Small Business Management

Improving Your Small Business Management Technique

Managing a small business is no small feat. With small business owners frequently handling the marketing, sales, accounting, training, customer service, purchasing, and product development parts of the business, there’s always plenty to do, to say the least. But you can cut trim your to-do lists by better understanding your management style and following some tips designed specifically for small business owners.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), small business owners work 50 to 59 hours per week on average. However, 38% of owners agreed that poor time management challenged their productivity. It’s clear that small business owners don’t need to work more hours to increase their productivity. Rather, you need to find ways to work smarter. Luckily, there are ways to boost your management game and help increase the productivity of your business. After deciding on a management style that best fits your business, you can find tools to support your style.

What makes for great small business management?

People are at the heart of every business. And businesses — of any size — cannot succeed without visionary leadership and great day-to-day management.

So what’s the difference between management and leadership? Broadly speaking, leaders set vision and strategy and drive company goals while managers focus on execution at a team level, setting direction and priorities for the employees who report to them. Leading and managing aren’t mutually exclusive. Most leaders manage and lead people, especially in small businesses.

Great management means different things to different people and organizations, but most would agree it combines achieving measurable results with building a positive company culture on a day-to-day basis. Salesforce has published a course about management on Trailhead, the company’s free, interactive learning platform. The trail, “Manage the Salesforce Way,” details the company philosophy on what makes a great manager, including the aptly named GREAT Manager Framework. The framework breaks great management down into these five characteristics:

Salesforce Smart: Know your business, top to bottom and inside out.
Get It Done: Always help your team get the work done well.
Win as a Team: You’re successful when your team is successful.
Motivate and Champion: Motivate your teams and act as a champion for your team members.
Courageous Communicator: Be bold, candid, respectful, humble, and vulnerable when delivering messages to your team. And always listen to understand first.

Swap your company’s name in for Salesforce in that first characteristic, and you’ve got a basic framework for managing your own small business. Check out the entire trail for more strategies and techniques for coaching and feedback, engagement and retention, accountability and delegation, and much more.

Great managers aren’t born, they’re made through learning and work. Whether yours is a small business of two or 200, it’s never too late (or too early) to put the work in and develop your management skills.

What are top small business management tips?

How you manage both the business and your employees can have a significant impact on the success or failure of your business. In short, your management decisions matter. If you are unhappy with your current management system, review the tips below before choosing the best management tools for your small business.

Build efficiency through systems.

Once a business system is in place, it is easy to teach, replicate, and adjust as the business grows. Systems give a business a consistent framework to operate under. The repetition can create efficiency as employees use the same process from client to client and project to project. It’s also easier to train new employees on the details of the job when consistent systems are in place across the business.

Systems can also translate to multiple areas of the business, creating cohesion across the company. For example, the same reporting system can be used for the sales team, customer service team, and accounting team. This way all the reports are in one place and written with the same structure, making it easier to quickly find important information. As a business grows or changes, the system can be adjusted to fit new needs.

Tips for scaling your business

Learn how you can set up your small business for scalable growth.

Create better time management through delegation.

Some small business owners like to be hands-on in all aspects of their business. Despite 50- to 59-hour workweeks, 38% of small business owners admit that poor time management interferes with their productivity. Delegation may help to solve some of their concerns, but it can be difficult for some small business owners to enact, as they’re used to doing everything themselves. With trustworthy systems in place, however, small business owners can rest easy knowing that critical tasks are being performed just as they’d do them themselves.

Hire people with growth in mind.

A high employee turnover rate can harm a small business through the time and cost associated with training new workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for yearly employee turnover is just over 42%. Some industries have up to 82% annual turnover. Small business owners can help prevent high turnover by hiring the right people and training them well.

While teaching a new skill takes time, it’s much easier than hiring and training new employees. Employees who are loyal to the company and willing to go the extra mile can prove invaluable over the long haul, paying dividends on the upfront costs of hiring and training.

Utilize technology for all of the above.

Today’s software solutions can address almost any aspect of small business that owners need help with. Whether it’s building a cohesive system of processes, opening lines of communication for more delegation, or training new hires, small business owners can increase efficiency and productivity with current technology. Cloud technology also makes it possible to grow your systems with your business. This way you don’t have to learn a whole new software system when your business outgrows its old software system.

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What tools are best for small business management?

Small business software tools can help small business owners maximize their time management efficiency. Some tools make it easier for small business owners to stay organized while others provide more effective communication platforms. No matter what area of your business needs support or what management style you operate under, small business management software can lend a hand.

Small business managers use marketing software solutions.

Busy small business owners can use software solutions to speed up the slowest parts of their marketing campaigns. Automated solutions enable small business owners to work on other areas of the business while their marketing campaigns run in the background. Tools like Marketing Cloud can help small business owners integrate campaigns, send automated follow-up emails with potential customers, and facilitate customer interactions on and off the company website.

Integration and automation can give small business owners the freedom to work on other projects instead of following up individually with each potential lead. Marketing and customer journey management tools show business owners how customers interact with their website, and highlight opportunities for business owners to create more effective points of interaction on the site.

Small business managers use analytics software solutions.

Small business owners can use analytics software like Tableau CRM to help them make better decisions related to sales, marketing, service, finance, and more. This AI-powered software delivers sales predictions to sales teams, suggests next steps to customer service teams, and tracks ROI for marketing teams. The software can help business owners make better business decisions and can help employees make better operational decisions as well.

Small business managers use collaborative software solutions.

Collaborative projects call for collaborative solutions. Salesforce Anywhere provides a desktop-to-mobile platform for real-time collaboration no matter where team members log in from. With everyone having access to spreadsheets, documents, and checklists, small business managers can use Salesforce Anywhere to quickly create systems, delegate assignments, and keep track of where a project is in its process.

Improve your small business management technique with software.

No matter where you’re at in developing your own managerial skills, and no matter which area of your small business needs improving, small business management software is there to help. From time-saving marketing solutions and analytics tools that surface insights from data, to collaborative software that lets team members work and communicate with each other, small business tools can help your business run better. At the end of the day, small business management software helps small businesses work smarter by maximizing their time management efficiency.