Thinking about how to run a small business that will be profitable and successful? Sit right back as I take you on a journey of discovery.
Today, I want to share with you what you need to know to run a profitable and successful small business, especially in today’s world where small businesses do not survive the first five years of existence.
I will tailor this post on how to start, build and grow a small business specifically for people who are responsible for the success of a small business.
S, it will be for business owners in the following categories:
- Those that want to grow their businesses and increase their profits consistently
- Those who might be getting their businesses ready for sale so they can make it more valuable in the marketplace.
- For managers and executives who are fully or partially responsible for the success of a business and
- For people who are considering buying a small business or starting a small business
I’ve always been a big fan of small businesses ever since I was much younger, the majority of my day to day hustling has always been in small businesses too.
Which is why I want to discuss the rudiment on how to start, build and grow a small business
My small business escapade includes: buying and selling of men and women wear, teaching in a local computer school, working as a marketer in telecommunications company and selling of services to individuals and firms.
Also, I did have an opportunity to work for a bigger business firm in the Telecommunication industry.
The money was great there but didn’t like the politics that why I’d like the small business aspect.
Small businesses quite frankly are the backbone of this economy and if we’re going to keep this economy chugging along and get it growing we need more small businesses and we need successful small businesses at that.
As a matter of fact, small businesses employ more than half of the total workforce in this country.
So, if you take out the statistics of the government employees, they probably employ about seventy to seventy-five percent of the private sector workforce.
They contribute about half of the gross domestic product here in Nigeria and in addition, small businesses and small business owners have a very high level of trust in all the surveys in the consuming public.
So, small businesses are the key to our success as we go on into the future, there’s a way to make sure that your small business is running well, structured well, and growing consistently.
so right now, without further ado, let’s get started on all the pieces and parts that go into how to run a small business that will be very successful.
Before I get started on talking to you about the information needed on how to run a small business that will be successful.
I want to tell you a little bit more about my experience with small businesses as I mentioned earlier.
when I was much younger, I worked for small businesses but as life progressed I had the opportunity to co-manage a small business.
I did work as a salesperson and as a sales manager for a small business firm. I also started and grew a small business of my own very successful and for the past five years I’ve been working as a business consultant with employers who had anywhere from five to fifty employees so I’ve been fully entrenched in the small business market and like I said earlier, I love small businesses.
Business Owners’ Want
So, I started out by talking to business owners just randomly and also those that I worked with and said Ok you have a small business why did you decide to go into a small business or what do you want the small business to accomplish for you and everything that they told me to fit into one of these four categories:
Freedom: They maybe wanted the freedom to do the work that they were doing for somebody else in their own way. They wanted the freedom to spend time with their families. they wanted the freedom to explore other things in their lives and make their own decisions. All this signifies that they wanted freedom.
Accomplishment: it was gathered that they wanted a sense of accomplishment. They wanted to build that business so that their family can carry it on or so that it makes the mark in the community or so that it can be a valuable asset to sell going on down the road but they wanted to accomplish something important to them.
Money: Money is another factor that drives people to want to start a business. They just wanted more and more money, they wanted to be responsible for their own income so that they could enjoy the freedom they have always hope for. Also, to create and do other things like travel, spend time with family and whatever it might happen to be.
Fun: They wanted their whole experience to be fun. if you’re going to do all this, if you’re going to work hard and you’re going to express your freedoms and make accomplishments and earn money, it’s much better if you’re having a good time doing it so they wanted fun.
Lessons Extracted on How to Run a Small Business
The unfortunate circumstances are that most of the business owners I talked with agreed that this (the four factors above) is what they wanted but very few of them accomplished all four of them.
The primary reason is that building a business is a specific skillset and they had not either had the time or made out the time.
Or had the money so that they could learn and because of that they were kind of like driving a car that’s not tuned up very well it spits in its butter and you’ve got to have periodic maintenance and you get to where you’re going but it’s not a very fun drive and it takes you much longer than you should.
So, what I’m going to show to you as I said before is about the pieces and parts that go together to make a smooth-running business that you can operate and have freedom, accomplish things, make money, and have fun in the process.
so, what do you need in general to do to accomplish these four things?
- You must have an efficient and effective operation
- You must have a consistently increasing profits
- You must have growth; nothing is static usually you are either shrinking or growing
- you must have a quick and accurate response to the market
If the market changes right now like our market just changed drastically in the last few years. It is observed that those businesses that were prepared did much better than those that weren’t.
So, that’s where we’re going to get started…. everything I will talk to you about from this point forward will be to help you accomplish these four things (Freedom, Accomplishment, Money, and Fun) as a business owner so stay tuned.
Keys to Business Success
All right as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of pieces and parts that go into how to run a small business but if you’re a small business employer, your employees are probably your biggest expense. they’re also your biggest asset, they could be your biggest source of frustration and even though they have all those three components they are the number one key to your success.
your employees are the people that touch everybody else that you do business with internally and externally and how well those interactions go are going to greatly affect the success of your business.
