The foundation of every business is its infrastructure. Your business is like a ship with you, the business owner, at the helm. The steering wheel on the ship represents all the things that support your business and make it move forward, backward, right, left, or just stand still. The hub of the wheel is your infrastructure and attached to it are various spokes representing your systems, processes, procedures, functions, policies, technology, external factors, and the decisions of the business owner.
Team building is both an art and a science. It is important to know your team and to understand their needs, and to embrace their differences. There are ways to make team selection more scientific. After all, how do you as a leader become aware of your personal leadership style? And how do you identify the styles of your team? How do you identify the needs, wants, skills, etc. of your team? And if you could, wouldn’t that be invaluable in helping to build and maintain the best team possible?
You can’t get more time. You can’t add another hour to the day nor another day to the week. We are all prisoners of the same time constraints unless you own a flux capacitor. So it’s not about finding more time in your day, it’s about using the time you have more wisely. Here are ten ways that will help you, the small business owner, use your time more wisely.
Planning is good. Most successful people, whether they are military leaders, heads of corporations, world leaders, or scientists, are planners. They work toward the plan and they change the plan when necessary in order to meet the end results. The point is they all plan. And on a personal side, we plan vacations, weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, cocktail parties, meetings, and appointments. Some people plan out each day!
Why then, do so many small business owners plan so little when it comes to their businesses? Why is it so difficult to establish operations, marketing, sales, and budget plans? And if they do, why in many cases are those plans ineffective in their implementation and follow-through? Perhaps it’s because the plans themselves are ineffective in the way the plans are planned!
“A series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.” Have you ever been involved with anything like that at work? Of course you have. This is one definition of what a “process” is and all businesses have processes, even if they are not aware that they are processes.
Fewer people, unfortunately, have been involved with process improvement efforts. What’s the point of improving a process if it appears to be working just fine? There are two things wrong with this kind of thinking. First, unless you are measuring the effectiveness of your process, how do you really know it’s working just fine? Second, “just fine” a number of years ago may not be “just fine” today!
I’m a big believer in information. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make. There is a lot of information out there pertaining to building effective, high-performance teams. Here are some tools that could be very useful in that effort.
Ever use a RACI chart? Most people have never even heard of it, but it’s a great way to identify major stakeholders, customers, suppliers, and other associates when it comes to process mapping, project planning or implementation, or other areas where it’s important to know the roles and responsibilities.
“Show me a failure and I will show you a man who does today, what he should have done yesterday.” – Ajaero Tony Martins
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 70% of new businesses survive at least two years. Good news, right. Unfortunately, that number drops to 50% by the five-year mark and at 10 years, it drops to 33%. They also state that failure occurs because of a combination of financial and operations factors. Many things associated with both of these factors could have been avoided.
“The infrastructure holds the foundation of the business together. The question is whether you are using super glue or duct tape? ” – R. Angelo Feher – As a small business owner, how do you measure whether your infrastructure is supporting your business? Most times, the infrastructure of a small business is established when the company starts out, but then it is never reviewed to see whether it needs any kind of improvement.
The keys to the job benchmarking process are to identify the key accountabilities/responsibilities of the position and to eliminate as much personal bias as we can by utilizing the mindset, “If the job could talk, what would it say?” In other words, we want to benchmark the job, not the people who may be currently in the job.