The number one business management tool you can use to better your business is goals. Long term goals, short term goals and mid range goals too. In fact, when you started your business, you wrote a business plan right? Did your business plan include your goals?
Business goals can include anything from how much you want to gross this year to how many hours you want to work. In fact, it’s a common business management goal to work as few hours as possible and make a substantial income. It’s one of the reasons many people start an online business in the first place.
So what are your goals? As you write down your goals, take the time to make sure they meet the following criteria. Are your goals measurable? It isn’t enough to make a goal that you want to make more money or you want to work less. How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Quantify your goals so they’re measurable and you know when you’ve achieved success.
Make your goals timely. What is your deadline for your goal? If you don’t have a deadline for your goal, they’ll slip away and never get accomplished. A deadline makes you accountable for your goals. Along with timely is the ability to make your goals attainable. There’s nothing worse than setting a goal that is so beyond your reach you end up feeling defeated. Create your goals wisely, establish a plan to achieve them and you’ll create a pattern of success that will expand beyond your business and into your personal life too.
Set your business up the right way
By setting your business up, we’re talking about both as an entity, LLC, sole proprietor, s corp. etc.., as well as setting it up separate from your personal life. Get a separate business account. Obtain a business address and phone number. Separate and set up your business as an individual entity. Personal and business credit operate independently of one another.
It is important to keep the two separate. This not only protects you legally it covers you with the government and tax system.
Take the time to meet with an accountant to get a best practices system established for accounting, this means all of your payables, receivables and taxes. If you take these measures in the beginning, you’ll make your business life easier both day to day and in the long run.
Automate what you can
The wonder of doing business online is that there are so many features and tasks you can automate. Invoicing can be automated, shipping and fulfillment can be automated. Email marketing can be automated, tracking your web statistics, advertising and even content distribution can all be automated.
Automate everything you can to enable yourself more free time to spend on tasks that generate profits or simply to give you more free time to enjoy your life. Even when it comes business finances or budgeting, you can automate it with business performance management software.
Speaking of saving yourself time. Outsourcing is a fantastic tool to give your business a step up and to give you a little less stress. Many self-employed business owners, work somewhere between 40 and 80 hours a week. It can be a lot of stress to own a business and handle every single task and responsibility. That is just one reason to consider outsourcing – save your sanity and spend more time focusing on you and your family.
There are a number of tasks you may be considering outsourcing. They generally fall into a few categories:
- Administrative tasks
These are often time consuming tasks that do not have a high hourly value, yet they need to be accomplished to make your business run effectively and efficiently.
- Professional tasks.
These tasks often fall under the realm of copy writing, scripting, managing an affiliate program, marketing tasks and the like. They are important to your bottom line, however they can be effectively handled by an outside professional at a nominal hourly value.
- Technical tasks
These are tasks that may take you some time to learn how to do. They often fall under the realm of creating software, databases, special web languages, and so on. These are time stealers simply because of the time it would take for you to learn how to do these particular tasks. Their hourly value can be quite high. The impact on your bottom line varies from task to task. If you’re creating a new web element, it may contribute directly to profits.
Take a look at your job description. What can you outsource to make your business run more efficiently?
Tell people what you want, not how to do it – create systems and accountability
Delegating responsibilities is good business. Here are a few ideas on how to work with others for maximum results. Establish a system of communication that works for both you and your employee. Use the system to include what you want accomplished and by when. Use the rules for goal setting; make the task measurable, timely, and attainable.
Communicate the task clearly. Make sure that all deadlines, resources, and task responsibilities are thoroughly communicated. Ask your employee questions to make sure task is understood. Once you assign the task, let it go. When you let go, you can focus on tasks required to grow your business and improve profits.Upon completion of the task provide feedback to your employee.
If constructive criticism is required, sandwich it between positive feedback for best results and to ensure a quality working relationship.
Business plans and budgets
It is a good business practice to have a business budget built right into your business plan. This is particularly important if you plan on seeking financing for your business. Having an accurate and realistic budget will enable you to make educated spending decisions.When creating a business budget your first step is often to determine your expenses. Your expenses include operating costs, taxes, the costs of outsourcing, marketing, publicity and so on. Make a list of all categories you anticipate having costs and all areas where you already know your expenses.
A budget is not a money diet, it is a spending plan and this is particularly important when it comes to your business. You want to make sure you have enough money to pay your bills and grow your business. Have credit available to you, but only use it when absolutely necessary. Learn which small business credit card is right for your small business. Track your expenses and income and review your budget often. If you find you’re spending more in one category, make the adjustments in your budget.
When it comes to owning and operating a business, a few good business management practices can go a long way. Take the time to organize your life, outsource and automate what you can, establish processes to communicate your needs clearly, and structure your planning and spending in a way that makes sense for you.