Mastering management skills to help your business succeed

There’s no getting around it: one of the key contributors to failure in small and medium-sized businesses (and sometimes even big ones) is poor management. Altogether too many people think that because they can build a business they can run one, and try to learn on the job. Others get out of their depth at a departmental level, inadvertently undermining the rest of the enterprise. However, it doesn’t need to be like this. What makes the difference is recognizing that a manager isn’t just there to tell people what to do – good management requires specific skills. If you want to make a success of it, these are some of the things you have to learn.

Strategic thinking

The first thing you need to understand is that management isn’t just internal – it’s about understanding the position of each department within the company as a whole, understanding how that company fits into its sector, and understanding how that sector fits into the wider economy. This makes it possible to make effective decisions about actions that are needed and how finances should be managed. A manager has to be able to see the big picture, and should aim to plan about three years ahead while remaining flexible enough to account for changing circumstances.

Networking

Part of a manager’s job is to network, both within the company and outside it. Good networking brings in opportunities for improving the mechanics of the supply chain. It provides the chance to keep on learning new techniques for internal use, and it helps you to keep your finger on the pulse as far as developments within your sector are concerned. Networking doesn’t just take place at formal events, so you should be ready to get out and about and build up useful social connections.

Time management

In order for a business to run smoothly, everybody needs to be coordinated. This means that sticking to deadlines is really important. Managers not only need to get their own work done on time but also need to make sure that everybody in their teams do. This isn’t just about pushing people. You’ll also need to be aware of their individual capacities and make sure that work is portioned out in a manner that is practical, even if that doesn’t always seem fair.

Setting objectives

In order to facilitate work getting done on time and employees being able to engage with it enthusiastically, managers need to be able to set clear objectives and persuade their teams of their importance. At the most basic level, employees know that their livelihood depends on the company’s success, but they need to understand why particular actions are important to that success, and they need to have a clear picture of what’s required of them. As a rule, they will be more efficient when they can see how what they have been asked to do will contribute to the whole.

Communication

Communicating successfully with employees, board members, and others requires real flexibility on a manager’s part. This is one of the most important aspects of the job, and the reason why, for instance, Washington State’s online MBA program offers specialist courses in communications. First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that individuals vary and that information can’t always be delivered in a one-size-fits-all way. To be successful, you will need to be able to identify and adapt to the needs of your team. You’ll also need to be strong on formal communication techniques, especially for external use.

Investing in people

Ultimately, a manager can achieve nothing without a good team, but it’s the manager’s job to refine and develop that team. This means that you’ll need to be able to identify talents that should be brought to the fore, deal with clashes between team members, and identify weaknesses that suggest the need for additional training. All this will be more successful if your team members feel valued as individuals and are able to develop real trust in you, so you will need to work hard to be seen as supportive, attentive, and fair.

Good management enables a business to optimize its assets – including human ones – and punch above its weight in the marketplace. Management skills can be learned, but this is only possible when managers accept that they don’t know everything already and are willing to see themselves not only as bosses but also as functional parts of a larger business organism. If you’re ready for this, sharpening up your skills could enable you to take your business to the next level.

Continue Reading

Don’t Leave Your Business Financially Strapped

When running a home business, you’ve typically got much on your mind.

From lining up enough clients to make the business affordable to making sure said clients pay you on time, those are just two of the many tasks you’ve got going for you.

Before that home business ever literally opened its front doors, it needed some form of financial capital to help it get off the ground.

Whether you had money stored up previously, had assistance from family and/or friends, or even took out a loan recently, making sure your financial affairs are in order is critical.

So, how do you go about making sure to not leave your home business financially strapped?

Learn as Your Home Business Grows

Part of being a good home business owner is learning as you grow.

From knowing when your business is in need of a capital infusion to understanding how to obtain secure credit card processing, you must always be on your toes when it comes to finances.

Whether you are looked at as a high-risk merchant or someone who is hoping to have an Ecommerce business take flight alongside your other business ventures, you must make sure you and money are on the same page.

