As a small business owner or even a one-man-band, the fewer people you have working for you, the more “hats” you wear. Whether it’s your marketing hat, your delegation hat or your analytical hat, you need to know how to keep track of your company’s finances, look after customer service, create a marketing campaign, resolve technical issues and continue to grow your wealth. Here are the twelve hats every small business owner may need to wear throughout the course of a normal day of business:
As a business owner, you will never be able to know everything, so it’s your responsibility to turn to others for support. This can involve employees and/or outsourcing. Outsourcing can be a great solution when you are unable to manage the day-to-day business and build the business satisfactorily. Almost any task can be outsourced such as social media marketing, customer service, bookkeeping, computer support, market research and lead generation.
Delegating multiplies your effectiveness, so you can use your time and talents where they make a difference. The key to effective delegation is to:
- Determine what needs to be done – what is the task or project?
- Identify who is going to do it – who has the time, skills experience etc?
- Provide a job description – what is expected?
- Ensure accountability – two-way communication is a key part of delegating. Good communication helps to avoid any confusion with your assignment and ensures that your task is completed on time. However, it is also important to step back – relinquish control. If you micromanage all of your outsourcing, the savings in management attention and time that is the whole point of outsourcing is lost
- Evaluate performance – how successful was the delegation?
Frequent and clear communication is crucial to be effective in business. It is part of good business management to figure out possible barriers that might exist in the communication structure and to rectify them to ensure an effective communication network. When you hire a new employee, good communications kills help you select the right person. When you communicate with a supplier, you need to be clear about your expectations and to be sensitive when dealing with problems. By communicating clearly, you can help avoid misunderstandings and potential conflict and while boosting your business to the next level.
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Good negotiation skills grow your network, solidify your relationships with clients and vendors and pave the way for future business opportunities. Emotion, luck and magic have no place in a successful negotiation. It takes an iron gut, homework, street smarts and unblinking discipline. The best negotiation is one where both parties walk away feeling like they were heard and received a good outcome. The importance of the situation will likely dictate how much preparation and effort you expend on it, but at their core negotiations are all the same in the sense that they require a group of parties to reach a point of agreement—even if that point is to completely disengage.
Strategic planning is the process in which you think about, assess, view, and create the future for your business and make decisions on the allocation of resources of capital and people. It describes where you want your business to go and provides you with a clear path to accomplishing key business goals. The key is to know how to project your company’s future performance. A solid strategy can help you develop a plan of action and maximize your likelihood of success in achieving your vision.
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“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Leadership is a process of getting things done via people. Without leadership, your small business will circle aimlessly and eventually run out of power. A leader effectively communicates a clear vision and goals to prospects, customers, suppliers, employees, and investors. Leadership is also the ability to listen, organise, take charge, delegate and motivate teams and must be applied within your business whether you are a team of 1 or 100.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Team work is working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a common goal. However, simply putting a group of people together is not “team building”. Building your team demands matching jobs to people’s strengths, combining a group of people who will work well together, developing a shared vision and commitment and encouraging positive, informal interactions among group members. The key is to know how to build teams of employees, partners, advisors, and investors that will help you take your business to the next level.
An analytical approach is the use of an appropriate process to break a problem down into the smaller pieces necessary to solve it. Business growth relies on your ability to objectively assess the present state of your business, to determine where you want to be in the future, and what to do to move forward. Analytical skills help to detect patterns, brainstorm, detect opportunities, interpret data and integrate information into a theory. The key is to know how to gather, review, and evaluate data that is necessary to formulate and express compelling arguments.
Sales and marketing
Establishing successful sales and marketing methods and policies – from pricing and advertising to sales techniques will help you win financing, bring in investors, line up distribution deals and land customers. The ability to analyse your competition, the marketplace, and industry trends are critical to the development of your marketing strategy. The key is to strengthen brand loyalty, engage customers, and connect with new prospects by communicating a compelling message to the right target audience that generates new business, and in turn, builds profitable revenue streams.
Managing your business involves coordinating the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives by using available resources efficiently and effectively. It involves controlling, leading, monitoring, organising and planning by focusing on the entire business as a whole and encompasses the deployment and direction of human resources, financial resources, and technological resources. The key is to know how to develop and implement a workable management system that will manage daily operations and support business growth.
Cash flow management
Cash flow is generally acknowledged as the single most pressing concern of the small and medium-sized businesses. It is the money you have coming in from revenue and going out for expenses. Good cash flow management will ensure you always have money available for paying your expenses when they are due. It is the life-blood of all growing businesses and is the primary indicator of business health. Whether your business is growing or struggling, managing your cash flow effectively is absolutely essential and the very key to business survival. The key is to know how to monitor, protect, control, and put cash to work.
Financial management is one of the most important elements of managing your business. It allows you to have the right information at the right time, in order to make the right decisions. It is a set of techniques that you use to manage your money, particularly the differences between income and expenditure. The key is to know how to interpret and analyse your financial statements, in such a way, as to identify the items that are adversely affecting your profitability.
Learning the skill of time management will empower you to achieve more and to use your time wisely. This involves identifying a specific goal or outcome, and managing your resources in a way that ensures this is achieved on schedule. The key is deciding where to focus, concentrate on accomplishing tasks that directly move you further towards achieving your goals and put lower priority on those that don’t.
Read more about time management:
- Boost your productivity with good task management
- Be the boss of your time
- 30 time management tips to maximise your productivity
Many new businesses fail from the inability to juggle all these skills. Too many people start with no idea of all the work that must be done, let alone the special skills or experience some jobs require. Make sure you decide which ones you are capable of doing, or learning to do, and which ones you have to get help with.
Overwhelmed with all the hats you are wearing. Talk to us about how we can help with your strategy and marketing – call 1300 139 614