Image Credit: Advoco Inc

The Ultimate Guide to Excel Small Business Management

To manage a small and medium-sized business successfully, all of the aspects of that company are required to be covered, both the internal and external, from the personnel to the branding.
By Devon Vo | 27 min read
on August 1, 2019
Image Credit: Advoco Inc

There is a big difference between being an employee and self-employed. Turning your working life into a stack of time cards brings you the benefit of having one weekend each week. But when you are your own boss, you can barely find the time of ease, as running a business takes copious amounts of time and effort, especially in the forming phase of the establishment.  

To manage a small and medium-sized business successfully, all of the aspects of that company are required to be covered, both the internal and external, from the personnel to the branding. As can be seen, the amount of workload laying on the owners’ shoulders is enormous. Further, under some circumstances, this may lead to the stage of tiredness and degradation of willingness.

All That You Need To Know About Small Business Management - Fig 1
Image Credit: Advoco Inc

Understandably, keeping up with the entrepreneurial enthusiasm is not a piece of cake. It’s demanding in solving the SMBs problems, particularly, the management dilemma. Providing tips and advice from top entrepreneurs, I believe that this article is able to offer you a hand in effectively managing your SMB.

What is Small Business Management?

Before making any further steps, it’s essential to understand the fundamental ideas of this business management practice: What exactly is it?, Which type of management are there?, What do you need to understand?, Does it have any niches?, What need to be utilized in managing a business? and What should be taken into consideration?

What exactly is it?

First and foremost, management is commonly defined as the alignment and coordination of multiple activities in an organization. Business owners use management skills to accomplish the goals and objectives of their company. Small business management requires business owners to use a mix of education, knowledge, and expertise to run the company.

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Image Credit: Community Impact Newspaper

Which type of management are there?

It is recorded to be various types of management. However, in this article, I will only include six widely agreed-upon types of management styles commonly used in today’s business world. Each of these types will obviously have its own strengths and weaknesses, and as a manager, you can use more than one style at the same time, depending on the situation.

Autocratic

An autocratic manager makes decisions solely, with merely the need for the input of subordinates. This format results in faster decision making, as only preferences from one person, are taken. 

Nevertheless, this method of management is highly likely to ignore practical contribution from employees. 

In times of crisis where time is limited, use of autocratic management is permissible, but extended periods could lead to high turnover.

Consultative

Consultative management enhances the loyalty from employees included in decision-making processes. It can also lead to a dependency of the employees on the leader.

This type of management involves more discussion than the previous method but is essentially dictatorial. As it is named, a consultative manager consults his or her employees, but ultimately the leader makes the final decision. 

Persuasive

Akin to the two previous types of management, a persuasive manager maintains the final decision-making control. However, those decisions are made based on the persuasion of subordinates. 

This is a great option for managers who need input from experts but still can keep the final decision-making up to them.

Democratic

Within this form of management, employees are encouraged to be engaged in the decision-making process. To put it in a simpler way, all decisions are agreed upon by the majority.

This style works when complex decisions, those are expected to have a variety of outcomes must be made. Nevertheless, democracy does slow down the decision-making procedure and could be inefficient at certain times.

Laissez-faire

In contrary to the first three management styles, Laissez-faire allows employees to make the majority of decisions, with management providing guidance when needed. In this case, the manager is considered to be a mentor, rather than a leader.

This style of management is mostly used by start-ups as well as technology companies, where risk-taking is encouraged. However, it can lead to complexity in the process of making decisions. 

Management by walking around (MBWA)

MBWA is a classic technique which involves management by listening. By listening to the thoughts of employees, managers can gather the information that can stop problems at their source. In this method of management, the managers have become counselors, not directors.

In the end, when a good decision is produced, it will be well received and respected by all. In some occasions that employees do not support managers, there can be problems in MBWA management.

What do you need to understand?

As having been mentioned at the beginning of this article, starting and managing a business takes a great deal of business knowledge and experience. Below are 6 fundamental areas that you need to concern while involving in this demanding act.

People

Human Resources (HRs) are regarded as the company’s greatest asset. The way how they are led has a huge impact on the success of that company.

Key leadership and communication skills are necessary to be a successful leader and build a strong organization.

Operations

To manage a supply chain and making sure production meets demand under tight deadlines can be incredibly complex and is critical to business success.

