Starting a new business is always exciting, but actually establishing the business is only the beginning. The real challenge lies ahead as you try to take your business off the ground. Working with vendors, making sure that customers are happy, and keeping the business running smoothly are all obstacles that need to be tackled.
The latter is actually very important. Good business management and administration are the foundation of success. Unfortunately, many businesses – especially small and medium businesses – consider business administration and management to be less important than marketing or production. In reality, business administration is something you need to get right from the beginning, and these 5 tips will help you do just that.
Business in the Cloud
If you are still using paper documents to organize your business, you are doing it wrong. Yes, documents are handy in some situations, but your business should run in the cloud from the beginning. You no longer have to invest heavily in hardware and business solutions now that they are available as services.
For managing customers, for example, you can rely on solutions like HubSpot or Salesforce. Both of these are available as services and they cost nothing. In fact, you don’t have to invest in your own cloud cluster or on-premise servers to start taking advantage of the best CRM features available; these are features that are also being used by large enterprises to remain competitive.
Some of the business solutions you can use are:
- Customer Relationship Management, or CRM
- Project Management like Kanban
- Enterprise Resource Planning for integrating other workflows such as accounting and production
- Human Resource Management in the cloud
- Marketing automation tools
- General productivity suite like Google Docs
Over 80% of your business information will be stored digitally, so leveraging cloud infrastructure is the way to go. Besides, cloud computing opens the door to other optimization in business administration, including automation of repetitive tasks and the streamlining of internal processes.
Cover the Basics
You also want to make sure that you have the basics covered. If you pay attention to business administration courses, you will notice that all of them include classes in accounting and financial management, human resource management, and general management. You can go deep into a specific focus, but the three basics must be covered for your business to operate smoothly.
Maintaining a healthy cash flow is the first foundation to cover. Without a healthy cash flow, it is difficult for the business to stay afloat and operate at an optimum level. Many business owners actually go back to school and pursue their own Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in order to master the science of maintaining a healthy cash flow.
Human resource is the second basic to cover. The success of your business depends on the personal development of your team members. The more you invest in the right people, the higher your chances of achieving success as a business owner. In today’s world, human resource management is also about building culture and ensuring good teamwork.
Last but certainly not least, you want to make sure that the overall business processes are managed properly. This translates to ensuring sufficient audit trail, making sure that proper documentation is always present, and maintaining a standardized set of business processes within the organization. Cover these three basics and you will find growing the business to be easier.
Here’s the one secret you have to keep in mind about business administration: there is always room for improvement. You cannot expect to establish processes and workflows correctly on your first try. This is where the idea of startups – a fluid organization that embraces change – originated from. Change is the only constant.
Continuous improvement is a process that must be maintained (and even encouraged) within the organization. To make the process more manageable, there are a few steps you can take.
- Use retrospective reviews as ways to uncover problems and inefficiencies. Teams must be willing to take a deep look into their own processes and admit mistakes or inefficiencies if necessary.
- Seek repetitive issues and use them as signals. When a particular problem keeps happening, chances are refinement in the process or workflow is needed to avoid the same problem from occurring again.
- Push for efficiency and not excellence. Chasing perfection is never a good idea. Instead of pushing for excellence, focus more on improving efficiency and ensuring effectiveness in the process.
Managing a new business is always a challenge. You are in the process of establishing how the business operates and changes are to be expected. With these three tips in mind, you will have no trouble overcoming any challenge you face along the way.