Owning and running a small business can be tough. This is especially true if your SMB is new. In fact, 30% of new businesses are expected to fail within their first years. Furthermore, 50% will fail within the first five years and only 44% will make it past the first 10 years. To be one of the 44%, it takes skill and, along with that, a greater knowledge of both processes and human behavior. Here are just a few of the critical skills that you should learn about that can help lead your business to success.
Manage a Budget
Every business should have its own procedures to plan and account for its budget. Budgets determine your spending limits over time. Spreadsheets or bookkeeping software make this easier to do, but you still need to account for employee time, supplies, accidents, reworks, and business capital. Failure to have a budget or, rather, to be disciplined with one can be a real internal challenge for a business in any industry, no matter how small or large they may be. You can’t let these things get out of hand to the point where you aren’t providing competitive returns on what you spend.
One good way to help you keep a budget is to keep records long term. At the end of every quarter, evaluate the past quarter so that you can make estimations about what needs to be done and how much can be spent over the next quarter. At the end of every year, you should then look at all of the figures that you have compiled over the past year. Doing so will help you know more about the profits that have been made, where you can cut costs, and how much more you can spend. This will then help you determine the amount that you will expect to need for the following year.
Plan Effective Meetings
Most employees don’t care for spending precious time in meetings while work is piling up. As the big boss, it’s your responsibility to schedule meetings wisely and make them productive. Establish in advance what you need to know and the objectives you want to achieve in order to consider the meeting a success. To align with these objectives, determine who needs to be there. Schedule two or three days in advance and ask for RSVPs. During the meeting, keep control of what’s done and said to avoid wasted time and distractions.
Delays, break-downs, conflicts, motivation, and mistakes are all issues you’re going to have to address. You need to upgrade your knowledge to solve more complex and recurring problems. Continuing education can keep your abilities growing and your success progressing. For example, an at-school or online MPA degree will enhance skillsets such as project management and team building. You’ll be better equipped to spot any potential problems, determine why they’re happening, and explore ways these issues can be fixed.
Being in charge is more than making decisions and giving orders. It’s about creating effective relationships and streamlining your process. Fairness, honesty, and consistency are important. Employees won’t respect you or trust you if they can’t count on you to follow the rules, particularly your own rules. You must learn to make timely, informed decisions, not assumptions or emotional reactions. If you can learn to honestly gauge your own performance and professional relationships, the quality of your leadership will rise.
Successful ownership is about rising to the occasion. This requires expanding your knowledge and improving your organizational skills.