Follow these top 5 tips for Mom and Pop businesses to create more time and make better use of their resources:
1- Use effective systems.
Systemise as many things about the business as is practical. Keep a written manual that can be referred to by everyone as is necessary. It doesn’t have to be excessive but should include all major daily operations of the business including opening and closing procedures, financial procedures, sales, training, hiring and firing to name a few.
2- Learn to let go!
Smaller operators often feel they have to do everything themselves! Trust is an issue even if they do have competent staff. If they can’t control it, it won’t be done correctly. Often (assuming correct training is in place) the complete opposite is true. Staff given the chance to perform without fear of being overshadowed often will live up to expectations if the directions are clear. The owner should spend less time on the daily operations and more on growing the business – this only will work if they learn to ‘let go’ of their ‘baby’!
This is the most effective way I know to create more time and use resources more efficiently in a small business. A proper training program (not a half a day orientation for new staff) will allow you to build your business without fear of losing control of the direction you want it to go. Usually an effective training program will last anywhere from 3 months to 1 year. This allows new skills to be developed, re-training to occur if necessary, measurable evaluation and eventual movement of staff into a more senior role or responsibility within the business once again creating more time.
4- Money management.
Learn how to manage your money creatively – not just worry about day to day cash flows. Use small resources now to buy assets into the business that will build long term financial stability for the owner later. Things like real estate, patents, licenses, trademarks and so forth. Expanding your base (no matter how small) to include outside revenue that will grow irrespective of the growth of the base business itself. Similar to an employee who puts money into a retirement fund which is outside of their income generated from a job. As the tax laws differ for business owners, understanding these differences, can give you more time, money and assets in 5 years than most employees can accumulate in 20 years.
5- Passive power partnerships.
Simply a fancy term for working with others. It may be other business owners, working as part of a larger co-operative, bringing on agents or selling licenses to help expand your brand. The bottom line is simple. Find as many ways to move your product or service as possible without excessive costs (like franchising or new outlets). If you are selling a retail product from a retail outlet – find new distribution channels online or through other retail outlets rather than opening up new stores of your own. For a service that’s a little unique or has a higher level of quality control than others in your industry, try and license your ‘best practise procedures’ to other companies rather than bringing on new staff.
Think as wide as possible, set objectives, plan well and don’t give up!