The biggest concern of small business owners surveyed is managing their cash flow.
You need to be able to understand the cash flow process in your business and have it mastered. If you buy products, how much should you have on hand? Are you invoiced 30-60-90 for those products? How frequently do you need to make a sale and what price to turn a profit? Do you invoice your customers? How long does it take them to pay? What are your monthly accounts payments? What do you need to have in the bank for taxes, 401K, and payroll?
There are all the details you need to know in and out and have mastered. The main reasons businesses fail is not the lack of cash flow; it’s the failure to generate enough of it, quick enough, and at a high enough margin to make a profit consistently.
Also, having a properly managed credit line to float your business before the checks come in and a great accountant is key. Don’t just hire any CPA or Accountant. Find one that specializes in the field you’re in or it could be costing you tens of thousands of dollars a year in extra taxes.
2. WORK LIFE BALANCE
30% of small business owners report working more than 50 hours per week. Nearly 20% report working 60 hours or more, and almost 80% report feeling like they work too much.
To regain balance you need to organize, automate, get a mentor, and plan work around your life.
There are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 168 hours in a week. 60 hours are spent sleeping, and commuting, leaving 108 hours left for work, family & personal time.
Use one calendar or planner to manage all of your time to maximize your day. Leave 15 minutes of unscheduled time each hour (30 minutes if you’re in healthcare or a high-demand field) when possible to deal with unexpected interruptions or scheduled plans that run over.
Schedule a start work time and an end work time, and STICK to it. When family or personal time begins for that day, work is over. You will find that you will prioritize your workday more efficiently and feel much more relaxed once you’re scheduling efficiently. If you find yourself having a hard time ending your workday, use your commute time to change your mindset from work to personal.
Get a mentor! Everyone needs a mentor or coach. Even the world’s best athletes and CEO’s have them. When you look for that partner, make sure they have skills you don’t. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." Mentors are sounding boards and disciplinarians that create necessary boundaries that we cannot set for ourselves.
3. HIRING GREAT STAFF
Finding GREAT employees starts with hiring for personality, not necessarily for skills. Don’t get me wrong, if you need a doctor, there are some criteria that need to be met. But, for patient-facing staff members, personality is far more superior than skills. Skills can be taught, a good personality cannot.
You should always be on the lookout for talent everywhere you go. The grocery store, a restaurant, etc. When you find a truly great person, hand them your business card and have a small elevator pitch about your business. When you hire for personality and train for skills you get the best of both worlds. Great personality leads to great customer service, and training for the skills allows you to train an individual the exact way you want things done, with no bad habits.
However, in order to hire for personality and train the skills, you need to invest in training, training, and more training. Training is something you do, not something you did. Training needs to have:
1. Good Content
2. Be Repeatable
4. Accountability Tracking
Without being given the ability and opportunity to repeat and remember, employees will forget nearly all training in less than a week.
Training reinforcement is a series of small lessons or learning activities that support a core concept or skill. By having the ability to repeat skills learned, employees will not only remember more, but they will also be more likely to apply it to their everyday work.
Dr. Scott Colonna serves as Business Management Consultant, a Business Coach and Speaker with more than 17 years’ experience producing double digit annual growth. Dr. Colonna is a partner and CEO of one of the top 1% grossing optometry practices in the USA, as well as the CEO of Uppercut Consulting. He advises Small Business CEO’s and managers with his team in all areas of management and operations. For questions or comments about this article, email firstname.lastname@example.org.