How to Run a Successful Business Without Burning Out
By Gloria Martinez of WomenLed.org
Being a small business owner or entrepreneur - especially as a woman - requires a great deal of dedicated time and effort. This starts with creating a dynamic business plan and an operational strategy that focuses on innovation and high-quality customer care. Managing your time is also critical to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Daniel Muller can be a great resource for career tips, as well as if you're transitioning from a blue collar background to a white collar career.
What Are Your Business Objectives?
Planning out your objectives from the start will help you stay focused, on track, and continually moving your business forward. According to SCORE, strategize your short and long-term objectives, what the structure of your business looks like, and how you want to establish yourself with your target demographic. Doing this as a first step will help you develop your brand, your marketing messages, and your outreach strategy. It should be part of your business plan, and will be a necessary step if you want to apply for small business loans or grants.
Get and Stay Organized
Entrepreneurs have a lot of balls in the air at once, and according to the American Psychological Association, organization is one key to success. Use a project management software program to help you collaborate and stay on-task. Utilize a bookkeeping system that makes it easy to manage purchasing, inventory, accounts payable and receivable. This will make it easier to file come tax time, and you’ll be able to have a regularly updated snapshot of your business finances. Also, maintain a detailed line-item budget. This will help ensure you stay on financial track, and are able to identify and fix any financial issues that arise before they get out of hand.
If you’re hiring staffers, develop detailed job descriptions that include position overviews, as well as desired skills, education, and experience. If you don’t need full-time employees, hire professional freelancers to take on important tasks, like website design, social media management, graphics, marketing and sales. This approach ensures critical areas of operations are well covered by experts while you work on building your business, expanding your marketing penetration, and providing exceptional service.
Monitor Your Competition
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what others in your industry are doing - especially your direct competition. This knowledge will help inform critical decisions like pricing strategies, marketing approaches, and even keep you apprised of industry trends. You might even find opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration, especially if you offer complementary services or a product that’s a bit different from one another. It’s also wise to join chambers of commerce or business networking groups so you can connect and learn from other small business owners.
Maintain Communication Channels
Whether you’re working with vendors, drafting contracts, issuing instructions to contractors, or pitching to prospects, clear, concise communication is key. All of your written materials should reflect your brand and your messaging; contracts should be complete, yet easy-to-understand. When you communicate with customers, express appreciation for their business while also relaying your company values, and look for opportunities to advance your business relationships. Seek feedback as well - this demonstrates your commitment to being a high-quality service provider.
Manage Your Time Wisely
When it comes to small business ownership, creating a healthy work-life balance is important. If you get burned out, your business suffers, and you and your family suffer as well. While the early days of startup can be hectic, strive to get into a regular schedule with regular start and stop times in your workday. Schedule personal time just as you would schedule a business appointment, and stick to it. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep, and enjoying your life will all help you be a better business owner.
Entrepreneurship is a worthy endeavor. You can give yourself a competitive advantage by hiring out key services, making sure you make time for your personal life, and continually look for ways to grow and expand your customer base while maintaining exceptional levels of customer care.
Author Daniel Muller offers a wealth of insight into how to successfully manage your career and transition from employee to business owner. Read his informational blog or reach out for additional information.
(Comment from Daniel Muller - Gloria Martinez is this week's guest author. I find her articles to be insightful and of high value!)