Tips for managing a small business

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Here are eight Small Business management tips to help you step up your game.

 

  1. Build relationships and a sense of trust with your employees

Becoming a better manager starts with stronger relationships with your workers.

 

Even so, nearly 70% of managers struggle to communicate effectively with their teams. This can happen for many reasons, such as fear of giving negative feedback or having trouble finding time to talk one-to-one with people.

 

But making that time is crucial to building trust with your team. Relationship building is the essential foundation to any great business plan.

 

Conversations and feedback are necessary because they help people understand what they are doing well and where they need to improve. (When you trust your employees, it’s also easier to delegate and hand off tasks to them.)

 

Think of it as a virtuous cycle: being open and honest builds more trust, which in turn supports a company culture that empowers your employees to be open and honest, which builds more trust… You get the idea. Here are some strategies to build that sense of trust:

 

Take advantage of a team messaging tool or mobile app to provide frequent feedback and praise when you can’t meet one-on-one. For example, RingCentral’s handy desktop and mobile app gives you not only messaging, but also video conferencing and a phone app in one place:

 

Prioritize accessibility. Make yourself as available as possible (think: reachable via email or instant message, keep your office open) and highlight specific times when your team can meet with you. Using a remote management tool is a great way to make sure you’re always accessible—even if you’re away from the office.

 

  1. When in doubt, set aside extra time in your schedule

Conventional wisdom tells us that to do small business management well, you should be strict and disciplined when it comes to sticking to your calendar.

 

That said, having your day completely booked, day after day, is a recipe for disaster.

 

Don’t make your schedule so rigid that a meeting that runs long or some unexpected issue throws your entire day off.

 

Instead, allow for some free time sprinkled throughout your schedule to give yourself some breathing room. This makes you more available to your team—and helps you stay sane.

 

Basically, give your to-do list some maneuverability and try to avoid overbooking your own time.

 

  1. Be flexible and regularly reevaluate your company goals

Piggybacking on the last tip, flexibility is key when you’re managing your own business or startup.

 

Spoiler alert: your goals and projections aren’t always going to be 100% accurate.

 

Maybe your revised sales quotas are unrealistic. Perhaps a hiccup in your business finances means holding off on that new hire.

 

Either way, don’t look at these issues as “failures.” Even the best business managers have to make adjustments to their strategies. Try to assess your data on a regular basis. Keeping an eye on analytics (think: employee performance dashboards, sales numbers) can help you avoid any surprises.

 

  1. Create processes and workflows that can be automated and replicated

Anything you can put on autopilot to save time in your day is a major plus.

 

The is the key ingredient when it comes to streamlining your business operations.

 

Specifically, think about common tasks that require templates (think: emails, invoicing) and processes that are uniform (think: new employee onboarding).

 

If you can automate your tasks and workflows, it also makes it easier for your team to get work done when you’re unavailable. (Handing off a task to someone else with a defined process already in place means there’s less of a chance for mistakes.)

 

Tasks, both big and small, can be put on autopilot thanks to today’s management tools

 

For example, you might have to sift through data and dashboards every week. Whether you’re dealing with employee or website performance, having reports summarized and ready in your inbox is a huge time-saver.

 

Consider how you can set up performance reports that get automatically delivered straight to your inbox in Google Analytics to keep a pulse on your website traffic without leaving your email. Most major tools can provide the same sort of summaries for everything from email data to social media data:

 

  1. Learn to prioritize your day-to-day tasks

When you’re managing a small business, you should be able to quickly decipher between what needs to be done ASAP versus what can be put off for later.

 

Think of project management as one big prioritization strategy. For example, some managers might use a version of an Eisenhower Matrix to figure out which tasks are most pressing.

 

  1. Invest in tools and resources to save time

The average day for a small business manager can be daunting—there are literally hundreds of things to do.

 

As we mentioned earlier, third-party tools can help do the heavy lifting when it comes to tedious or time-consuming tasks.

 

Integrating technology across your team can help everyone communicate and collaborate more efficiently with one another. (You don’t have to try fancy new technology either; sometimes upgrading something as basic as your phone system could help you save money and time in the long run.)

 

  1. Focus on what you’re good at first

The role of a small business manager is often a sort of jack of all trades.

 

But as the old saying goes, “jack of all trades, master of none.”

 

Realistically, you can’t be a superstar at everything that you do. You’ll naturally excel at some aspects of running a business and struggle with others.

 

That’s okay. Just focus on your strengths, and figure out what you need to be successful.

 

  1. Invest in your ongoing education

It might sound cliche, but nothing in the business world stays the same for long.

 

Office and workplace trends change. Your teams’ expectations are evolving, too.

 

Successful entrepreneurship is about continuous learning. You need to be open to new ideas and opportunities to constantly learn more about small business management. Doing so ensures that you’re up to date on best practices without running the risk of getting stuck in your ways.

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