To get control over this part, a manager needs to understand key aspects of business operations including capacity planning, productivity analysis, and improvement and quality assurance.

Accounting

Proper management of the day to day accounting and finances of a business is critical to operations and learning how to read, analyze and prepare financial statements is an essential skill if one plans to start or run a business.

Strategy

 To drive your business, compete in the industry, create a competitive advantage, and able to adapt to a fast-changing business environment requires efficient and practical strategies.

The ability to take a high-level, strategic view of a business is necessary to identify opportunities and to stay ahead of external forces such as new competition and changing consumer demand.

Finance

Stepping in the marketplace, having no exception, from big players to SMEs, for the growth and maintenance, all require making a major purchase, investments, mergers, acquisitions, and more. 

Smart financial planning and decision-making create value for your organization and ensure its growth in the future.

Marketing and PR

Marketing is not all about simply advertising a product or service. It requires a manager to identify and interact with his or her customers, stay on top of their changing needs and desires, and deliver a strong value proposition. 

It’s crucial to learn core concepts of marketing including segmentation, targeting, differentiation, product positioning and much more.

What needs to be utilized in managing a business?

Management tools are always used to assist business owners to manage their small and medium-sized businesses including accounting tools, finance tools, and performance management.

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Image Credit: Billtrust

Accounting tools are used to record and report those companies’ financial information. Finance tools play a role in helping business owners forecast production output. Potential sales, and the amount of external financing needed for business operations. In cases where managers need to gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of their company’s operations, performance management is applied.

What should be taken into consideration?

Technology is developed to meet problems and opportunities. In business, it is used to extend abilities and to serve customers. Needless to say, that every business owners or entrepreneurs have the vision to recognize consumer wants and to devise a way to meet them.  

Notwithstanding, to accomplish some of these goals, business owners will need to the use of technology, and in most of the cases, they will have to hire experienced technical people who can use technology to implement these ideas. 

The current dynamic market makes it challenging for a business to gain competitive advantages without using technology.

Benefits of small business management:

To put it in another way, followed are goals that the management practice will bring to your SMB.

All That You Need To Know About Small Business Management - Fig 5
Image Credit: Namecom

Presenting every single vision

Small business management allows an entrepreneur or a business owner to present a very single vision for his or her organization.

Many business ideas grow from hobbies or side jobs, then turn into full-fledged, professional organizations, as entrepreneurs can work in an environment where they believe in what they do. They can also manage their operations and decide how to select opportunities or expand operations consistent with their personal vision.

Those business owners may also limit their hiring practices to individuals who share and understand their vision.

Ensures goals achieved

Entrepreneurs make use of small business management to ensure their firms’ goals are achieved in a timely manner, and in a way that is consistent with his or her desires.

Even though, at the early stages of the small business’ existence, entrepreneurs solely take responsibility for achieving the goal, the act of expanding the business and hiring new employees requires the leader to achieve goals with other individuals.

It is necessary for small business owners to learn how to manage business operations through people, not around them. This can be a difficult concept for entrepreneurs to get used to in the management process as they may have been familiar with completing goals themselves for a long time.

A deeper understanding of the business

Via the management process, small business owners have the chance to gain a deeper understanding of various business topics.

It’s normal that nor every entrepreneur has all of the required skills to run a business. These skills are usually obtained as the managers go along and experience new situations in the business environment, such as accounting, marketing, business, financing, etc.

The ability to remain flexible

Entrepreneurs may use their small business management skills to stay flexible in the business environment.

In a number of instances, these managers may apply the autocratic or consultative management method in producing a decision as to shorten the process for reviewing and analyzing situations regarding new business opportunities. This flexibility in many ways does allow entrepreneurs to make quick decisions for improving business operations and creating a competitive advantage in the business context.

This flexibility may also be used to create specific work schedules based on their personal life.

Small business management tips

The business smarts are not naturally run in your blood or an entrepreneurial playbook is not pre-printed into our brains. All of the things above are what we need to figure out along the way, and it is undeniable that we will make some sort of horrible mistake over.

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Image Credit: Iterable

Especially, for those who are first get started in the business, there are no years of experience to help them make smart, educated decisions.

The followed 15 small business management tips are listed based on 3 main elements in management: people, time, and money, in the effort of helping you manage your business, and pushing forward the wanted progress.

