Far too often, small business owners find themselves in a position where they are spending more time working in their business than on it. They aren’t able to expand or develop their organization because they are losing too much time to the day-to-day tasks that should be delegated to other employees. They miss important family experiences because they have not automated their business operations. They feel like they are chained to their organization, unable to enjoy the freedom that should come along with owning your own business.
What if there were a better way?
There is—but it requires you to systematize the functioning of your organization. Below are five ways to streamline your business practices so that you are able to enjoy more free time as a small business owner.
1. Scrutinize your personal and organizational mission.
Everyone who starts or takes over a business has a vision for the future of his or her company. But oftentimes this idea is abstract in nature and never gets ironed out. Or, the owner’s goal shifts over time, and the language of the organizational mission is never revised to reflect this change. Without both a clear personal mission and a concrete organizational mission, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the mundane details of daily tasks and not make the larger moves necessary to improve your company’s efficiency and profitability. Take the time to spell out—in as detailed terms as possible—your personal goals as a business owner and the vision, mission, values, and beliefs of your organization.
2. Regularly analyze your current operations in the context of your business environment.
It’s common business practice to conduct SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats) analyses to monitor the performance of your company, though perhaps businesses conduct these less frequently than they should. And yet it’s easy to situate these analyses in the climate in which you started your business rather than the current business climate. Take the time to research the current environmental factors affecting your business so that your SWOT analyses give you accurate data about your company’s performance.
3. Establish make-or-break priorities and develop concrete plans for their implementation.
Make a list of the key issues affecting your business and then prioritize them. For the make-or-break priorities—those action items whose implementation or lack thereof will significantly impact your company’s operation—establish detailed plans for their realization and develop quantitative metrics for assessing the efficacy of these plans.
4. Dedicate time to hiring and developing the right employees.
The right employee in the right position can make all the difference in how a company (especially a small business) functions. To attract and retain the best talent, first outline the needs of your organization and then create positions based on these needs. Next, write detailed job descriptions (which should be periodically updated), determine the skill sets required, and then hire employees based on this data. Finally, structure plans for incentive compensation and employee development. Attention to individual development plans is especially important, as good employees will leave your organization if their talents are not encouraged and their growth not promoted.
5. Create an outside board of advisors.
It can be difficult for the small business owner to identify his or her company’s needs and areas requiring attention. That’s why it’s important to have objective feedback, which is best provided by an outside board of advisors. Engaging a team of external advisors will help keep one’s company operating at optimum levels.
By implementing these changes, small business owners will make significant headway in systematizing their companies, with the end result being that they will free up more of their time to enjoy the fruits of their labor—within and outside of their organization.
For detailed advice about how best to approach these tasks, enroll in the WOW! Business Advisory e-learning course through Sound Wisdom Learning Academy. This online course will help you take your business to WOW! success by providing detailed instruction in the Five P System of Professional Management. Interested in the course but want to learn more before buying? Click here to claim your free e-book of Five P’s to a WOW! Business, which can be used on its own or in conjunction with the e-learning course.