Written by Guest Writer Gloria Martinez
Small businesses account for 99.9% of businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Being a small business owner means you get to make all the decisions. But that can also be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time entrepreneur. Optimizing your business with proven tips that have helped other small business owners can help you maximize your time and grow your business faster.
Encouraging employees to be innovative separates you from competitors that follow traditional methods. Creative thinking reveals unique solutions for common problems, which can improve your products or make your work processes more efficient to improve productivity. Innovation comes with a certain amount of risk, but it often pays off.
Establish Clear Processes
When you start your business, you often learn through trial and error. But once you find processes that work, repeating them makes sense. Document your processes to create established, written procedures for consistency. Modify your procedure documents as you change your processes to improve efficiency.
Create an Organizational System
Keeping documentation and materials organized makes your business more efficient. Create an organized filing system to make records easily accessible, and designate specific spots for all supplies and materials you use.
Strong relationships and clear communication ensure your employees, partners, and vendors work hard for you and do what you need. Establish communication standards, such as sending emails with clear details to have a record of communications. Listen to feedback from vendors and employees to improve your business.
Utilize Updated Software
Software streamlines many business processes, including payroll, staffing, inventory, and account management. For example, using payroll software lets you automate and simplify aspects of paying your employees and filing taxes to give you more time for other business activities.
Always update software to utilize all available features and have updated security. Outdated software puts your company at risk for cyberattacks. According to a study by Cisco, 40% of small businesses affected by cybersecurity breaches experienced more than eight hours of downtime due to the breach, and 41% were down for one to eight hours, which significantly hurts productivity.
Research the Market
Detailed market research helps you better understand your industry, target audience, and competitors. When you understand what your target audience needs and wants, you can give it to them in a way your competitors don’t to give your company the edge.
Growing your business is easier when you network within your community. Join the chamber of commerce to meet other entrepreneurs and use common resources. Partner with nearby businesses to promote one another. Online networking by interacting with followers on social media and joining local groups can expand your connections.
Practice Work-Life Balance
Taking care of yourself and establishing clear boundaries between work and home helps you stay focused and avoid burnout. For women especially, it can be difficult to balance responsibilities. Some ways to help include:
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
- Delegate tasks at home and work.
- Strive for balance over perfection.
- Ask your family for help or hire services to help.
- Exercise a minimum of 150 minutes per week.
Manage Your Small Business
Business best practices help guide your business decisions and improve operation. Use effective tools and strategies, from software like ETC Payroll to networking, to run your small business more efficiently.
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