely to be more productive throughout the day. There are a variety of ways that you can encourage socializing between your employees. For example, you can provide a special treat on a certain day of the week that employees can enjoy together, such as “Pizza Fridays”. You could also throw celebrations for birthdays or office anniversaries.
Promote Training and Development Opportunities. Acknowledge your employees’ accomplishments and provide development opportunities. These can be crucial factors in determining employee satisfaction, especially among younger employees. Training and development doesn’t have to cost a lot. Try starting an employee book club to discuss management, leadership or other important development topics.
Managing Your Busy Schedule
Delegation, though a challenge for many small business owners, is crucial to successful company growth. As you grow, identify areas where you can step away. This can help you see the bigger picture for your business.
It is also helpful to use technology to organize tasks. Many scheduling and productivity tools make it much easier for business owners to stay on schedule and make the most of their time. One great example of this type of tool is Wunderlist. You can access the app across all major devices, and it allows you to organize all your to-do lists, set due dates and reminders, and collaborate with colleagues.
In the small business world, growing your business requires the proper processes and resources to support it. If you take advantage of these steps to better manage your business processes, employees, and schedule, you will ensure that your business moves in the right direction.