The Boring But Crucial Stuff: Small Business Operations

By August 6, 2019 Operations

Does your business run smoothly when you’re not there?  Do your staff know how to manage the day-to-day things, like processing bills for payment, finding the company policy on holiday pay, or setting up an email address for a new employee? Well-run administrative functions, like finance or HR, not only free up your time, but also can have a big impact on your business’s profitability.

I’ve been doing OK so far, can’t I just deal with issues as they come up?

Operations are the internal engine of a business. Just as a vehicle will only run smoothly if its engine is properly maintained, a business will only run smoothly if its operations are properly maintained.  If you only change the oil when your engine light comes on, the engine is going to break down more quickly – and maybe it’ll fail unexpectedly just when you need it the most.

What does a well-maintained operation look like?

  • You have processes in place for things like paying bills, onboarding new employees, and setting up access to key applications – so no one has to re-invent the wheel every time
  • You know where the business’s money comes from and where it’s going, so you can make better decisions
  • You and your staff understand how things work at your company, which reduces confusion and increases efficiency and job satisfaction
  • You feel confident about growing because you know that behind the scenes, everything is orderly, not chaotic

So what does your small business really need?

Financial Management –In order to effectively operate a business, you have to know where the business’s income is coming from, what it’s being spent on, and whether or not the business is turning a profit. Many business owners start out by tracking all of this in their heads, but there comes a point when it’s too much to truly keep track of.  Once you have a good financial system and processes in place, you’d be amazed what the data tells you about what’s really going on in your business.

Human Resources –In any small business, a small number of employees are responsible for many tasks, so it’s especially important to employ the right people. Hiring the right people, onboarding them effectively, setting clear expectations, paying them timely and accurately, and having a good performance review process are all crucial to finding and keeping good staff.

IT – We all know how frustrating it is to have a problem with computer equipment or software and not be able to get help when you need it.  For a small business, if one employee can’t get their work done due to a computer glitch or software training issue, the effect could be huge.  Picking the right hardware and software, providing good training, and having someone to call on for help are all key to smooth operations.

Marketing – Every business needs to let potential customers know that it exists, or it won’t have anyone to sell to.  Basic marketing practices, like identifying your target markets and marketing to them, are much easier when you have processes in place to capture contact information in a marketing database (or CRM), keep the information clean, and use it to execute your marketing strategies.  Have you ever had a great idea for marketing, but got stuck when it came to the logistics of making it happen?  Or hired a marketing agency, but couldn’t provide them with a list of people to market to?  Having good marketing data management in place is the basis for good marketing.

With good processes in place to keep your operations running smoothly, you’ll be able to focus confidently on planning for your business’s growth and success.  If streamlining your small business operations is your goal, Dunathan Consulting is here to help. Contact us today and we will be happy to provide a free consultation!