Managing a small business is an overwhelming task in itself, so it is best for business owners to be well organized in order to decrease the level of stress and increase the level of success of their business. Here are a few tips for small business owners on getting (and keeping) the business together.
Better manage your time as the business owner. Time spent cannot be regained, so make it as productive as possible. SCORE, a free counseling service for small businesses, recommends that business owners allocate 60 to 70 percent of their time to tasks that have the most impact on the business. The remaining time can be spent on minor or miscellaneous tasks. Create a daily plan. Follow it. Repeat.
Track business income and expenses. Use accounting software such as QuickBooks, Peachtree, or Simply Accounting to organize and track income and expenses. Be sure to reconcile the financial data at least monthly to ensure all finances are accounted for. In addition to that, keep business tax returns and supporting documentation (such as receipts) in a fireproof filing cabinet or safe for at least three years.
Track customer likes and dislikes. Customers are the reason a business exists, so it very important for business owners to understand their needs. Customer feedback and surveys are vital to the survival of any business. Employ a process to capture customer feedback and be sure to use it at every opportunity possible. Know what works well for customers and continue to improve upon those skills and services to keep customers coming back.
Track opportunities to reach new customers. As previously mentioned, without customers, the business does not exist. Therefore, it is important to take advantage of ways to increase the customer base. Create a method of determining the most effective means of marketing and obtaining new customers, and continue using this method to help generate new income sources for the business.
Document business policies, processes, and procedures. Creating a policies and procedures manual for any business saves everyone both time and effort when it comes to training new employees (and reminding the not-so-new employees) on how to do things in the business. A manual also creates uniformity to products and processes, and eliminates redundant questions that may arise later.
Small business owners are busy enough, and it takes organization to create more time to focus on what is most important to the business. Being well organized will not only create less day-to-day problems and stress for the owners and employees, but it will also improve the overall effectiveness of the business.
SCORE website: www.score.org