Written by Dr Sanjay Tolani, Managing Director & CEO, Goodwill World
The past 15 months have been highly turbulent for many small businesses, and a majority of them were forced to adapt super quickly to stay relevant. There are some basic ways that small business can use these to catalyse excellent economies of scale and end-user satisfaction. They can simultaneously achieve both these primary objectives, enabling entities to deliver on their promises and sometimes even surpass them. Here are some tips on how small businesses can keep their promises to all their stakeholders and help them go beyond just delivering what is promised.
Build An Online Presence
While this has been a growing trend since before the pandemic, the lockdowns and work from home culture have brought about a dramatically heightened need for small business to have an online presence. Small business owners must invest some time setting up an online address and presence to build their online credibility. Some ways to gain more trust and traction online are:
- Sharing your business stories and letting your readers, online consumers, and site visitors know the WHY behind WHAT you do and your vision behind it.
- Setting up common, easy to reach social media platforms so that your consumers can find you easily and also find out more about your business.
Regularly Relook Where Your Business Has Been Spending
It is vital to look at where your money is going so that you can allocate it to bring the most outstanding returns. Cost management is often overlooked or barely focussed on in a new business because they are running behind creating revenue. With a business that was acquired and a business which has made an IPO, I have realised that the most common causes of business failure are a direct result of overspending. Here are some actions that business owners should take monthly for better cost management:
- Not all expenses are necessary, seriously! Re-evaluate and curtail them – Do a monthly assessment of your profit and loss and determine some costs that can be reduced or, better yet, eliminated. Small businesses often end up overspending due to short-sightedness and hope to reap returns faster. It is crucial to keep a tab on the expenses before they snowball into something too difficult to recover from.
- Be smarter with your money – Reallocate it to areas the bring higher returns – Numbers don’t lie, and this isn’t even half as complicated it appears. Something as simple as maintaining an excel sheet documenting every function in your company and its actual return can prove to be instrumental in helping understand what’s working for your business better. Being smart about smaller numbers can help them grow bigger, much faster.
- Make the golden investment of educating your team in cost management – It is not just the owner’s responsibility to save more money for the business. Cost management is every employee’s responsibility. Educate them about how exactly they can manage costs within the purview of their individual job roles. Encourage them to come up with creative ways to save costs – this will make them feel appreciated and help your business save more and more money.
Retain Talent & Amplify Employee Motivation Through Insurance Incentives
- Make your team feel valued – Get employee insurance to help them keep themselves and their loved ones covered. Making them feel important will encourage them to prioritise their work.
- Use insurance as a form of employee reward – A system can be devised wherein those who perform better are entitled to better coverage. This will motivate them to improve their productivity and contribution.
- Do some retirement planning for your employees – This will instil a sense of belongingness when they see you helping them plan their retirement. Planning annuities is a great way to help them grow their money.
Risk Management Is Vital, No Matter How Small The Team
The smaller your team, the more valuable your staff. While they are your most significant assets, and it’s essential to admit that, it is equally important to protect your business from the risk that is inherently associated with them. A slight mistake can trigger legality issues that can cost a fortune, for instance. Some simple ways to mitigate potential risks from employees can be:
- Have a checklist system and stick to it – Maintain a checklist of proper job scopes and keep a close eye on the expectations and deliverables. Allow employees a limited range of autonomy to help create a risk and reward structure for everyone.
- Build employee skillsets, fix leakages – Regularly follow up on your staff’s progress, their learnings and growth. Invest in building their skillset to be able to delegate more work to them — collective growth is a win-win for both.
If you’re a small business owner and if you haven’t executed any of the ideas above, I suggest you invest time and energy to try some of these out.