If you’ve ever managed a small business, you know that in business management getting good advice means a lot, and utilizing the experience of your successful fellows will help you succeed in your business. Over the years of running a small company, entrepreneurs eventually learn a lot about how to expand and operate a business more efficiently.
Fortunately, some of these entrepreneurs are more than willing to share their experiences. Here are seven good business tips from a range of active small business owners which could help you in managing your small business:
Establish a Support Network
Being a company owner could be an isolating experience at moments for Laura Kelly. “You might lose contact with other business owners, particularly if you’re a single entrepreneur,” explains Kelly, who founded The Handwork Studio 15 years ago, a Narberth, Pennsylvania-based business that runs needlework camps and lessons for children all along East Coast in ten states.
Kelly’s primary approach has been to remain networked in the wider business environment. That means attending her personal business mentor for around an hour every month. The mentor helped her discover solutions to the challenges and to function on difficult business decisions. She’s also networking on Linkedin and Facebook from the comfort of her own house.
“She has been walking me through those imagination practices,” Kelly says. “Just the easy exercise of separating myself from the company and looking down on it really allowed me to see the challenges that were worrying me. In an hour, I stepped away with clarification and a concrete plan to move forward.
And then there’s the genius group that Kelly belongs to. She and her fellow service company owners get acquainted over a phone line. “We talk about solutions to problems, and we talk to each other off the ledge.”
As a busy company owner, it’s hard to find time to network, but being good at networking and making communication will pay off in the future.
Be very precise with your objectives
Kelly discovered another thing over the years: to break the major goals into the smaller ones. “I have 10-year targets, I have 3-year targets and 1-year targets, and I have quarterly targets for my company,” she says. “When it comes to sales, I’m trying to split them down into smaller numbers so they’re simpler to collect. If I know I need to make a few hundred thousand sales in the first year, I say, ‘What does that imply in terms of camp sales? How many campers would I need to collect? ‘If I realize I require 800 campers to meet the sales goal, then it’s easier to find out how to do it. These sorts of realistic targets will guide your actions.
Each of staff at The Handwork Studio does have a dashboard with their objectives, which displays their progress towards those objectives. It helps to keep people concentrated, Kelly adds: “I will tell you at every precise moment how much sales we have, how much traffic we have on our site as well as how many Facebook likes we have.”
Developing a performance-driven environment is all about being very clear about expectations – both yourself and your staff. If the employee is satisfied, they would be able to have the highest possible results and customer support.
Assign whenever possible
It was all just Gene Marks and his dad when the Marks Group, a tech consultancy business launched in 1994. “He did the selling and I did the service,” Marks remembers. His dad died later. “When he died, I took it up and found that I couldn’t handle it all, and I recruited some new people. I’ve found that you should make a lot of money because other individuals do it for you.
When he recruited more employees, it started to dawn on Marks that he was doing a job that he was really terrible at doing. Company profits increased as he hired more employees, and he recruited workers who were better off than him in those positions. “I just kind of found out the hard way: concentrate on what you’re doing best, and assign the rest.”
Keep the Overhead Low
It dawned on Marks 8 years ago that he was only stuck in an office costing about $30,000 per year in rent, whereas his workers were out meeting with consumers. So Marks managed to get rid of the Philadelphia suburban office and made his staff virtual. He swapped the land line phone with an Internet-based telephone along the way, which cost around $10 a month, and even left data servers for the cloud.
Reducing the overhead gave some comfort to Marks during the Great Recession. “If things turn grim, you don’t have to worry, so you can take a percentage in sales,” says Marks. “Even in the middle of the downturn, we’ve never lost revenue. Cutting down the top always brings you that mental peace. If the costs are low, you will make pricing choices that you would otherwise not be capable of making.
Find the right niche — and stick with it
Attempting to do a lot too soon? Do you feel like you ought to become all things to any and all clients? Diversifying could not always be the right option. Often, it’s nice to recreate the magic if you’ve got something which works very well. That was the popular plan for Ace Apparel, claims Marc Mathios, who, along with his two siblings, is the 3rd generation to operate a 78-year-old family company.
“One of the commercial silos we’re particularly fantastic at is parking garage operators,” says Mathios. “The reason why parking garage operators want to partner with us is that we produce our own jacket line, which is perfect for parking garage businesses. We’ve doubled the performance with 30 separate parking garage contractors throughout North America.
Discovering your niche and constantly innovating across this niche is a road to success.
Keep Your Day Job Just a Bit Longer
It’s a typical trap: a person is getting excited about a small business idea, resigns from his or her day job — and then goes bankrupt and fails.
Spanx founder Sara Blakely owes her performance to the fact that for two years she simply retained her day job as a sales representative of office supplies, preparing to work on little sleep as she took her form-fitting shapewear business off the ground. Blakely didn’t want to quit from her day job until she was completely confident that her little business plan was going to work, as per Forbes.
By the moment Blakely quit her office equipment provider Danka job in 2000, she had spent numerous weekends and nights researching pantyhose layout and current patents. She would travel from her home in Atlanta to North Carolina, where she had been searching for hosiery mills ready to produce the product.
There were days when I would spend the entire day at Danka and the semi-trucks would dump Spanx boxes outside my flat. … I quit my job on October 14th, 2000. I left Danka and around 20 days later I was at the Oprah Winfrey Show, “said Blakely.
Avoid Distractions at All Costs
A few years earlier, Seattle-based digital marketing firm AudienceBloom was running so weak that its co-founder and CEO, Jayson DeMers, felt he might get away with working on a second business that he was inspired by. DeMers would have later come to regret that decision.
“Running a business ‘just right’ isn’t what the role of an entrepreneur is,” DeMers says. “Good entrepreneurs do not do the minimum for their business; they are continuously working to expand it, improve it, and get it ready for the future. Since I divided my team between both of those two companies, the development slowed at my first startup, and I didn’t have the time to devote myself to a new startup to make it a success.
Ultimately, the second project collapsed. AudienceBloom were able to expand again as soon as DeMers was completely focused on it. “I have found that a good venture needs 100 per cent attention, focus and determination. Secondary projects need a full-time boss, or else they’re only going to distract you and destroy your current initiatives if you’re not careful.
Avoiding distractions relates to controlling yourself so that you still get work done on a regular basis. “I realize when I’m smart and when I’m dumb,” says Marks. “I reserve the major things for the morning when I’m smartest, and do the repetitive ones when I’m dumb at the end of each day.” Getting yourself focused and on-task is the secret to the success of small businesses.