Imagine Knowing…the possibilities are endless Strategies for organizational success

16Jul/170

Challenges of Running a Business

Who has time to reflect on all the needs of their business?  You are busy trying to do sales and marketing, networking, paying the bills, collecting money, worrying about taxes and governmental issues, and having a life outside of the office.  And that is just if you are a sole proprietor.  When adding employees, partners, and stockholders to the mix, many new levels of complexity arise.  Then there is the stock market, economic indicators, consumer confidence, vendor relationships, and more to deal with.

What is overlooked or not fully handled, and important for the health of your business?  What changes might help you have more time to focus on long-range planning and securing the future, as well as have more of a personal life?  In the sections below, are some ideas, and more issues to ponder.

Business owners and managers may want to look at outsourcing certain support aspects of their business, especially in areas where they are not technically competent.  For example, a person who is a wizard in sales and marketing may outsource the accounting work.  The peace of mind that comes from not having to deal with numbers and taxes, along with getting accurate financial statements, may be worth the monetary outlay.  Outsourcing also allows the owner or manager to focus on other, more productive work, which in turn can more than cover the cost for accounting services.

What about fully training your employees to carry their full share of the workload?  Many employees want to grow and get frustrated when not allowed to do their job, aren’t given the tools to do it, or do not get the training and support needed to do the job well.  In the accounting situation mentioned previously, perhaps an employee can learn to do the books, at least the basic day-to-day stuff, and then your CPA could verify the information, and do the more complex accounting and taxes.  What other tasks might an employee handle for you?  Are you paying them to play on the computer, or to be productive?  Do you hold them accountable for tasks they are responsible for?  And, do your employees have any clue about what your goals and ideas are?  Do you ask for their help in finding creative solutions to problems?

What training do you need to support and monitor your employees?  Controls are important as well.  If you have anyone else (employee or outsource agency) doing work for you, it is critical that you can understand, verify, and authorize the outcomes, e.g., do you understand financial statements and watch your bank accounts carefully for fraud?

Are you doing things that don't add value?  Do you have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish?  It is very easy to start working on two or three different seemingly compatible venues that end up costing you enormously in terms of time, money, and energy.  Focusing on what you do best will help you stay on track.   If there are multiple areas you are passionate about, be creative in finding ways to combine them into a whole new niche.

Is your product range too narrow?  For example, if you are selling a software product, what happens when the competition grows and the market becomes saturated with similar products?  What happens when the customers cannot afford to constantly upgrade?  What happens when your vendor goes out of business or their product is discontinued?  Do you have enough product diversity to cover the rough spots?  Is your product range too broad?  Do you have inventory everywhere and have trouble tracking it?  Are your dollars tied up in unsold goods?  Does product “disappear” between physical counts?  Is it all highly perishable and needs constant replacement?  What happens if the power goes out for a few days?

Services can also be too narrowly defined.  What if no one wants your service?  How can you adjust your service to meet the customer’s perceived needs?  Do you try to do too many services, and end up being mediocre at all of them?

Do you have plans in place in the event there is a major disruption such as a fire, earthquake, or criminal act in the workplace?  Do your employees know how to evacuate the building?  Are your data and assets protected?  What is your insurance coverage?  What choices can you make now to save you grief in the future?

Your health and personal growth are critical to your company.  Do you take time off periodically to rest and reflect?  Are you getting professional coaching and business and leadership training?  Do you spend enough time with your family?  If your business cannot do without you for even a brief period, why are you so indispensable?  Is this your vision of what running a business is all about?  How do you get back to that exciting place of having an idea and wanting to start a business?  Imagine knowing ways to help find that place again.

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