Set up an LLC (or some form of official business entity)

This step is applied even if you’re totally self-employed, don’t have anyone else to work for you, and are 100% self-funded from your own pocket, you need to set up your business as a separate taxable entity from day one.

Some service professionals like writers, designers, and coaches feel safer skipping this step while they’re still ramping up their client base, but it usually costs $1,000 or less and almost instantly protects your personal assets from any legal trouble your business might get into.

This doesn’t mean that your business will get involved in legal trouble, which most of the small business never do. But just in case you accidentally used a name that was copyrighted elsewhere in your state or get a totally horrible client that completely screws you over even though you have a contract, etc., even in the worst-case scenario, your business may get dissolved.

Separate personal business & business finances

When you can’t wait to get cracking on your business, but for some reason, your paperwork is being held up. One fundamental rule that needs to obey is that, by all means, don’t accept payment in your personal business account or put business expenses on your personal credit card.

Most banks will require official business paperwork to open something up in your business’s name, but at the very least, you can open separate personal accounts that are designated for only business transactions.

Regardless, even if getting your LLC paperwork was a breeze, this is something you have to do.

Since you and your business are separate taxable entities, you need to have separate finances. Otherwise, things just get messy and you might as well assume you’ll have to deal with an audit—even if you’ve got nothing to hide.

Pay for accounting software

A lot of brand-new business owners, especially those who are bootstrapping, are constantly looking for ways to save money.

So much, that tasks like accounting and bookkeeping, or keeping track of money in/money out, is something they assume they can do on their own.

In fact, there’s no need to go full-out and hire an on-staff accountant. At least not at first.

There are so many options for good, easy-to-use accounting software, that it’s just silly not to use them.

You can get basic versions starting at $10 to $20 per month, and if sending invoices are a thing you do, they’ll look so much better and take so much less time to make than if you tried to fumble around Excel and do it yourself.

Invest in education

With the help of today's advanced search engines, if I don’t know how to do something, you can just search for solutions on the internet. Go through months and months of trial and error, and maybe you can get it right after all. However, this is a time-consuming method, which definitely will hinder the speed of your process.

Instead, it makes a lot more sense to pay a few hundred dollars (sometimes even a few thousand, depending on the skill) to have someone who’s been there, done it, and been successful at it teach you how to do it right at the first time.

Because even though those courses cost money upfront, they’re more than pay for themselves in return on saved mistakes alone… not to mention the things being taught are useful in applying in real life to make money.

Free courses are available yes, but they only scratch the surface. Paying money to dig deep into the topic and really learn it goes so, so far. 

Train new employees well

As a small business, it is inevitable that, when you hire someone, you should actually expect a temporary increase in work instead of immediately being able to offload responsibilities and have the free time you dream of.

That’s because, even if you make the smartest hires in the world, they’re not going to understand and acclimate to your business right away.

Instead, they’re going to need time to learn the ins and outs, to understand your expectations, and to mentally put the puzzle together to see how all the small pieces add up to your larger goals.

They’re not going to hit the ground running on day one, and you shouldn’t expect them to.

Train them well to do their jobs, even if they’ve filled the same role five times before at five different companies and you assume it should all be the same. (In fact, it’s not all the same.)

Plus, when someone feels more competent in their job, they feel more empowered and prouder of what they do.

Ignore inbox the first 4 hours of every day

There is no doubt that you’ve read productivity articles that have advised that checking your emails is not the first to do things in the morning.

Because it’s a piece of advice repeated so often by people doing nothing but parroting one another, it can be easy to ignore.

Indeed, it does serve a purpose and a good one at that.

To be more precise, when you’re actively going through your emails, your brain feels busy. It is busy, actually, but not with the most important tasks of the day.

Studies have shown that decision fatigue as the day wears on and as our brains keep thinking is very much a thing, which means that if you spend the first four hours of your day weeding through emails from those SEO spammers, you’re burning your brainpower out on things that don’t even matter.

Eventually, you’ve got a lot less brainpower left over to think critically about important business decisions and situations that can actually make you more successful. 

Plus, when an “emergency situation” pops into your inbox and you don’t see it until the afternoon, at least the majority of your to-do list is taken care of before you have to handle it.