Characteristics of Employees
Happiness: So, to have a successful business as it relates to your employees. your employees need to be happy, they need to look forward to coming to work, they need to enjoy what they’re doing, they need to care about the business that you’re in and the products and services that you offer, they need to be happy doing their jobs.
Productive: there are some statistics that show that the average Nigerian worker only works about fifty or sixty percent of his or her capacity and there are reasons for that and it doesn’t really have anything to do with the intelligence or skill of the employee but we’ll get into those things.
Want: Employees actually want to help your business to be successful that means that they’re going to contribute much more positively and much more consistently.
They need to want to help you grow and succeed and it all boils down to fit.
Fit: You’ve got to get the right people that fit with what you have to offer and how you offer it and how you operate your business every day.
so, we’re going to take a look at next step, how you make sure you get employees that fit well with your business.
Steps to get Befitting Employees into your Business
- Recruiting and Hiring
Ok, so how do we find employees that fit well with your business, those that are going to contribute to your success? Well, it all boils down to the recruiting and hiring process.
Now to make this process very effective takes a little time and preparation but once you have it done it’s done and believe me based on the conversations that I’ve had with business owners, hiring the wrong person can be a very expensive and very frustrating process both during the hiring process and into the work environment.
- Interview Process
so, you want to make sure you do it right the first time or at least maximize your potential of doing it right the first time. so, what are the things that need to be considered while in the interview process?
- Job Requirements: you’re going to have to talk about how well they fit so they need to fit the job requirements the specific duties and responsibilities and results that you expect the person you’re hiring to produce.
- Purpose of the Business: They also have to be a good match for the purpose of your business. why are you in business other than making money? what do you want to accomplish? what do you see for your business going in the future they’ve got to be a good fit with that.
- Values, Principles, and Standards: They also have to fit the values and the principles and the standards that guide your business so they know if they’re doing something right or they’re doing something wrong or they’re doing something your way.
- Management Style: They need to be a good fit with that you also have to have a management style that focuses on things that help people become successful as individuals because of the greater the individual success the greater the business success. if you have people that are successful on their own within a business, they’re going to contribute to the success of your business and remember these are the people that want to help you become successful.
So, you’ve got to have a management style that teaches, that coaches, that can mentor what’s needed, that can help the people grow as individuals and can guide them in the process of doing their work.
So, these are all the things that you’ve got to think about and put together when you’re designing a recruiting and hiring process.
- Integration (onboarding) of new personnel
Now that you’ve got the right people hired, how do you make sure they get started well. First, you must acclimate them to the way you do business.
you’ve got to give them training and resources to help them become successful as individuals, and when I talk about acclimation you need to introduce them into your business even if somebody has twenty years of skills and experience that fit with what you need them to do.
Although they’ve been doing it in other work environments, other cultures, they need to be acclimated to your culture.
So, you need somebody to hang with them to make sure that they get started correctly until that person that’s responsible for acclimating them into your business is comfortable that they’re doing at least eighty percent of the stuff on their own.
So, they need to learn how to do things your way, they need to learn the specific skills, technology, systems, that you have that help operate your business.
If there are certifications and licenses that are needed, they need to be guided through those or to bring them along with them from previous experience.
- Learning how to sell for everybody is a great soft skill and we’re going to talk more about that.
- Effective communication helps people get things done faster and with better understanding.
- Managing time effectively helps people produce more in a given period of time than those that don’t manage their time well and part of that is being well organized.
In addition, to help these people to be successful as individuals, you’ve got to give them the right tools, the right equipment, the right materials, the right technology that will allow them to do their work and produce the results you expect from them efficiently and effectively.
Also, your business needs to be filled with opportunities for your employees -there should be opportunities for personal growth so they can get better at what they do and as individuals.
The need to be opportunities for contribution – just a quick interesting statistic, the main reason that good people leave a business is because they don’t feel they’re being allowed to contribute and there’s got to be opportunities for advancement, the got to be promotions and there’s got to be opportunities for them to earn more money.
so, once they’re hired, once you have the right people to begin the process, these are all the things that you need to consider and have in place to help them become successful as individuals and contribute greatly to your business success.
The interesting thing about all of us human beings is that we desire two things that are directly opposite to one another. one is freedom – we want to be free to do things our way, to have the opportunity to make decisions that sort of thing and the other is structure we all need to know the rules of the game or the business in which we play.
- A football field has a structure and rules
- A basketball court has a structure and basketball has rules
- Chessboard in the game of chess has a structure and rules
Can you imagine driving down a federal freeway that didn’t have any structure, no lane markers, no off ramps? The outcome will be outrageous!
We need structure and all good businesses must have a very well thought out well-designed structure.
So, what’s included?
