Running a small business is no small task. And at times it can be hard to know where to direct your time, attention, and energy, because let’s face it, coffee only gets you so far.
So, we’ve compiled a list of the top five practices to maintain within your small business in order to stay organized and achieve your goals.
1. Create and Maintain Consistency
One of the most important areas of focus for your small business is creating and maintaining consistency, whether the task is internal or customer facing. Take a donut shop for example. Customers pile in each and every morning knowing they’ll get their same coffee and donut because it’s something that’s become a routine and a consistent staple of their week. Without a consistent offer of the same delicious treats, customers may find another shop to frequent instead.
The ultimate goal in maintaining consistency in your business is to make tasks part of a routine. Once you’ve established a routine then, over time, those tasks will become habits. So with the goal of creating consistency and healthy business habits there are two steps you have to take.
Look at the tasks within your business and write them down.
Now decide which tasks are important to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. These are the tasks that you’ll want to pull out, categorize, and create a routine around that you’ll execute on a consistent basis.
Here are a few tasks that we’ve incorporated into our routine in order to maintain consistency:
Creating a content calendar monthly
Posting to social media platforms
Updating relevant information across all social media platforms
Communicating with clients and leads
2. Keep Track of Everything
A week of to-do’s in the life of a small business owner has the potential to add up to a small novel. And without documenting what you’re spending your time and money on, you could wind up with a multitude of unknowns down the road.
While we recommend documenting as much as possible, here are our top three to track:
Money in & money out. While there are many software options that you can use to keep track of finances, if you’re just starting out, we recommend at least creating an excel sheet where you can input simple data. This type of information is crucial come tax time, and an organized ledger will have your accountant singing your praises
Document how long it takes you to complete each task within your business. This is an amazingly helpful tool when quoting client work by hour or when hiring an employee.
Documenting Processes. Not only will this serve as a quick reference guide to anyone you hire onto your team, it can also serve as a tool to improve processes and efficiency.
3. Always Ask For Feedback
How will you know where you excel vs. where you need improvement if you’re not getting feedback on a regular basis? As exhilarating as we think it would be, there is no Head Gamemaker sending in tracker jackers to chase us in the right direction (any Hunger Games fans here?). So, we have to ask for feedback and direction from our customers and employees.
Part two in asking for feedback is implementation. What good does feedback do if we’re not utilizing it and putting it to the test. For example, If your customers are telling you your website is hard to navigate, maybe it's time to redo your homepage with the user in mind.
Lastly, part three of asking for feedback is transparency. Let’s leave the secret passageways to Batman and instead point out where our companies are headed and what we’re doing. If your business receives a bit of criticism and you take that moment to improve upon your process, post about it on social media! Transparency leads to trust and studies show that “More than half of consumers, or 53%, said they would be more likely to consider brands that are transparent on social media for their next purchase, while a lack of transparency might lead 86% to purchase from a competitor”.
Have you ever completed a task only to find out that another team member ALSO completed that same task? Have you ever received a design back for your business cards only to find out that the white font you thought you were getting is teal? Have you ever posted an Instagram post only to find out that your business partner also posted it and now you have two identical posts on your page?
Avoiding these awkward conversations and skipping the frantic scramble to fix mistakes like those above is achievable with proper and improved communication.
Now we’re not saying that mistakes won’t happen. After all, we’re only human. But communication may cut the margin of error down a bit.
Here are a few of our favorite communication softwares:
Communication is key across every aspect of your business. Clients, vendors, employees, business partners. EVEN if you’re a solopreneur. And while we don’t recommend having a full on conversation with yourself, it’s still important to take the time to check in on where things are at.
5. Set Goals & Follow Through
A majority of us became small business owners because we believe in ideas and bringing those ideas to life. But sometimes shiny object syndrome can take over when new ideas pop up. Our recommendation? In order to start a new project, you must cross an existing project off the list first.
Make two columns - Future & Current Projects. When you get shiny object syndrome drop that into the ‘Future Project’ column. Here’s the deal. You cannot touch that shiny object until you’ve completed your ‘Current Project’ list. Only when those are done can you carry over projects from your ‘Future Project’ list.
In doing this you’ll stay on track to finish your current projects AND your ‘Future Project’ list will serve as motivation to finish your current list even faster. Before you know it you’ll be crushing goals left and right.
There are many factors that go into running a small business. While these are just a handful, implementing one or all of these practices may just help in maintaining organization while continuing to grow, dream, and serve your customers!