Invest in marketing

An “Open for Business” sign on your front door and/or a website that’s finally gone live isn’t enough for you to get customers.

The current cut through competition requires small businesses to force its way in front of people, show them something valuable, and somehow have them listen to pitches.

Without that, ain’t nobody going to just be compelled out of the blue to buy from SMBs.

So, to invest in marketing properly, you’ll need to do a little research to find out what works best for your business model and your market.

No matter what it is, marketing will be needed to start doing from day one.

Or if you’re really smart, you’ll use it to start building hype, loyalty, and anticipation before day one.

But whatever you do, don’t sit around and twiddle your thumbs and then decide that maybe you should look into marketing when you realize your business isn’t as profitable as you initially planned.

Schedule meetings with yourself

As the business owner, you’ve got a ton of decisions to make.

You’re the one who is responsible for your company’s ultimate success or failure, you’re the one all your employees look to for direction, and you’re the one that’s got to see the big branding picture to know what moves to make next.

But because running a business, even a “small” business, requires lots of workloads and an endless to-do list, you will often get so caught up in feeling accomplished by getting that work done and those to-do items checked off that we forget to check in with yourself as business owners.

In short, you get caught up in acting as an employee to such an extent that you forget to be the boss.

So at least once a week, you schedule 30 minutes to 1-hour meeting with yourself as the chief strategist of your business.

To start off the meeting, acknowledge what your big-picture goals are and then for each of those goals, figure out if what you’re doing right now is aligned with making those things happen.

Pay taxes every quarter

In reality, the IRS wanted your money within 3 months after you made it. If you pay sooner, they can make better use of your money and/or earn interest on it.

So, if you’re not already paying your taxes on a quarterly basis, talk to your accountant to see what your quarterly minimums should be and make sure you send them in.

The best part is, you don’t have to do the filing paperwork every quarter. As long as you send in the checks (or pay online) and keep track of what you’ve sent, you’ll be good to go and won’t have any sort of fee to pay.

No multitasking:

Job descriptions seeking “competent multitaskers” are quite nonsense when it’s been proven in one study after another that multitasking is both impossible and that attempting to do it makes you about 3,000 times less productive.

So, don’t let yourself or your employees multitask.

Don’t think you can absorb the information in an instructional podcast while also blasting through your email inbox, or deal with your Twitter notifications while you’re on a conference call with your suppliers. At any point, you’re paying attention to one while the content of the other is just coasting right over your head without any cognitive recognition from your brain.

By doing one thing at a time, and only one thing at a time, you’ll find that you actually get more done in a day, that your work rises to a much higher quality, and that you’ll make fewer mistakes that you have to go back and undo later.

Have a go-to account

In addition to the above advice to have accounting software, it’s also smart to have an accountant that you can go to as needed.

To put it in another way, it means finding a certified CPA who you can hire to do your taxes when the time comes and get financial advice from as and when you need it.

It also never hurts to have an accountant review your business’s cash flow to make sure you’re covered for a risky economic situation, even if it’s unpredictable. 

If you know your numbers and stay on top of them, you’ll always be in a better situation than if your kind of thing you’re doing good enough for the time being.

Leave 20% of your day open

If you’ll be “at the office” for five hours, only schedule four hours of work. If it’s 10 hours behind your desk, only eight hours of work.

Because the thing is, there’s always something that comes up last minute that you have to deal with. There’s always a phone call with a needy client that goes 60 minutes over its allowed 30 minutes. And there’s always something you thought would take an hour to finish, but it takes two.

And if nothing like that comes up one day?

You will have time to catch up on your emails, read up on what’s happening in your industry, or dedicate more time to your passion project within your business.

By leaving 20% of your day open, you know that you can confidently take care of those last-minute things that come up without scrambling around and worrying about how it’s going to affect the workload of the rest of your week.

Use the Pomodoro (or similar) technique

Productivity articles and advice are a dime a dozen.

But making sure you squeeze the most, and the most productive, work out of the time you’ve got is essential to meeting your goals.

You may want to try the Pomodoro Technique.

Basically, it’s this: work for 25 minutes, break for five minutes, and repeat until you work four 25-minute segments. Take a longer break. Then come back and repeat it again.

Each set of four lasts for about two hours, and you’d get at least three hours or more worth of work done.