Ways to go about doing this include:

  • Not getting in over your head – First and foremost, always have a financial plan in place whether you’ve owned a home business for years or are just getting your feet wet in the arena. Some home business owners are great with ordering needed supplies, meeting customer deadlines, even managing the help under them that they may need along the way. So what could be their one fault? If you guessed managing money, you’re right. It is super important to not only know how to manage your company’s money, but to be able to sense the warning signs when things are not going well. Instead of burying you and your business in still more debt, recognize the signs when it is time to get assistance;
  • Getting paid on time – As a home business owner, you don’t get a paycheck every two weeks nor typically healthcare benefits managed for you as such in a “normal” corporate job. As the person in charge, it is up to you to make sure clients are paying you the money they owe on time. If they’re not, you can easily fall behind on your own bills, starting a dangerous precedent for your home business and your overall finances. Keep clients to a regular schedule when it comes to payments. In the event they are late with them, send out reminders, along with charging interest. If they totally remove themselves from paying their bills, look to a collection agency as a possibility, though you will end up paying a portion of the money you receive from the client to the agency in return for their assistance. For those customers paying by credit card, you need to always make sure their card info is up to date so there are no problems having a payment go through. If they pay by check, don’t excuse them if they get in the habit of bouncing checks here and there. Lastly, if you have friends or even family purchasing goods or services from your home business, avoid the old IOU policy. Yes, they’re your friends and/or family, but they should treat you as a respected business owner, knowing getting your payments on time is critical to you continuing to operate;
  • Keep business and home money separate – It can be tempting at times to borrow a little money here or there from your personal account or accounts in order to prop up your home business. You probably figure that both are tied together, so why not do it, right? There are a number of dangers if you decide to go down that road, so avoid it at all costs. The most inherent risk is that you will eat into your personal expenses for the sake of your business needs. When that happens, those dollars you had put away for personal needs and/or a rainy day fund can take quite a beating in just a short period of time. Always make sure that your personal expenses come first. No, you don’t want your home business regularly in the red or even potentially going under, but having a roof over your head, health insurance, food on the table etc. should always be your number one priority.

Having a home business under your direction can be one of your lifetime dreams.

The key is to managing it properly, knowing the warning signs of cash issues, and making sure you are doing everything possible under your power to be a financially smart business owner.

When you do those three things, you are less likely to leave your home business financially strapped.

Continue Reading

Tips on How to Make Your Own Business a Reality

Many people throughout their lives will have that light-bulb moment, you know the one, when an idea hits you for an innovation or an enterprise that you think could work. The sad truth is that far too many people don’t follow through with their ideas which can lead to regrets later in life or the possibility that someone else will come along with your idea and make it a success. There are many reasons why people won’t indulge their ideas and turn their dream into reality, whether it is fear, a lack of confidence or simply a defeatist attitude that stops them from doing this. If you fall into the bracket of having a fantastic idea and you’re not sure how to follow it through, then here are some tips on how to make your own business a reality.

Don’t Fear Failure

Almost every business or product that has been taken to the market has suffered setbacks along the way, these set backs are not failures, far from it. In fact, set backs are exactly what you need in order to perfect your craft, business or product and in a way, they should be welcomed. The notion of not trying something out in case you fail is one that should be dispelled from your mind, just go for it.

Research and Plan

maxresdefault-1

65% of start-up business’ fail in their first year, the reasons for this are usually a failure to understand the market and the competition and an overly optimistic financial forecast. Before you even consider heading into the marketplace, it is imperative that you understand your target customers and the competition that you may face. Spending time on this in the beginning is the difference between failure and success. From a financial standpoint, you should always have a full and realistic plan for income and expenditure in the first year, the best approach in year 1 is to be frugal and sensible with how and where you spend your money. Small business loans are a great idea when you are starting out but make sure that you borrow within your means as if you fail to do so then this will bring added pressure to your business.

Make Friends

Creating a community of support around you is one of the most important things you can do for your business, regardless of what field you are entering in to. Whether it be making contacts within advertising or people higher up the food chain than you, if you create these contacts in then beginning then they will pay you dividends in the future. Remember to offer help and support to others if you wish to receive the same thing in return.

Take Advice

You may well think that your idea is the best thing since sliced bread, while this may be true it is important that you never become arrogant in your decision-making. Always seek help and advice from others who either know you well or know the marketplace well. The wisest businessmen and entrepreneurs out there make the best decisions because they seek counsel and you should be no different, even if you are convinced of a certain path or strategy, you should always bounce it off someone first to see if they can see any cracks or holes in your plan.

Continue Reading