As a small business owner you wear many hats. If you are a single person travel agency, you wear all the hats—from CEO to the janitor that mops the bathroom floors! No one ever said it was easy. But there are steps you can take to ease some of the burden. I am sure you know of some, but here are five big steps that come to the top of my mind!
Automate, automate, automate
Time is money.
Are you using a CRM like ClientBase? Are you using the follow up feature of your broadcast email program? Do you have your social media humming along on its own? For much of my automation I turn to IFTTT—it is a free service that allows you to connect all of your tools. On a FAM? Turn it on so it posts a photo to your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as soon as it is taken. Check it out!
Running your business—rents, utilities and vendor payments all ought to be handled electronically. You will save time and money (no postage or envelopes).
Remember, some of this automation costs money up front, so you’ll need to weight the cost against the amount of time you expect to save down the road. But sometimes you need to spend money to make it!
Keep Up With Your Customers
Technology is constantly in a state of flux. Make sure you are using the tools your customers want. Unsure of what they want? Ask them!
Online appointment scheduling. Online booking. Response by text, Messenger, Twitter, etc. You need to be where they are.
And make sure you know what your competition is doing as well on that front. Keep up with the Joneses.
Giving up control is hard! But it is SO worth it. Delegate smaller less consequential tasks to your employees if you have them. Items like newsletters, blog entries, Facebook updates can all be delegated.
No employees? Look into a virtual assistant. Yes it is an expense, but it may be a good expense if it allows you to go out and bring in more business.
Don’t waste your time learning someone else’s job while working your job! Unless you know coding, you should not be figuring out how to build a website. There are options to outsource these things. Yes, you can build a site; but it might take you a week versus 4 hours for a contractor and $500.
Mind your dollars
Any successful business will need to keep an eye on the dollars! Budget carefully and always have a reserve just like you do at home. Just like the unexpected car repair, an unexpected business expense will come up at the most inopportune time!
Experts suggest a monthly budget review to make sure you stay on track. I do it quarterly! The secret is to DO it!
Set Your Goals
While we tend to focus on the day-to-day operation of business, sometimes we lose sight of the finish line.
The best way to keep an eye on the end game is to set solid, measurable, long term goals and check in regularly to make sure you’re heading in that direction. You may be looking to increase your average sale, or the sheer number of transactions, or the percentage of business given to a particular supplier. Whatever your goals are, know them and check in to make sure you are progressing towards them. If not, then re-adjust and press on.
Managing a small business involves wearing many hats and keeping your focus on many different tasks. These suggestions may be useful to you—or not. One size does not fit all! And if you have some tips of your own…leave me a comment!