Most people know what business management is, as it incorporates everything from accounting to marketing to human resources. It also involves managing employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. But how easy is business management, and what should new business owners have in mind when it comes to running their business?
My top 7 business management tips for entrepreneurs look like this:
Know Your Numbers
Have a Plan B
Be Willing To Hire Help
Don't Overlook Small Costs
Manage Your Time Well
Ignore The Noise
Build A Network
Read more about each of them below 👇
1. Know Your Numbers
If I could only give one tip as to what business management entails, it would be this: know your numbers. This means understanding your income and expenses, as well as your profit margins.
This doesn’t mean you need to be a financial expert on day 1, but it does mean being organized. And there are a few easy, very low-cost ways to do this without hiring a specialist accountant or bookkeeper:
Track your incoming sales and outgoing costs using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel
Use Google Drive folders to drag and drop receipts in PDF or photo format.
Pro tip: Organize your folders into months, so you can easily find receipts from a relevant month as time goes by.
Integrate your Google Sheets or Excel document with accounting software like Xero to get a snapshot of your business' financial health. Many online accounting providers offer a free trial too!
2. Have a Plan B
One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is not having a plan B. A plan B is a backup plan if something goes wrong with your main business idea. It might mean starting another business, selling products at a different price point, or even changing your product line entirely.
There’s a lot of ‘business porn’ out there right now: stories of people starting businesses and making $100k per month in their first year.
Ironically, one of my ultimate business management tips for new business owners is to start the business while you’re still working your day job. This route is tough because your life can quickly become consumed by working two jobs which can often mean waking up earlier and going to bed later. However, the security is there while you’re figuring things out and - crucially - making mistakes, of which at least some can be costly.
Having the financial buffer of a regular income while you’re getting your business off the ground is definitely something you’ll be grateful for once the initial excitement of registering your business has subsided.
3. Be Willing to Hire Help
If you're going to start a business, you'll need help. And you'll probably need more than one type of help. For example, you might need help managing finances, hiring employees, creating marketing materials, etc.
If you’ve already got a steady stream of clients and are making enough money to support it, you can think about hiring staff to come and work for you. However, I’d always recommend using freelancers as much and as often as you can.
Great freelancers are hungry for work and eager to please. Often they aren’t cheap, but the advantage of having someone to call upon by the hour or by the day is immense when you compare it to the headache of dealing with taxes, insurance, and accounting for in-house employees.
Sites like Fiverr, People Per Hour, and Upwork are great places to get started working with freelancers in many different areas.
4. Don't Overlook Small Costs
It's easy to overlook small costs when starting a new business. After all, you're just trying to make money. But these little expenses add up quickly. So, before you spend any money, ask yourself whether it will really pay off.
Some of the places where small costs can lurk include monthly subscriptions to things like website providers and SEO tools, premium subscriptions to services like Canva and Grammarly, or even paid blogs and newsletters.
I’d recommend keeping a spreadsheet with all of your monthly subscriptions listed, so you can see at a glance what you’re using often and what can be offloaded. It’s not sexy, but it’s definitely business management done right.
5. Manage Your Time Well
If you're not careful, you'll spend more than you planned. That's because there are so many things that need to be done every day. And if you don't manage your time well, you won't be able to do them all.
This is where overwhelm can kick in as business owners ask themselves, ‘where do I start?’. To avoid getting overwhelmed, I’d recommend writing yourself a list of all the currently outstanding tasks. At the start of every day, mark which items you consider ‘$10,000 tasks’ - that is, which are the tasks that are going to bring the highest value to you today?
Great freelancers are hungry for work and eager to please. Often they aren’t cheap but the advantage of having someone to call upon by the hour or by the day is immense
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what’s going to bring you the highest value today, you can get on and ignore the rest.
Oh, and I’d recommend using a Pomodoro timer to keep yourself focused throughout the day. They break your time down into 20 or 25-minute segments, separated by a short break. Having a timer running while you’re working is a great way to keep your mind focused on the task at hand by creating a subconscious sense of urgency.
You can find a few free Pomodoro timer websites by searching ‘free Pomodoro timer'.
6. Ignore The Noise
There’s a lot of ‘business porn’ out there right now: stories of people starting businesses and making $100k per month in their first year. You only have to listen to a business podcast or read a business management blog to see stories of business owners effortlessly making millions of dollars within just a few months of their business launch.
But the reason these are podcast-worth stories is that they’re the exception - not the rule. So, ignore the noise surrounding other business owners and instead focus on managing your own business.
Oh, and the reason many of those ‘incredible’ entrepreneurs can make big money fast is probably that they have a huge network to draw from…
7. Build a Network
It’s a truism in life that, often, the most talented business owners aren’t the most successful. Instead, it’s those that have a network of influential contacts who are likely to stand the best chance of succeeding.
But if you don’t have your high-value network in place yet, don’t worry because there are a few things you can do:
Sure, it feels kind of icky at first if you’re not used to posting on social media or being more ’public’ about your work. But the truth is most success is about exposure, not performance. So, you need to become much more visible online if you want to get noticed so potential clients can find your business.
Use social media wisely
The temptation when opening any social media app is to mindlessly doom scroll - leading to thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or downright despair. However, there’s a better way to use social, and that’s to use it to your advantage. Find people who are further ahead on the path you’re walking and follow them. Comment thoughtfully on their posts, so their followers see you. After a little time, you might even want to connect directly with the more influential person you’re following, sending them a personal note about how their content has helped you.
It’s surprising how easy it is to build a very high-value network by using platforms like LinkedIn like the pros do.
Get yourself published
There are few better social-proof signals to your potential customers than seeing your thoughts published on a respected blog or listening to you unravel something interesting (including your own story) on a podcast or interview. It can take some time to find outlets that are willing to publish your work or interview you but with patience, this strategy can pay off massively (like it did for this guy)
Rob Barratt is the Co-Founder of The Industry Leaders and is passionate about helping small business owners get the attention their business needs without spending a fortune on ads.
After creating and selling his first business (a restaurant), Rob found out just how hard it is for entrepreneurs to get the word out about their businesses without having $000's dollars a month to spend on ads.
This realization led Rob to create The Industry Leaders which offers opportunities for entrepreneurs to get published alongside industry leaders and appear on podcasts in their niche. You can find out more about publishing and podcast opportunities here.