Small businesses often fail for a number of reasons and it's important for business owners to evaluate how they are run. There is often a lack of money, staff and other resources, so management can be challenging.
I believe there is a very strong case in running every business to the principles of the 'big boys' - running your small business using big business management tactics to overcome the challenges and to survive in the current business world. My experience in medium to large organisation has helped me run the tight ship that is Agent99 PR.
Operating like a big business can produce serious benefits for smaller companies, including a trustworthy reputation, loyal customers, and an increase in efficiency. So here are my top do’s and don’ts to running your business like a large successful organisation, whilst maintaining the benefits of being boutique sized and nimble.
1. Have a proactive understanding of major players in your space
It is crucial to stay on top of major influential players in your industry. Read relevant online publications daily and follow related businesses. Choose business leaders’ blogs and social media accounts to stay informed. This will not only be extremely educational, but will allow you to position yourself as an expert in your specific industry. Observe what actions big organisations in your industry undertake. Make note of their accomplishments and failures to learn what might be best for your own business.
2. Make use of cloud based applications
With all of the technology available today, it is possible for small businesses to use technology that previously only big businesses could afford. Utilising cloud-based applications, such as email and project management tools, levels the playing field, allowing small businesses to operate more efficiently and inexpensively.
3. Make it easy to work together
Smooth communication between employees, partners, suppliers, and customers is a sure-fire way to boost efficiency like that of a major player. How can you streamline communication to ensure efficiency? Integrate daily WIP meetings, monthly reviews and evaluations, regular structured feedback, measurable objectives and timelines into your work system.
4. Keep brand consistency
Forging a strong brand with a consistent message will help secure repeat customers. The more recognisable your brand and the clearer the ethos, the more customers will invest in it. Brand consistency increases awareness, establishing your brand as a prominent figure in your industry. Small businesses should make it a priority to have ongoing strategies which increase brand consistency across all channels including its website, social media platforms, PR outreach and any other forms of marketing.
5. Be let down by a sluggish or unsecured company network
This measure is often neglected in small businesses, as often the backup of a dedicated technician is lacking. A secure, reliable network lets your employees access the information and tools they need to keep up with major competition. Network security an essential component for small businesses aiming to run like larger organizations.
6. Lose track of payments
Whether these are outgoings or incoming, ensure seamless and timely payment structures. There is nothing worse than compromising your business reputation with wavering financial matters. While bigger businesses have separate finance or billing departments, smaller companies may lack these positions. To ensure you stay up to date financially, appoint an employee to be in charge of payments or download easy-to-use accounting software online.
7. Forget the importance of work/life balance
It is easy to load on the hours with a smaller workforce, but don’t get sucked in. Take measures to ensure that you’re having quality down time so that you can cope with ongoing pressures. Balance work and life by prioritising tasks, setting established business hours, and delegating responsibilities to your team.
8. Limit the services you provide internally and outsource
Use trusty out of house resources to expand the services you can offer to your customers in order to compete with major competition. Outsourcing solutions are becoming more available and less expensive due to digital services. There is no need to limit the services your business provides when ample out of house sources exist. Utilise these sources to gain additional clients and compete with bigger businesses.