Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are essential for any business. They’re basically the “user manual” that outlines how processes and tasks should be carried out that (ideally) anyone can understand and implement. They might seem like a formality or a bunch of bureaucratic bung, but they can be incredibly beneficial for small businesses in several ways.
Consistency: When you have clear procedures for how tasks should be carried out, your employees understand your expectations. And even if you’re not on-site or supervising them directly, you can ensure they are working toward the same end goal and providing a consistent level of quality your customers have come to expect.
Productivity: By breaking down complex processes into smaller, more manageable steps, SOPs can make it easier for employees to carry out their tasks quickly and effectively. By streamlining operations, you will see increased productivity, faster turnaround times,...
Most small business owners aim to scale operations and increase revenue and profitability. But getting from Point A to Point B…and then to Point C…and then Point to D…and then, well - you get the picture. (There are a lot of letters in the alphabet, and there are a lot of opportunities for a savvy small biz owner to grow.) However, making those jumps can be intimidating and overwhelming. That's why you need a strategic approach and a thorough understanding of the challenges that will be nipping at your heels along the way.
Here are five key strategies you can use to scale your operations.
Develop a growth strategy: You need an action plan outlining how your business intends to grow. Consider all areas that have room for improvement, like marketing, operations, finances, and sales. Then take those areas and create objectives, timelines, and metrics to measure success. Don't treat this like a wishlist or vision board. There's a time and place for...
Bringing a new person onto your team is a big decision. Whether you're looking for someone to take some of the load off your shoulders or you're ready to expand and scale your business, having the right people in your corner will make all the difference.
But how do you know you have found the right person? How can you tell the difference between a dud and a stud? (The stud in this example is a competent, intelligent, and hardworking individual who shows up on time and doesn't microwave fish in the breakroom. Unless, of course, you're hiring for an all-male revue, in which case you want an actual stud. But we digress.)
While you can't always tell with 100% accuracy whether your newest hire will be an asset - or just an ass - there are a few things you can do to give you better odds of finding the right person.
The robots are coming for your jobs.
There are a lot of worries, misinformation, misconceptions, and fear-mongering surrounding the increasing popularity of Artificial Intelligence.
AI is the buzziest of buzzwords these days; more and more applications are entering the mainstream, and the possibilities feel endless. It's sort of like one of those late-night infomercials. "But wait, there's more!"
On the one hand, yes. The robots HAVE taken jobs. You can order a fast food meal, pay a toll, or hitch a ride without ever interacting with an actual human being.
But on the OTHER hand (we have two, remember), AI is predicted to actually CREATE jobs; 97 million by 2025, to be precise.
The fact of the matter is that it's not going anywhere, whether you embrace it or not.
So why not embrace it?
AI continues to transform everything from manufacturing to farming, data entry, janitorial tasks, investing, insurance...the list goes on. And for small business owners -...
Want to know how you can get into bed with your customers every night?
Or be by their side nearly every minute of the day?
It’s not as scandalous (or stalkerish) as it sounds.
We’re talking about two simple words: Mobile Marketing.
Mobile marketing is a powerful and effective way to reach customers where they are at any time and any place. Think about how often you’re on your own phone. You’re checking emails. You’re reading the news. You’re scrolling through Twitter or responding to texts or checking your bank balances, or playing Wordle. Point is, you’re on it a lot - and probably more than you realize. According to Zippia, the average American checks their phone approximately 96 times PER DAY. (That’s once every ten minutes.)
So yeah. Why wouldn’t you want to tap (into) that? Here are five of our favorite strategies to consider incorporating into your own business.
1. Develop a mobile-friendly...
In just a matter of days, we’ll be closing the door on 2022 and welcoming a brand new year - and with that, many of us will set resolutions for 2023. Now, whether we KEEP those resolutions is another matter entirely (an estimated 65% are abandoned in the first month), but it’s important to at least try, right?
Our newsletter last week (aptly called The Weekly, check it out if you haven’t already) touched on four things small business owners should address before the year wraps up. But now it’s time to really double down on number 2 from that list: Plan for next year.
1. Get better at managing your finances: Make a commitment to better understanding and managing your business’s finances. That includes creating (and sticking to) a budget, tracking expenses in a timely manner, and regularly reviewing your financial statements.
2. Prioritize customer...
When it comes to running a business (or life in general, really), two things nobody ever complains about having too much of are Time and Money. We can’t imagine any scenario where someone would turn down more of either. And yet, both are far too often squandered by small business owners.
Where money is concerned, it’s easier to track. You’ve got bank statements and budgets and cold hard numbers to determine where the waste is happening. It’s all very black and white; it just takes some leg work.
Time - more specifically, effective Time Management - is a bit more nebulous. A dollar is a dollar, but what one person can do with an hour is vastly different from what the next guy can do with those same 60 minutes. People work at different paces.
That’s why it’s critical you carefully evaluate your own time management skills on a regular basis. Time is a valuable asset, and you want to ensure you’re getting the best ROI for the effort...
Whether you’re starting a business from scratch or acquiring one that already exists, you need the funds to make it happen. We’ve talked in length about different TYPES of funding options and how you can do a bit of “hacking and stacking” to work it out in your favor. (Catch up here.)
But what happens after the deed is done? After all the research, paperwork, and time, the money is finally yours, and you’re ready to take the small business world by storm. You want to make the most of this opportunity and this investment; however, there are seven common post-funding no-nos that many small businesses make once that money hits their account.
1. Poor Planning:
Not having a clear plan or strategy for how you will use your funding is a big no-no. You gotta have a detailed plan in place for how you’ll use these new funds to grow your business and achieve your goals. Every dollar should have a job and a purpose.
Networking: What is it good for?
If you're an extroverted chatter-box and certified ENFP on the Myers-Briggs, you probably love the idea of networking. Meeting new people and forming connections is right up your alley, and the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and making friends is your definition of a good time.
For those who don't share that same level of enthusiasm, the idea of networking is walking into a room full of strangers - but completely naked. It's uncomfortable at best, and if they had to choose between meeting new people and watching an entire season of The Bachelor, they'd give their rose to the latter.
But whether you love it or loathe it, networking is a fundamental part of being a successful business owner.
Entrepreneurship is often a solo endeavor. The predisposition to be self-reliant and self-sufficient reigns supreme. They keep their heads down, stay focused on the task at hand, and have lofty goals they intend to achieve.
Will that be cash or charge?
When was the last time you heard that phrase? Or - and here’s a bigger throwback for you - when someone asked if you wanted to pay by check? It seems wild that just twenty years ago, we could walk into the mall (remember those?) and leave with a new pair of shoes simply by putting our John Hancock on a slip of paper (with the logo of our favorite football team in the background) that may or may not clear once it hit the bank.
How we pay for things continues to evolve, and as a small business owner, you must understand how these changes affect your bottom line. (Spoiler alert: It ALL affects your bottom line.) We now have cash, credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, checks, mobile wallets, and various peer-to-peer payment and online platforms to choose from.
So which ones should you accept? And which of them should you kick to the curb?
The jerk-knee response is, “take them all,” right? You want to make it as...