Small Business Management Tips
Simultaneously running a team, handling major challenges, and constantly managing both stakeholder and customer expectations is no easy feat. It’s a daily reality for the majority of SME owners, who must wear many hats in order to drive their businesses forward.
If this describes you, then there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself occasionally having to tunnel-vision on certain challenges, and prioritising some aspects of the business over others. In order to restore balance and help you maintain a wider view of how your business could ideally be operating, we’ve pulled together some tips and pointers that will hopefully spark fresh ideas and help you check that everything is in order.
What makes a good manager?
Firstly, then, what are your responsibilities as a manager? Unlike perhaps a director of a blue-chip company, you’re much closer to the ground as an SME owner, and must tap into how your employees are getting along while also managing your own massive workload.
To make sure you’re on the right tracks, you could ask yourself the following questions to take stock of your efficacy as a manager:
- Are you creating a sense of team within your organisation? Do your employees feel like they’re on a journey with you and the company, with shared goals and objectives?
- Do your employees feel supported in an individual capacity? Are they suffering from mental health challenges, and are their work-life balances healthy?
- Is development being properly addressed with your employees? It’s important to lay out development plans for each employee and connect with them about the fact that you’re both individuals working within an organisation that should serve both of your interests. With a clear progression or learning plan in place, it may become easier to focus on more immediate problems and daily challenges.
- Is camaraderie a characteristic of your team? Looking deeper into the relationships between your employees, do they like each other? Have you created ample opportunity for them to get to know each other and spend time together? Have new employees been properly onboarded? If not, work socials could be a good place to start.
Becoming closer to your team and creating an environment whereby people want to openly share ideas can result in more opportunities spotted, higher motivation levels, and perhaps ultimately a higher quality of work.
Small business management software
Even the most experienced SME owners may struggle to run a business without having the right suite of tools in place. We operate in a modern, digital world whereby technological solutions can help us monitor all of our activity, and empower us with data and insights that improve our decision making.
So, do you have the right software infrastructure in place? If not, you may want to consider a package solution.
All in one CRM software
If your role includes managing a lot of different digital channels, such as Twitter, Instagram, reviews platforms and perhaps even Google My Business reviews, then there’s a good chance you don’t have enough time to dive into individual analytics accounts regularly.
In this instance, you may find yourself neglecting specific channels, which may limit your understanding of which areas require improvement, and which skills your business needs to bring on board via new recruits.
Having an all-in-one marketing platform could help to make monitoring all activity significantly more manageable, by giving you the top-level insights (such as channel reach and engagements) you need to keep things ticking over. If you rely heavily on email marketing, a CRM such as MailChimp could be a good place to start, or perhaps review some of the best social media tools in market.
This thinking also applies to your financial management. Arming your business with a digital accountancy package could really help you understand how your cash flow is moving each month, and automate your cash flow forecasting.
Bolstering your breadth of expertise
Building on the idea that SME owners must wear many hats, it’s important to have a decent amount of expertise in each of the major disciplines to ensure you can fully support and manage your team.
That doesn’t mean you need a complete 10,000-hour mastery of every discipline, just enough of a bigger-picture understanding of how the key disciplines in your business work, and how they interplay.
With this in place, it becomes easier for you to make decisions around how much time and resource to invest into certain parts of your business because you know how each of the elements interplay, and how they affect your bottom line both in the short and long-term.
Key areas to brush up on include:
When it comes to the marketing mix, there’s an awful lot to consider. Some of the focal areas include:
- Having a robust marketing plan that covers everything from SWOT analysis to specific tactics you’re using to ensure your message is heard.
- Reassessing the performance of each of your channels and ensuring resources are allocated in a way that promotes the most ROI is essential for SME owners.
Overcoming operational challenges and seizing opportunities on a daily basis that help you become more profitable is essential. It could be wise to consider whether you’re doing everything you can with regards to your:
- Research and development (R&D).
- Processes for sourcing raw materials and buying goods.
If you’re handling HR by yourself within a small business, there can be a lot to take in at first. Perhaps the most important aspect of this process is managing your recruitment activity. We’ve produced an in-depth guide which should help you understand every element of this process which is worth checking out if you’re in need of a little assistance.
There are further aspects of HR to consider, including ensuring that you have the right employee wellbeing policies in place, that your employees understand how redundancy is handled, and that you have a robust pension policy.
To make sure that you’re at the top of your finance game, do the following:
- Check that your accountancy policies are up to date with our small business accountancy tips.
- Make sure you’re getting the right level of insight from your cash flow forecasting. This could include looking at bringing a digital accounting package on board, or just revising your manual forecasting process to check you’ve covered all bases.
- There’s also external finance to consider. Have you identified how you’ll source finance externally if times are tough? Do you have access to a finance facility that can assist your cash flow? If not, this could be worth exploring.
For more insights, check out our SME finance guide.
Our tips on running a small business
One final tip from the team at Rapid Cash would be to keep on networking and staying up to date with the latest developments in your industry. There’s always a tonne of technological advancements affecting UK businesses, whether they centre on software, legislation, sustainability, or interpreting customer buying behaviour.
Reading industry news is something that can quickly fall off your radar if you’re working a long week, but tapping into it from time-to-time could add value to your business, so it shouldn’t be overlooked entirely.
We hope our small business management tips prove helpful to you. For more insights into running a business, managing cash flow, and understanding the world of finance, bookmark our blog and stay tuned.
How could Rapid Cash help?
At NatWest Rapid Cash, we understand that small business owners face numerous pressures and work long hours to keep everything in balance. We specialise in helping SMEs maintain financial balance, with our digital invoice financing product that can give you a cash advance on your unpaid invoices to help improve your cash flow.
Our innovative solution connects with your digital accountancy package, then allows you to choose which of your outstanding invoices you’d like to borrow against. From there, you can receive a cash advance that allows you to mobilise your money without having to wait 30-120 days for the invoice to be paid. If this sounds like a solution that could benefit your business, read more about our product.
To be eligible for Rapid Cash you must be trading for more than 6 months, have an annual turnover of at least £100k and either be a Limited Company or Limited Liability Partnership in England and Wales. Additionally, you need to invoice other businesses and use one of the following digital accounting software: Xero, Quickbooks, Sage 50, Kashflow, FreeAgent and Netsuite.
Security and guarantee required. Product fees may apply.