- We need clear and complete job descriptions: People need to know what’s expected of them in their job and it’s the specifics of how they’re supposed to achieve those expectations
- We need clear and complete policies and procedures: Those things that guide the employees while they’re doing their work.
- Everything needs clear and complete systems: Can you imagine taking off in an airplane that didn’t have a good system for lowering and contracting the landing gear air circulation system, how about a navigation system that airplane would not be very trustworthy to me if it didn’t have good systems. All good businesses also need good systems.
- There needs to be clear expectations based on results: The employees need to know what’s expected of them, the results that they’re supposed to produce and even though there are activities attached to every job to achieve results if an employee wasn’t hired to produce results then there’s really no need to hire them.
- There should be measurements that are related to the results: That’s very easy in things like athletics, for example, a two fifty hitter achieves a certain level of results. A three fifty hitter does better so you need to have the same type of standards of measurements within your business as it relates to the results.
- Objective Job Reviews: If you have the expectations and the standards of measurement set up to focus on results, then you get objective job reviews. the people know what’s expected of them and how they’re contributing and whether or not they’re doing their work well so make sure that your business is well structured, monitor that structure regularly and improve it whenever it needs to be improved but remember, be structured!
Now, what else needs to be considered when you’re building and growing a successful business? It’s money.
The main reason that you are in business is to make money so you can do the following:
- Make payroll,
- Do research and development,
- Take care of your family,
- Contribute to worthwhile causes,
- Contribute to the community.
Money is the main reason but you also need money from different points of view. For example, you may need some startup capital, you may need some operating capital till you get going and get your income up to where it should be.
As a matter of fact, the main reason most businesses fail is that they just haven’t gotten enough start-up and operating capital to keep them going until they get into a point of profitability. So, that’s very important to have cash flow management in this system.
As a big systems guy, this is the most important system within a business. you must have a great cash flow management system, what’s coming in and what’s going out. How are you using it?
4. Risk Management
You do not want to do things that are going to jeopardize the success of your business, so you may need permits possibly, you may need licenses, there may be fees that you have to pay, there may be regulations and compliance that you have to follow.
Yeah, I know it’s a big interference in a big hassle but it is what it is so you need to learn about these things and how to take care of your business within these requirements to build and grow a small business.
5. Insurance and formal structure
You may also need insurance to protect yourself and your employees and you need to decide what’s the best formal structure for your business.
Is it a corporation, or a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?
if it is a corporation, where does it belong? you just need to make all of these decisions and they need to be made and made well to help you build and grow a small business and contribute to its overall success.
Just a few more things and we’ll have the complete package of everything you need to do and know how to start, build and grow a small business.
- Committed and Engaged Leadership: One really important ingredient of those pieces and parts I talked about is committed and engaged leadership, whoever’s running the show, whoever is the leader of the business has to be a daily example of what the business is all about and how everybody should behave during the operation of the business. So, you must have a committed leader that’s fully engaged in the process.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: There has to be monitoring and evaluation on a regular basis to determine if we are doing things as good as we can do. is there a way to improve them? do we need to change them a little bit? do we need to eliminate them? do we need to add something else?
- Continuous Improvement: Continuous monitoring and evaluation and it all should be focused on continuous improvement. how can we get better? how can we deliver what we deliver better? how can we satisfy our customers better? and when you put this entire package together and you’ve got it done right some magic happens.
Now I talked about magic happening, once you have your business totally put together, everything that we just talked about is done and done right and you’re operating it well then, the magic begins and here’s what happens…
here are the results that you get:
- you get employees
- you get customers
- you get business relationships
- you know those people that supply your products or offer you services to bankers and accountants and attorneys and vendors and contractors that sort of thing and
- you get the community all saying great things about you.
Have you ever been in a grocery store line or a marketplace and had somebody in front of you complaining about the place they work or complaining about some place that they did business?
That’s negative conversation in the community.
For you, you want positive conversation in the community because it attracts people to you.
When people say good things about who you are, what you do, why you do it, the way you do it.
Your employees and your customers and the people that do business within the entire community are fans of what you do, employees line up because they want to work with you.
Customers will then come to your store because they want to do business with you based on all the good news that they have heard.
Other people want to do business with you, they want to be suppliers, they want to be consultants, they want to help you,
And the entire community is going to say great things about you.
So, when you get this business built correctly and when you operate it correctly you create a conversation in the community that just can’t do anything but help your business grow and become successful.
You’ve got everything that you need to know to build, grow and operate a successful small business.
Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve got a business that you want to operate more efficiently and more effectively and more profitably it’s a lot a lot of information.
If you’re interested, I’ve put all of this information and more into a very extensive free course that I call how to start, build and grow your small business.
I think it’s time we focus on building a successful small business in this country.
You can leverage it to get information on how to even get funding for your small business enterprise.
I hope that this makes sense to you. Also, thank you for reading. I hope you come back to it often to use the information.
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