Failing fast is something every small business needs to learn to be good at. Mistakes are inevitable, sure, but it’s the mistakes you avoid, and the lessons you learn from the ones you can’t, that truly matters. When it comes to management, the cost of a mistake is even higher. Mismanagement leads to other problems such as low productivity, ineffective internal communication and, eventually, profit loss. You can save yourself all that grief by simply heeding our warning and avoiding these four small business management blunders.
Failing to delegate
The temptation to do everything yourself is a natural part of being a manager – it will never leave you. However, inability to delegate work has never led to better business. For one thing, it’s impossible to do everything a on your own and even if you could, there aren’t enough hours in the day. By trusting your staff and delegating tasks to them, you free yourself to focus on more important matters that no one else but you can attend to. If you’ve hired capable talent and equipped them with the necessary resources to meet their goals, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be able to delegate almost any task to someone else in the business and keep your eyes trained on the bottom line.
Without a leader around to guide them, your staff won’t perform to the best of their potential. This means that a manager at large is just as counterproductive as a micromanager. There’s a balance to be struck between smothering your employees and not being available. Every employee, no matter how talented they are at their job, will need supervision, they’ll need to voice their concerns and confer with their leadership – these are all things that you need to be available for. If, for whatever reason, your employees feel neglected, they won’t feel valued by the company – and this, invariably, leads to disgruntled workers who will likely underperform.
Not setting clear goals
A manager without a plan is barely a manager at all. Every business, regardless of size, should have some big scheme in place to function as a roadmap. On a day-to-day basis there are bound to be curveballs, but if you know where you want to take the business, any deviations from the master plan should be easily accommodated. By no means should your plan be set in stone, but it should illustrate clear business objectives for the future. Many small business managers are tempted to wing it once business starts booming, but it becomes obvious very quickly (through the breakdown of cash flow and productivity, for example) when a business is half baked.
Growing too fast
In the business world, “growing too fast” might sound like an oxymoron, but rest assured that it is a very real and present danger. Growth is the primary goal of most, if not all, small businesses. However, there’s nothing worse than a business that is taking on more than it can handle. Growing too quickly can effectively throttle a business’ resources beyond repair. Scaling up is another term for growing but it carries with it more positive connotations. Scaling is always in response to consumer demand, the state of the market and the business’ capabilities. Scaling, therefore, is never too late or too soon because of all of the elements that have to align perfectly for it to happen. So whenever you entertain the idea of growth, mentally substitute the word “scaling” and you’ll find that you’re less likely to rush or force it.
HOMEMAKERSfair has been in the industry for 35 years, growing and scaling from a small business to an industry authority on the effective marketing of home improvements and renovations. Along the way we’ve learned a few valuable lessons.
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