Updated 9 November 2016
No matter how much experience you have had, nothing can prepare you for the unique challenges running your own small business can bring. Many small business owners skip the planning stage and jump straight in with their bright new idea. Because of this tendency to avoid proper planning, important processes are often neglected, which can lead to some pretty serious mistakes. Quite simply if you don’t put the effort into planning a small business, you’ll end up in trouble at some point.
One key reason that proper planning cannot be ignored on smaller projects is because it can reveal some uncomfortable facts about the fledgling business. But that is exactly the reason why smaller businesses need a good business plan.
So what are the key problems encountered managing a small business?
There are a whole range of key problems encountered with small businesses such as:
- Having the motivation and focus to put the required amount of energy and enthusiasm into the business day after day once the initial excitement has worn off. Never underestimate just how much work it takes to get a small business off the ground and then to develop and grow it successfully.
- Accurately and thoroughly monitoring and controlling all aspects of the business, including, and especially, the finances. If you are taking out a loan to get started make sure you get the best deal possible and make sure you prioritise loan repayments above everything else. A business that cannot control it’s finances will never succeed. Even if you are not borrowing money you still need to retain tight control over every aspect of the finances because money can and will be easily spent in the early days.
- Having the motivation to keep to the business plan and avoid constant and uncontrolled changes. Focus on the products or services that are the most important to your business and reputation and avoid being side-tracked with issues that are not essential to your success.
- Recognising when the plan is not working and instigating a change of direction – business plans are not always right at the outset so you also need to be flexible enough to adapt to circumstances, if necessary.
- Struggling with the long hours – this is not as much of a problem as it used to be as there is a flourishing “gig economy” where you can find part time freelancers to help out with various tasks.
- Lack of good advice – there is free advice out there if you know where to look. Find your local government funded business hub or try the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) or local Chamber of Commerce.
So What Are The Secrets To Managing A Small Business?
It is important that tasks are designated effectively and you do not end up doing it all. Your team should all have designated tasks and job roles (even if they have more than one role) and, most importantly, they understand why their tasks and roles are important to the growth and success of the company.
Planning is incredibly important for small businesses just as much as for large organisations. Remember:
“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”
Make that your business motto.
Once the business is underway and trading it needs to be executed with passion and determination. Be adaptable to changing circumstances, charge properly for your products or services, take good care of your employees and there is no reason for you not to succeed.
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