Many small businesses are born by talented, skilled people who are amazing at what they do, whether delivering a service or creating a product. The challenge is that many of these people have not had sufficient training or exposure in how to run and manage a business.
Understanding what your key business metrics are to provide actual visibility of how it is performing is critical if you wish to maximise profitability and achieve sustainable growth. Identifying the core processes within your organisation, capturing their steps and then continually reviewing and refining your performance is key to improving a business. Learning new technology that can assist in reducing overheads, provide enhanced customer satisfaction and support growth is also imperative.
Once you have these in place, then understanding what to focus on and how to interrogate your performance through reviewing KPI’s, financial reports and employee activity is critical.
Another key element is understanding the value of time. Focus on your strengths and ability to generate revenue and delegate tasks that impede you from revenue related activities. Where possible enable your team through courses, training and coaching to allow them to remove unproductive tasks from you.
The most common business tools for small business include;
- Financial reports – Profit and Loss Report, with comparison to previous periods, Balance Sheet, Revenue Forecasts
- Activity reports – Number of sales, repeat customers, new customers, average time to sell or value, utilisation
- Marketing reports – Response rates to marketing campaigns, ROI for marketing spend
Training encompasses a wide range of elements, it is much more than just teaching someone how to click a button and in what order, it is about educating them on how to think about the task they are performing, helping them understand why it is important and finally how to achieve the outcome they have been asked to deliver. This could be as simple as coming up with a marketing plan list or creating a table of values for analysis. Without understanding, of what is required and why it is important, there is a high degree of likelihood the objective will not be achieved.
Many small businesses hire resources that do not have the basic skills and many of these employees have never had a need to self-learn. When introducing the basics it is important to consider where your team are coming from and tailor the training to suit their capabilities. You should also check yourself to ensure you have not assumed knowledge when asking the team to complete a task.
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