It has been said before: the main objective of most businesses is to increase their owners’ wealth. This is true of large corporations as it is true for small businesses. But, small businesses are often owned and operated by people with a specific passion and skill, people who are self-directed, courageous and motivated by more than just profit margins. Small business owners are often people accustomed to shouldering the majority of tasks related to running their businesses. And many owners are not experts in business management; they are experts in their crafts. So accomplishing all the various elements related to running a business can be quite difficult – even overwhelming. For these hard-working individuals, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and still have time to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Proposed here are standard business practices that can be employed by small business owners to create as much efficiency and solidity in their businesses as possible, while alleviating some of the management burden. As stated in a previous article, “The Business Side of Healing”, it takes more than one element to ensure the success of a business. What is fundamental to success is the right combination of elements. I call it: the “Rules, Tools and Jewels” approach to business.
Most small businesses are service businesses; and most services are based on scheduled appointments. You probably understand the necessity of scheduling clients. Well, what about all the other tasks of your business? Scheduling is as powerful a management tool for filing, ordering supplies and posting ads as it is for managing clients. As with everything else, don’t wait until the paper stacks are blocking the door or the call-back list is cold or the inventory is depleted before you take action. Create a schedule that includes all of your tasks – including time for yourself to rest and enjoy your life.
Organization is order; order is control; control is safety. The opposite of this is chaos – dangerous to mind, bodies, and businesses. Being organized as a business owner is extremely helpful; it is also rather demanding. Even if a great system is instituted, organization demands constant commitment and effort.
Effective organization means ensuring that everything is in the correct place where it can be retrieved quickly with minimal effort. It is the “bird’s eye” point of view that promotes the idea that investment of effort at the beginning saves twice the effort at the end. Which would you rather do: take 5 minutes to label a folder, organize its contents and file it correctly in the drawer so it can be retrieved within 30 seconds; or spend 20 minutes looking for it in paper piles 6 months later when you urgently need the information? Hmmmm…
This has been discussed by every motivational speaker ad nauseum, so it probably requires little explanation. But, it does bear repeating. If you are providing a service to people, then the quality of that service is your top priority. If you are a business owner, then the profit margin is your priority. And if you are both?
There is no denying the possibility of conflicting priorities in the management of your business. And no one can tell you what your priorities must be; only you can decide. What my advice to you is: consciously re-evaluate your priorities in relation to your Top Digital Finance Software Tools professional and personal goals. Document them at least twice a year. Be willing to change your routines and processes in order to support your current priorities. And scrutinize everything in your business under the bright light of these priorities. If you see something wilting under that light, it is time to make a change. When in doubt or when you are overwhelmed, take a second look at your priorities. They are the signposts that you need sometimes to face the crossroads of your journey..
4. Mark Your Boundaries
Establishing boundaries is the progression of scheduling, organization and prioritizing combined. You draw the map from where you are to where you want to be. You add the roadblocks and traffic signals. You design the rest stops and speed limits. And you decide who belongs on your territory and where they can go. As a business owner, you are responsible for this map – for marking the boundaries so that everyone, from family members to office staff to clients, know where they can and cannot go. What do you expect from them? What are you willing or available to do or not do?
It pays to be strategic and map out your boundaries. Communicate them too, before someone crosses over a line you don’t want crossed. If you know when (schedule), what (organize), and why (prioritize) things are supposed to happen, the map will practically draw itself.