When you start your business, you plan a bright future ahead, and think long-term and strategically. But even when you feel like you have done your absolute best, you still might end up closing. Actually, according to the Small Business Asociation, only 25% of business reach adolescence, meaning they make it to their 15th birthday, and well beyond. So, what is the reason for this?
Of course, every situation is different, and not every advice is applicable universally. But, there are some hard truths that every business owner needs to be aware of. If you want your business to succeed, the amount of resources you put into it can’t surpass the outcome. Sounds simple in theory, but practice is a whole different ballgame. Perhaps you have plenty of resources, but you don’t know how to manage them. Or you are faced with an insurmountable obstacle. Maybe, even, you are the problem.
In order to make your business as productive as it can possibly be, and avoid ending up on the wrong end of the statistic data, you can keep in mind these useful tips and ideas. Although your situation might seem unique, chances are someone has already faced the same struggles – and won!
Keep Track of Everything and Analyse Your Data
It is quite possible that you spend more time during the day fixing the Wi-Fi, colour-coding your calendar and making coffee than you do working with your core team. As a business owner, you need to keep track of all of your resources – time, money, materials and personnel. Not only do you need to track how your company’s valuable resources are spent, but you also need to be able to analyse the data.
There are many tools you could use to keep track of the invested time. The harder part is to gather all of that data and look for improvement possibilities. The first thing you should look for is the amount of unproductively spent time – the time your employees, as well as yourself, spend not generating any value. It can be something very silly that is killing your productivity. Perhaps there is only one microwave for all of your employees, they need to park far from the building or the elevator often breaks down. Don’t allow such instances to disrupt your business and get them fixed as soon as possible.
Delegate, Lead and Reward
It can’t be said enough – people are the most important resource. Not only do you have to hire the right ones, but you also need to give them enough in order for them to stay. And once they have chosen to stay, they need to perform at their highest level for most of the time. But, how can you achieve that?
The first thing you should do is encourage delegating. Top management is always in danger of over-burning, not because they are thinking about difficult decisions, but because they are doing the work they shouldn’t. Not only does this not bring value for them, but it also takes away a great learning opportunity from someone else. Although delegating isn’t easy, there are tips to help you master this skill, and reap the benefits.
Another thing that will help you create the most efficient team is your leadership skills. Instead of micromanaging, try to encourage. Don’t keep track of their check-ins; give them the liberty to organise their time. Transfer responsibilities to them, not just the grunt work. Employees don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad bosses. But, before they leave, they can take down the company with them. Make sure that is not even an option.
Once you have figured out who your all-stars are, reward them. Appreciate them, encourage them, praise them. They deserve it, and in turn, your business won’t have a single bad day. Enable them to get to know each other and bond outside of the corporate environment. Consider financing an adventure they won’t forget, such as organising a team building event in Prague. Taking them outside of their comfort zone and enabling them to have such an unforgettable experience will create loyalty. And that is the best motivation for an employee to perform at their absolute best.
Always Ask for a Second Opinion
There is no doubt that no one knows your business like you do. It also needs to be said that you are probably too close to it to make an objective decision. Sometimes you simply need a second pair of eyes. Open your business to someone you can trust who will be able to evaluate and asses the actual level of productivity of your business.
Give them unrestricted access and make sure you take their findings into consideration. A second opinion can only help you push your business even further.