3 Management Tips For Small Business Owners and Managers

When reviewing the management of a business, there are a number of tips any consultant can give to a small business owner or manager. Tips on employee relations, tips on procedures or policies and tips on how technology can help the business. In this article, we are going to review three of the most important tips any business owner or manager should be given as a foundation to guide them; Setting Rules for the Business, Information Technology and its application and Delegating for Efficiency.

Setting rules for your business is a simple way to begin using Policy and Procedures, as it provides a foundation for efficiently managing the company. Setting rules is relative to each individual company that should be done by the owner or person responsible for the overall operations of the company. Important to setting rules is the follow through by management to enforce the rules. The use of rules and a standardization of enforcement will give the company a great foundation by which to build a series of Policy and Procedures throughout the company, allowing the employees to work within set guidelines. Keep your initial set of rules simple. For example, how one answers a phone call or how one accomplishes regular tasks. Expand your rules as the company grows and more opportunities for structure are presented.

Information technology can be a very confusing topic for small business owners and managers. How it applies to the business and what it can really do to make the day to day needs of the business more efficient, can be difficult to identify and appear expensive. With the addition of smart phones, better internet access and less expensive hardware, it is very easy to try and throw technology at business problems. Since most small businesses cannot afford an IT department and general computer consultants rarely take an objective approach towards IT solutions, discuss your IT ideas with a Management Consultant. All successful Management Consultants in today’s business environment will either have an IT education or close ties to an IT firm that specializes in small business solutions. This type of support should not be expensive and will save the company and its employees a lot of money and time, rather than just applying technology for technology’s sake.

Delegating is generally the single most difficult thing for an owner or manager to do. Delegation can feel like you’re giving up control. However, to delegate is far from giving up control. By delegating slowly and teaching your staff to make decisions, you will be making your company more efficient and more successful. The use of delegation will free up time for business growth, better review of the areas where delegation is most uncomfortable and it will establish your company as being independent, which makes it more valuable. Additionally, delegation will empower your employees. By empowering them, you will make them more accountable, build a sense of ownership and generally create more loyal and dependable employees. The art of delegation is an invaluable lesson for owners, managers and employees.

We can easily build on the three key tips for small business; Setting Rules, Information Technology and Delegating. With these three ingredients in place in an organization, we can then expand our view of the organization and, with the application of these ingredients, meet the needs of specific issues and topics. Using an experienced Management Consulting Firm to help with these areas, is a great beginning for an owner or manager’s use of these tips.

Small Business Advice to Improve Customer Service

Customers are the heart of any small business, and keeping them happy is key to retaining them. Since finding new customers is usually much more expensive and requires more effort, here are 3 ideas to keep your customers satisfied:

  1. Include a best practice tip sheet
  2. These can be shipped out with products, but also included when billing for services. The best items to include on the tip sheet include little-known, or commonly overlooked practices which will maximize customer satisfaction. If your products/services can be used in less than obvious, yet beneficial ways, you might include these as well. Customer surveys can be used to determine what these uses might be, with rewards/prizes awarded to the customers who provide the best tips. A best practice tip sheet is simply another way to create value for the customer, and differentiate your small business from the competition.

  3. Use training to make employees more knowledgeable
  4. If a position within your small business experiences high employee turnover, then it is generally well worth the time it takes to create a training manual and training videos. The benefit of these is that as new employees are hired, less owner/manager time is spent re-teaching the same basic knowledge and skills, and more can be devoted to other critical business needs. Also, it is generally easier to teach employees the correct way of performing tasks, instead of allowing bad habits to develop, and then trying to fix these later. Furthermore, if watching the videos and reading the manual is a prerequisite to hiring a new employee, the cost of training the employee on the job can be minimized. A small business owner or manager can then verify that the new skills have been learned through a few simple quizzes, and demonstration of the new skills/knowledge in action. Clearly, the more important the role of the employee, the more training and verification will be needed to ensure the success of the new hire.

  5. Create a list of customer complaints / issues to be addressed
  6. Once you have this list, you should check if there are any common complaints which need to be resolved quickly. You can also brainstorm possible solutions with other members of your business, or even other small business owners. However, if you don’t have a systematic way of tracking customer concerns, then there is little chance that you will be able to resolve them. Getting customer contact information for these concerns can also be helpful, since once you have possible solution(s), you can check if the new solution has solved the problem, if it has not, or even if there are other issues created by a possible solution. Some customers will express their difficulties freely, but with others, you will need to take the first steps to uncover what should be done better.

In short, tip sheets are valuable to nearly every small business, while training employees to be highly knowledgeable also is needed, and a list of customer issues is enormously helpful. In utilizing these three techniques, a small business owner has greatly improved their chances of favorable customer opinions, and building a lasting business.

