Work-life balance is not something that is on top of mind for many entrepreneurs and small business owners. After all, when you have customers expecting immediate response, employees asking for help, vendors waiting for payments, all at the same time how can you even think about taking time off from work. Life can wait until you have established your business. Once you have put the business on the right path you can go back to enjoying the life, right? Wrong. Let’s face it. When you are running a small business will there ever be time when you will not need to take care of this?
Project management is a must have skill for small business owners as well as managers and executives of large companies. Anyone can dream up new projects without much effort. Only those who can execute those projects stand to succeed in their endeavor. History is rife with examples of projects, large and small, that have either failed or overrun their time and budget because they were not managed well. The managers in charge of these projects did not possess and exhibit necessary skills required to take them to the finish line.
Whether you’re a small business owner, aspiring entrepreneur or hard-working professional, the battle to constantly produce good work is ongoing. Maybe it’s the monotony of workloads or effort we put forth to get better, but seasons of high productivity seem to come and go. If you’re stuck in a slump, you’re not alone. Millions of professionals struggle to meet expectations every day. Luckily, the parade of employees and entrepreneurs hoping to boost their output has led to helpful tools and strategies.
Every business undergoes a lull at some point. Even the most trailblazing, rip-roaring successes either see a period of plateau in the sales figures, a drop off in engagement online, an unexpected downtime or a hush in the office.
But don’t panic.
Quite periods can be caused by a variety of factors – seasonality, block holiday periods, geo-political changes, strikes, illness, market uncertainty, recessions – you name it.
The fact is – it happens; it’s part of the cycle.
It can be incredibly frustrating, primed as you are with all that energy ready to channel into your business, only to be denied when you try and side-step the inevitable.
But, knowing their inevitability, you can prepare for these periods with a strategy of how to use them productively and constructively.
Here are some little nuggets to think about when that next low wave rolls in.
“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit” – Andrew Carnegie. Show me a small business owner who doesn’t like to delegate, and I will show you someone who will not be able to grow beyond a certain point. Small business owners are called Chief Everything Officers (CEO) who are required to take care of all aspects of running a business. If you do not have good time management skills you are going to run out of steam at some point.
A big part of time management skills is learning to delegate tasks to others. The problem is, not everyone feels comfortable with delegation for the fear that if they do not take care of tasks themselves they will not be completed to their satisfaction. This is a myth! From my own experience I can tell you that with proper planning it is possible to successfully delegate tasks and get them completed to your satisfaction. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day, and you have to go to sleep at some point! So what is the secret to successful delegation? Read on…
Is there such a thing as “right” business for you? It is a fact that not everyone is suitable to become a small business owner. There are signs that tell you whether you will succeed in owning a small business. But once you know that you have what it takes to be a small business owner, can you take it one step further and figure out which type of business will be a good fit? I think the answer is YES.
Cash flow is a lifeblood for small business. Fail to plan properly for the month-end cash flow needs and you will start losing your sleep when the time arrives to write paychecks for employees or to pay vendor bills. That’s why it is very important to keep a keen eye on money coming in and going out, and plan for those times when you will need sizeable cash outflow. Not only that, but you have to take into account unexpected emergencies that will force you to spend money here and now. In earlier post, we showed how managing your inventory, account payables and receivables can help you better manage your cash flow.
In addition to those tips, you should also look at the obvious as well as not-so-easy-to-find ways in which small business owners squander cash and end up in dire situations. Here are examples of the mistakes many small business owners make and how you can avoid them.
In the previous post we explained that there is a subtle, but important difference between working ON your business and FOR it. The difference stems partly from how the business owner is thinking about the future of his business. Is he preparing the business for long-term success or worrying about day-to-day cash flow? Great companies are created when the founders focus on long-term viability of business and lay strong foundation, even if it means sacrificing short-term gains. Just look at the examples of great companies of today – Microsoft, Dell, Facebook, Apple and so on! All of their founders worked didn’t focus on short-term gains in the early stage of their companies.
In the previous post we highlighted that the most difficult decisions you will ever make are the ones where you decide NOT to move forward. By focusing your resources and energy on narrowly you can achieve number of benefits and get higher return on your investment of time, money or effort. We mentioned how Apple has succeeded to become the most valuable company in the U.S. by applying this principle, while GM had floundered by spreading resources over multiple brands with lot of overlaps.
You should use this approach in decision making every step of the way. If you take a step back and think about the decision in terms of cost vs. benefit of the current choice and evaluate it against alternatives you can improve the odds of making the right choice. You can use this principle in number of different areas as shown below.