Because you can “only” work for 25 minutes before taking a break, you feel like you need to have something to show for that time, so you automatically stop wasting your time on Facebook.

Also, because it’s only a 25-minute work segment, there’s absolutely zero pressure to finish a project in one sitting, eliminating the stress of getting started and making it easier to make progress.

Be relentless about the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule, which is also known as the Pareto Principle, emphasized on the lopsided ratio of effort to results. It has affirmed that, in any practice, 80% of the results comes from just 20% of the person’s effort. To be more specific, there are certain actions you do (your 20%) results in most of your goal (your 80%).

Though this rule makes 100% sense in theory, it’s one of the hardest things for small business owners. To stick to the 80/20 rule, you need to identify the 20% that plays a crucial role and focus on them, as they are driven-force that leads to your results.

It’s easy as pie to lose sight of what really matters while you’re busy catching up with the minutia of those numerous tasks that you have to deal with. Eventually, you’ll end up regarding all your tasks as equally important.

The bottom line here is don’t fall for the frustrating paradox of hard work. Instead, consider what need to be done to achieve your short-term or maybe long-term goal, and focus relentlessly on those few major things.

The less wasted time. The more money you can make.

Once train the employees, avoid them

Don’t get it wrong, this doesn’t mean stop helping your employees out once in a while.

As discussed above, if you’ve got a good training program in place, once that training is finished, they should be empowered and competent enough to make most of the decisions that fall within their job role on their own.

Hence, set up structures that allow your employees to contact you in ways that don’t interfere with your own workday.

In the beginning, using email can work, that way you respond when you have time. 

As things get more sophisticated, a project management software where you can collaborate with multiple employees without everyone having to sit together in a meeting to decide on one thing can be a great idea. Weekly face-to-face meetings definitely still have their place. You still want to maintain the feeling of working in a team as much as possible.

But at the same time, the reason you hired your employees was for them to be able to do the work you didn’t want to do or didn’t have time to do, so having them suck up your time just doesn’t make any sense.

And if you have a separate office, set certain office hours where people are welcome to come and knock on your door for help. (In other times, it’ll be off-limits.)

What you can learn from the pioneers

Though above are 15 comprehensive, vivid, and practical tips for business management, I still believe that there is no redundancy in learning from the experienced.

22 top entrepreneurs were asked “What’s your best small business management tip?”, and here’s what they had to say:

Empower your employees

“For companies below a certain size, employees can and should be made to feel directly connected to the success and growth of the business. Even if they’re not equity partners, helping to build a successful business, and being recognized as an integral component, is a point of pride, a valuable résumé item for the future, and does wonders for morale and motivation.”

Nate Martin, CEO of Puzzle Break

Systemize your business

“When you are looking to grow from a solo-preneur to a business owner who leads, not manages his team, my number one small business management tip is to build systems. By having systems, you can bring someone in who knows nothing about how your business runs, and they can learn a systemized way to do things the way that you want them to be done. Often this does not occur with the first time you hire an employee. It’s is a bit more of a shotgun approach. However, once you can build these systems, you can duplicate your staff and build a business that can scale based on the systems that you have built.”

Stephen Twomey, Founder of MasterMindSEO

Let go of full control

“The best small business management tip I have to give entrepreneurs is to let go. More specifically, let go of control over things you’re not good at. For me, I hate accounting. However, for the first year in business, I viewed getting a bookkeeper as a waste of money, because I could do all of the work myself. Well, I realized quickly that I really don’t enjoy bookkeeping and my time could be better spent on building the business overplaying its accountant. Do what you're best at and lean on others to help you with things you don’t like to do.”

Jordan Scheltgen, Managing Partner at Cave Social

Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture

“My best small business management tip to other entrepreneurs is that it’s easy to get caught up working in the business, so don’t forget to work on the business. If you’re not mindful, you can spend all your time being strictly reactive and putting out the fires that come up every day. Immediate-term problems have to be addressed, but make sure you create opportunities to be proactive as well. Network with other entrepreneurs and business leaders, read up on trends, attend professional development events, and hold workshops with your team to identify and start initiatives that will take your business to the next level. Doing these things will help you get ahead of the fires in the long term and keep you energized in the meantime.”

