6 business management tips for SMEs

small business

Small and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of business in Australia accounting for a large percentage of private sector jobs in Australia. If you’re one of the millions of small business owners, these business management tips might help you stay ahead of the game.

#1 Hire the right people

Spotting a niche, offering quality products or services and drafting a sound business plan are all important factors but any business is only as good as the people who work within it. Choosing the right people can be instrumental in driving your business forward and your employees can often represent your most important investment. The employee also needs to have the right set of skills and experience for the role you’re trying to fill. For example, if you’re looking to build a community on social media, look for someone with a track record of building these communities not just someone who claims to be active on social media. Set a set of measurable criteria to judge how best they did it.

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#2 Learn to delegate

Many small business owners have built their own business from the ground up. As the business grows they often find it difficult to loosen their grip on the reigns but constant micro-managing can sometimes be counter-productive, affecting your staff’s confidence and ability to do their job. If you’ve hired the right people, trust them to do what they’re being paid to do. Delegating also frees up the owner to focus on strategy and develop a vision of where they need the business to be as well as focus on self-development.

#3 Get on top of your payroll

Payroll is important for operations of any size. Your staff must be paid correctly and on time and you also have to report your payroll transactions to your government agency for the collection of taxes. Different countries have unique rules and regulations when it comes to how and when to report taxes, so have a look online to see how things work in your local area. In the UK, using online payroll software for SMEs can help simplify the process and make sure you submit the relevant information correctly and on time. It can also help with other aspects of payroll such as producing payslips which makes the entire process seamless and less likely to need someone to sit there and do everything manually.

#4 Take cover

Some types of insurance such as employers’ liability insurance are compulsory. This covers you for any liability should an employee suffer an injury or become ill because of the work they do for you and it must be taken out as soon you employ anyone. You should also make sure that you have adequate insurance in other appropriate areas, whether it’s compulsory or not. Covering your stock, premises and even your own ability to work and continue the business are all vitally important. Tony Bourke, Author of Risk Your Business, Risk Your Life explains that start-ups commonly forget about budgeting for insurance and this often results in a frantic call to a supplier, where a business owner gets sold whatever they’ve been advised over the phone in a call centre.

#5 Keep your cash flow moving

A break in cash flow can be very damaging to an SME. Get in the habit of invoicing promptly and follow up on unpaid invoices. Unfortunately, chasing payments is a familiar part of the job for many small business owners. On the other side of the coin, make payments that you are invoiced for as promptly as you can, as this can help forge a stronger relationship with your suppliers and engender a sense of trustworthiness.

#6 Develop and grow

Not every business owner dreams of one day floating their business on the stock market or steering a multinational corporation. Sensible expansion can help keep your business healthy and provide motivation and challenge beyond just day to day operation. Keep an eye on trends and see if you can position your business to take advantage of these – also focus on developing multiple income streams e.g. e-courses, coaching, blogging or even podcasts and webinars.

photo credit: Cam Miller 2014 via photopin cc

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