Managing a small business has always been a complicated, complex, and hard endeavor, but never as difficult as today’s economic climate. With the unstable economy, few investment opportunities, and a strong sense of competitive nature in the corporate world, the day-to-day tasks of running a small business may seem too daunting. According to Get Busy Media, small business play as big a part in the American economy as ever: there are 27 million small business in the country, and they provide between 60% and 80% of all new jobs created.
Although running a small business is in no way easy, there are core basics to it. Seeing to these issues means that a business is ready for what comes its way. Although success is not guaranteed, once the small business owner knows what the fundamental steps of the process are, the situation will feel a whole lot easier to manage. At that point, the business can go forward in preparation, free to provide the service it was started for in the first place.
Preparing and Managing Finances
The first thing that a small business needs to get up and running is capital. Choosing who to get to invest is a delicate process. The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has various structured loan programs, as do most major banks. Compare interest rates thoroughly before choosing which to go with.
There is perhaps no process more complicated nor important to the success or failure of a small business than its financial management. This includes the “process of managing the financial resources, including accounting and financial reporting, budgeting, collecting accounts receivable, risk management, and insurance for a business.” (per Small Business Notes). The most important decision to be made in regards to managing your business’s finances is deciding whether you will personally be managing them, or if you will be hiring out for expert help. This is not necessarily an either/or option. If you are good at accounting but poor at bookkeeping, you can see to the one while hiring out for the other. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and decide from there.
How small is your small business? Most of even the smallest of business need the efforts of more than just a single individual to get off the ground. Hiring employees is an all important step – figuring out who is talented, trustworthy, and what they’re worth is essential, but at the end of the day, it’s going to be you who decides that. Things get considerably more complicated when it comes to managing employees. A solid payroll system is necessary, and filing all of your employee’s tax status will keep you and your business in the clear come tax season. It is also essential that the small business owner thoroughly acquaint themselves with the federal and state labor laws.
It is of the utmost importance that a small business be prepared for the worst. This can include such disasters as fire, weather, theft or property damage, employee illness or injury. Having the right plan ahead of time can cut down on damage recovery time, and it can keep your business afloat, making sure that it stays in business. Planning makes all of the difference in the world, so it is important that during the stages of starting up a small business, this preparedness does not get shuffled to the back burner, as tends to happen.
Keys To Success
Once your small business is in the process of opening – you have a good financial management system in place, you have a trustworthy and talented staff, you have acquainted yourself with all of the laws, rules and regulations, and you’ve planned for the worst, just in case – how do you go about seeing that your business is not only stable, but thriving? There is no science to this, it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of luck. But there are things that the small business owner can do to help their chances.
Spread the word. Get your business’s name out there. Figure out who your target consumer base is and what the best way to reach them is. Keep up to date with trends in buying, as well as advertising. Try and budget out resources for advertising, and then consider how wide you want to advertise. Sometimes a print add in the local paper will do; other times a radio or even television commercial is what’s needed. Social media made it much easier and cheaper to advertise for small businesses. But the first step is knowing who your potential customers and clients are, and where it is that you can reach them. This is a tricky thing to get your thumb over, but the rewards you’ll reap if you do will have your business booming.
Top Ten Small Business Financial Applications – Small Business Computing gives out 10 helpful recommendations for applications to make the process of setting up a financial system smoother.
Bookkeeping Systems – A business’ bookkeeping system is the backbone of its accounting system. Here, Small Business Notes breaks down the need-to-know basics of such a system.
Disaster Assistance for Businesses of All Sizes – The SBA’s helpful breakdown of loan programs for all kinds of businesses which have been struck by unforeseen disaster.
Effective Staff Management Tips for Small Businesses – Business Blogs helpful tips for the management of a good and healthy staff. Provides information for managers wanting to keep a good relationship with their employees.
Hiring Employees and Processing Payroll – provided by My New Company: Start-ups Made Simple. Step-by-step breakdown of the process of hiring employees and processing payroll.
5 Tips for Small Business Success – Bankrate.com provides five tips for the small business regarding how to avoid legal, tax, and financial problems down the line.