Jacob Dayan, CEO and co-founder of Community Tax and Finance Pal

Hire for attitude

“My small business management tip is this: Hire for attitude and train for skills. Let’s face it, an employee with a bad attitude is not going to benefit your business at all, regardless of how ‘skilled’ they are. You rarely can improve the attitude of an employee. However, an employee with the right attitude? You can give them the training they need to be successful in your small business. It really is a win-win for both the employee and the business owner.”

Jason Hessom, Owner of SafetyVideos

Leverage company data

“Levering data is one of the fundamental ways to improve business and employee management. From employee productivity to sales and logistical information, working to understand how your company collects and analyzes data is an important project for every entrepreneur. After collecting this data, it is important to act on the analysis and work to make your processes more efficient. A lot of companies are great at collecting data but do not leverage this data to make operational changes. Finally, whenever collecting data on employee performance, it is important to keep the process transparent and ensure that everyone understands that the purpose is for business development and not to micromanage performance.”

Evan Harris, Co-founder of SD Equity Partners

Stick to processes

“My small business management advice to other entrepreneurs would be to document all of their business processes. In a nutshell, this means to create a book of standard operating procedures. Then if they want to go on a vacation or were no longer here, their staff could follow the procedures in the book. This is also very beneficial when they hire and need to train new staff. Documenting my procedures has made me examine everything necessary to run my business in detail and make processes more efficient.”

Chris Abrams, Owner of MJ Life Insurance

Promote transparency

“The best small business management tip I can give other entrepreneurs is to establish a culture of transparency within your organization. Constructive, timely, and candid feedback can boost employee and team performance. Entrepreneurs often hold feedback until formal reviews because they are caught in the day-to-day management of the business. Making transparency part of the day-to-day management of your employees will help them improve their work faster while accelerating results for the company.”

Christina May, Illumine8

Stick to a budget

“My best tip for small business management is to create and utilize a budget. This will help in two areas. First, you will know how much you need to sell in order to cover your overheads. Second, it will act as a guide to help your business grow! Many businesses see a budget as restrictive, but it is the complete opposite. It gives you enough understanding of your finances that you know where you can improve and where you want to be in, say, 12 months’ time.”

Sam Boothroyd, Founder of Rymer Associates

Focus on making a big impact

“As a small business owner, I know exactly how overwhelming it can be to juggle multiple tasks. The best advice once I got from my mentor was this: If you can’t complete all the tasks, just focus only on those that will make the biggest difference to your product or service. At the end of the day, you will see how few of these tasks are but what a huge impact they can make to the success of your business.”

Santare Slavinsk, Co-founder and Creative Director of DIZAIND

Cut cost

“My number one tip for small business management is to be more stringent on costs. A penny saved is more often more than a penny earned, so it is important to save on costs everywhere you can. Take advantage of tax breaks, and if possible, outsource non-core business aspects.”

AJ Saleem, Director of Suprex Tutors Houston

Always re-evaluate

“The key to good small business management is evaluating your business progress at least every three months. A quarter is a right amount in a time increment to determine what operations are working and what isn’t, in terms of new business relationships or agendas. Some business owners might be too busy attending to details or a specific project and will neglect to assess their business models. The worst thing you can do for your business is to continue implementing processes that aren’t benefiting you. By enforcing a quarterly evaluation, a business owner or entrepreneur can avoid bad business moves and give themselves the chance to grow in the right direction.”

David Mitroff, founder of Piedmont Avenue Consulting

Automate to free up your time

“My best small business management tip would be to automate as much as you can to free up your time. As small business owners, we have so many things to do that we often spend all our time in the day-to-day running of the business instead of actually growing it. Tasks like staff rotas, invoicing, chasing invoices, mileage expenses, payroll, and tax used to take up hours and hours of my time. Now I have a system in place, so all I have to do is fill in the staff rotas and all invoicing, payroll, mileage expenses are done automatically. This literally saves me 20-plus hours a month that I can use to actively grow my business. This has had a huge impact on my bottom line.”

Ben Doyle, Pet Checkers

Believe in your employees

“Don’t underestimate what your employees already know about your business and what they can contribute. Hiding performance measures or being opaque about your financials is a disservice to their intelligence and a huge missed opportunity for you as a business owner. Sharing information with employees, at least top-line financials and other KPIs, can help you tap into a rich font of insight, engagement, and employee loyalty.”

