If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you know that there’s a lot to growing a sustainable business. Maybe a lot more than what you bargained for.
But without going back to get a business degree (because who has time for that!?), how do you gain the knowledge you need to be successful?
You lean on others.
There are so many resources out there to help guide you on your path to success, for brand new start-ups and established businesses that are moving to the next level.
I’ve been in business a long time and while I don’t claim to be an expert at every stage, I’ve certainly had learning lessons along the way. And because I care about others’ success, I wanted to share some of what you’ll need to manage your small business now and in the future.
Your business structure is the foundation for everything you do in your business. It informs how to deal with taxes and payroll, deal with the day-to-day work that you do, and can even safeguard your own personal assets.
If you’re brand new to business, it’s important to do your research and choose a business structure that works for you. The Small Business Administration has more information about this, or talk to an attorney or accountant to help you make this decision.
Manage Your Finances
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make with their finances, especially early on, is not open a separate business account. When you mix business and personal finances, your business loses its autonomy and your personal finances get really messy.
You need to be able to reconcile your business finances every month so you know how much you’re spending and how much you’re making so you can make important decisions about your business. Without separate accounts, it’s hard to understand the financial health of your business.
There are other reasons for separating your business and personal finances, not the least of which is that it’s legally required for some business structures. And having separate accounts allows you to develop systems around your money that will help you out as you grow.
Be the CEO
When you first started your business, chances are pretty good that you did almost everything. As you start to grow, you’re slowly able to start letting things go and hiring help to support some of the things you don’t like to do, don’t want to do, or don’t know how to do. Things like back-end tech, administrative tasks, marketing, bookkeeping, and so on.
As your business grows, it’s important to step into (or stay in) those CEO shoes and be the leader of your organization…no matter its size or your dreams for the future. You had a vision, which is why you started your business. Stand in that vision and let others take on the tasks that they’re experts in. This opens space for you to work on the business growth you want. When you outsource, you get to be the face and the voice of your business.
That leads me to the importance of hiring. I subscribe to the idea that you should always be hiring and always looking for that next rockstar in your business. If you wait until you’re desperate for help, you’ve waited too long and risk bringing someone on just to fill a void; not because they’re best suited for the role.
Develop Your Systems
Systems are an integral part of any business and they’re even more important as you grow and scale. When you develop a standard operating system (SOP) for different tasks in your business, it’s so much easier to outsource and let go of certain tasks. And your systems help to release some of the brainpower you’d typically use in doing a task.
Your systems are basically your instruction book on how to run your business.
Manage Your Time Wisely
Time management is everything when it comes to being a business owner. You probably started your business for time and financial freedom, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of working too many hours in an effort to increase your income.
You don’t have to work 24/7 to bring in the revenue you desire. In fact, I think that’s a sure way to burn yourself out quickly. Instead, I recommend having a calendar where all your business and personal events and meetings live. It’s really easy to connect your family and work calendars digitally so you can see everything in one place.
For your business tasks (the to-do’s you need to get done every day), invest some time into setting up a project management system. This will come in handy when you start to grow and need to outsource some of your tasks. And for those bigger projects, break them down into more manageable pieces and commit to getting three things done every day or every week so you can keep up the momentum.
This is only the start of managing your new or growing business to success. But once you have your structure, finances, and systems set up, you can show up better as the CEO and ensure that your time is spent wisely each day. Then you can start thinking about growth and scaling!
If you need help getting started, we’d love to help. Our Profit First Overview can help you get your finances set up in a systematic way, taking the stress and guesswork out of your money. Get your free copy today.