Copyright 2010, Marc Mays

5 Tips on How to Market Your Small Business Online – Even If You’re a Newbie!

Small businesses these days need to figure out an effective plan to use the Internet as a profitable marketing tool. If they can figure out a way to market your small business online, then their labors will be fruitful.

Here are five great tips to help you market your small business online.

Tip 1: Create An Informative Website

Potential customers who visit your website need to be treated as if they all have A.D.D. This means treat them as if they all have very short attention spans and loose interest quickly. This is true. Marketing research suggests you have about 6 to 8 seconds to convince customers that you have a product they need. Also, your website should informative and have well written product descriptions.

Tip 2: Start Blogging

Another great way to market your small business online is to start blogging. Because, with blogging, you are able to write in a more conversational and personable manner. Using blogging as a marketing tool will open up a whole new audience for you, especially if you are one of the first to blog about your business’s niche.

Tip 3: Podcast

This may seem, to some, an odd way to market your small business online. But don’t tell that to the Fortune 500 companies who have jumped on the Podcasting bandwagon. You still have the ability to stand out amongst the competition with Podacasting. Podcasts can be effective because people are hearing a voice that they can connect more with, rather than a piece of paper.

Tip 4: You Tube Broadcasts

Again, another tip that many may not feel would be a good way to market your small business online. You can put a link on your website to a You Tube clip, or you can display a link to your website at the end of your You Tube clip. But don’t just use boring old infomercials on there. Make your video capture the audience and stand out from the crowd. That sounds like a great way to market your small business online to me.

Tip 5: Get A Memorable Domain Name

For example, a domain name in your Internet address, like Google.com. You need to create a catchy and memorable name if possible. How many people will always remember Yahoo, Google, Monster, etc. It is also more preferable if you have a domain name ending in .com or .net. These are all great ways to market your small business online.

5 Marketing Tips For Small Businesses From Kitty Cat

I got some great marketing tips for small businesses from my neighbor’s cat. I call her Kitty Cat.

Kitty Cat comes to visit us several times a day. The minute we unclick the lock on our patio door this red, grey and white striped cat jumps a six–foot fence and waits for us to open it.

It was several months ago I told my hubby, “Where are the neighborhood cats?” We haven’t seen any for 3-4 years, yet there always was one or two drifting around our complex giving us that loving greeting that only a cat can give.

It must have been the “Law of Attraction” because within a week there were three cats sitting on our fence — all equally spread out on their turf avoiding contact with each other with their eyes on us as we ventured out in our patio. Two of them were what we call “scaredy cats,” afraid to approach us, except for Kitty Cat. In time only Kitty Cat continued to greet us several times a day as we entered our patio on the way to our garage.

Kitty Cat is waiting for some love as we approach her. We can’t resist petting her and watching her enjoy every moment. However, we know there is only one thing on her mind right now — she wants to come in our house. She looks forlornly with her Kitty Cat eyes at the patio door. When we are inside and she is out looking in that is the most emotional time for us. She wants in and waits and waits for us to let her in

However, we know she has an owner and is well fed. Our rule is don’t feed her and don’t let her in the house or she may never leave. With our busy schedules we do not have time for pets so it is nice to have a friendly visiting cat to befriend without having to make a long time commitment.

You are probably wondering why I am going on and on about our adventures with Kitty Cat and what this has to do with marketing tips for small business? It is because Kitty Cat is the perfect Marketer. She does everything she can do to persuade us to let her in our house. She is relentless. At least four times a day she is at our patio door looking in with her green loving eyes.

Even though Kitty Cat is relentless neither my husband nor I are annoyed by her. We look forward to her visits. Isn’t that the way we must be with our customers and prospects? We should be sending loving, caring and helpful messages with tips and ideas that can help them with their business. We should keep our name in front of them and let them know we care about their business. We want to help them. Yes, we want their business because we know we can help them in exchange for their purchase.

Remember those “scaredy cats?” They gave up and stopped visiting us after Kitty took over with her loving personality. Don’t we want to be more like Kitty Cat in our marketing ventures with our prospects? Whether it is a book, ebook, or other products and services you are selling, you need the “Kitty Cat Marketing Approach.”

Kitty Cat gives us great marketing tips for a small business to use to attract clients and get noticed.

  1. Keep your name in front of your prospect through newsletters and correspondence that provide valuable ideas to help your prospects succeed in business.
  2. Give loving, friendly, helpful messages at least twice a month.
  3. Be committed and stay in contact with your leads.
  4. Let them go when they ask.
  5. Continue to build your list. (I am sure that we are not the only contacts in Kitty Cat’s nine lives.)

In time your prospects may want to open your “patio door” and come in to hear more about your product or service and to buy from you. Be ready to let them in.

Those are the five marketing tips for small business that I got from Kitty Cat. Oh! There she is at the patio door looking in begging me to open the door. Shall I? What do you think?

© 2009 Joan Clout-Kruse