While nobody said entrepreneurship would be easy — especially in the beginning — following several best practices will help to keep your small business running smoothly for years and years to come. Here are a few tried and true tips from entrepreneur Elijah Medge.
Foster a Positive Workplace Culture
Happy workers are the key to small business success, and cultivating a positive office culture is just one way to keep your employees happy and motivated through the years. According to Andrew Chamberlain and Daniel Zhao of Harvard Business Review, satisfied employees are associated with higher workplace productivity, happier customers, and increased business value.
But building a positive workplace culture isn’t all about rewarding employees for their performance or offering flexible work arrangements: It’s also important to spend time with your workers outside of the office and truly get to know them. Take them out to lunch, spend an afternoon playing board games or cards, organize company celebrations, and try a few team-building activities.
For fully remote teams, building and maintaining a positive work culture isn’t quite as easy — but it can be done.
Manage Your Cash Flow
Cash flow issues are common among small businesses, and unpaid invoices, a lack of savings, and bad bookkeeping are just a few causes of them. Here are a few solutions:
- Improve your invoicing process. Use an application programming interface (like a balance API software) to verify whether your clients or customers have the funds needed to pay for the products and services you’re offering them. Your customers or clients will avoid overdraft fees and you’ll avoid unpaid invoices or late payments.
- Track your business cash flow. Use mobile apps like Wave Bookkeeping or QuickBooks Online to track your business finances from anywhere.
- Pay with business credit when possible. Along with simplifying business cash flow, credit cards can be used to easily reimburse employees for expenses, earn cashback on purchases, and receive insurance coverage on vehicle rentals and trip cancellations.
Keep Everything Organized
An organized business is an efficient business. When your files and folders are organized and readily available, you save time and money — and you’re better able to serve your customers, clients, and employees. Plus, tax time is a lot less stressful when you have all your receipts, statements, and financial documents in one place.
Fortunately, lots of business tools and apps are available to organize your tasks, documents, and deadlines. Katharine Paljug of Business News Daily offers 17 recommendations to assist with organizing your business plans, documents, forms, emails, inventory, and employees. LivePlan, CamScanner, Moment, and Expensify are just a few of them.
Know Your Competitors
In order to stay ahead of your competition, you need to know your customers and competitors. This is why it’s important to conduct both a competitive analysis and a market analysis at least once every quarter, as doing so will help with identifying new business opportunities, overcoming challenges, and marketing your products and services to your target audience.
Websites like Product Hunt, the Yellow Pages, and Google Maps can all be used to search for your competitors, but you’ll also want to look at the websites, marketing materials, and social media pages of your competition. By doing so, you’ll learn more about their audience, preferred marketing tactics, and their strengths and weaknesses.
Entrepreneurs are no strangers to hard work, but with best practices like these, running a small business doesn’t have to be so challenging. By fostering a positive work culture, managing your cash flow, keeping everything organized, and getting to know your competitors and customers, you’ll simplify your business processes and keep your company running smoothly for many years to come.
Elijah Medge is an entrepreneur, coach, and mentor offering expert advice on all things leadership and business ownership. Visit Elijah’s website or get in touch with him directly.