Rosemary Plorin, President and CEO of Lovell Communications

Take advantage of technology

“My small business management tip to other entrepreneurs is to leverage technology and small business management tools that minimize and automate work-flow processes as much as possible, like HubSpot, BotKeeper (automated bookkeeping), and Zapier. Your time and effort should be spent moving the company forward, not doing mundane, company operations.”

Courtney Wilson, Founder of DropZone for Veterans

Measure everything

“Measure everything. Income and expenses are key in order to find out what you’re spending, how often, and if it’s working, but also important is tracking your time, your marketing return on investment, staff efficiency, how long you’re spending with your clients/customers, how long it takes you to build your product, etc. You’ll be surprised by what you find!”

Mara L. Shorr, The Best Medical Business Solutions

Focus on what moves the needle

“No matter what stage you are at in your business, focusing on the things that will get you to the next 10x level are the only things that matter. Some tactics will help get you beyond that point, but at each 10x stage you reach, only then should you reevaluate your process and where your effort is being spent. By keeping this intense focus, you’ll be better able to grow and learn what works and what doesn’t for your business, and where others in your org should spend their time.”

John Turner, CEO, and Founder of QuietKit

Don’t lose sight of the details

“My best small business management tip is this: Over-manage the details, both internally and externally. In today’s digital world, sometimes people forget the value of a human touch both with their team and their clients.”

Kelly Ehlers, Founder, and President of Ideas That Evoke

Don’t let numbers run your business

“My small business management tip for other entrepreneurs is to not look at sales numbers every day. There are many ways to judge progress, sales are just the shiniest. Being discouraged over a bad sales period in your company may prevent other areas of potential growth from being pursued. Let the numbers be what they are and keep on building your whole company.”

Scott Toal, Short Run Pro

Provide great business

“We’ve found that one of the best ways to manage and keep employees motivated is through benefits: outside training, community events, happy hours, and gym membership reimbursement. These particular perks are popular because you’re providing more than just the usual health benefits. You’re going above and beyond to show employees that you don’t just care about the work they do; you value them as an individual and care about their well-being. Your employees want to feel as though they are making a significant impact at work, and with benefits like these being offered, they feel important and like they’re part of the family.”

Jordan Wan, CEO, and Founder of CloserIQ

Learn how to delegate

“We find that most get stuck in one specific area: delegation, knowing when to let go and let others help run a project, an idea, or a department. Many small business owners are so attached to their ‘baby’ that they struggle to see when to let their employees with greater or relevant knowledge take over. The best small business management tip we give to those leaders is to take a step back and imagine what would happen to their business if they were not around any longer. We ask them to imagine how would they ensure the continuity of their work. Who would they empower to take over? It is normally a good sobering thought that helps them realize that their business will not succeed if they do not learn to delegate and empower. Those who are successful at it learn that their business will thrive when others are allowed to build on the leader’s vision.”

Joe Carella, Assistant Dean, Eller College of Management

Build good relationships with your employees

“Good managers give their employees two things: goals and ownership. I set clear goals for my team’s work and hold them accountable for completing tasks. That said, I don’t micromanage my employees. I let them have plenty of space to use their talents and learn new skills. I also make people feel they have a stake in the company as a whole, not just in their own work. For example, I recently bought a new office building. I kept my employees informed throughout the process, from property searching to negotiating, to signing the papers. Since I kept them in the loop, they’re excited to move to our new location. They’ve even made some suggestions for building modifications that I’ll have our contractors incorporate during the remodeling process.”

Vladimir Gendelman, Founder and CEO of Company Folders

It’s a lot to take in, but you’ll get it down

Apparently, this article is overflowing with tons of “do this!”, “now do this!”, and “don’t forget to do this too!” kind of advice.

And in fact, you’ve already got a to-do list a mile long, but if there’s anything on this list that you haven’t done yet or that you haven’t incorporated into your management style, consider adding one item at a time to your to-do list until you get them all checked off.

There’s no rule that says you need to master everything all at once.

Thereby, take a deep breath, pick one thing off this list to tackle, and forge ahead with the confidence in yourself. Then, you’ll take care of the rest later.

This article is also credited to ICB Accredited Business Qualifications, fundera, buildfire, Chron, Grace College

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