Operate Your Small Business for Maximum Efficiency

Nowadays, I think of my business as a high performance automobile engine, which must be finely turned and calibrated to run at its optimum speed and maximum efficiency. I can tell you from experience that in order to operate a small business at maximum efficiency and profitability, it takes:

1. Personal and financial discipline.

2. Organizational skills.

3. Management know-how.

4. Meticulous planning and attention to detail.

5. Prioritization of tasks according to their profit potential.

6. Maximum use of available technology.

7. Accurate record keeping.

8. Maximum use of all the tax benefits that are available to small business owners.

It Takes Discipline to Operate a Business at Maximum Efficiency and Profitability

It takes a combination of personal and financial discipline to operate a small business at maximum efficiency and profitability. First, you need to have the initiative and self-discipline that’s required to be successfully self-employed. You must work smart, so you don’t waste your valuable time doing grunt-type tasks that can be hired out. In other words, don’t spend your time cleaning up trash around your office when you should be out searching for customers. Second, you need to possess the financial discipline that’s necessary to operate your small business at maximum profitability. The only way that you’re ever going to be able to keep your spending under control is by:

1. Adopting a bottom-line mentality that’s totally focused on maximizing the profitability of your business.

2. Operating your business on a bare-bones budget by buying all equipment, supplies, and services at the lowest available prices in your area.

3. Keeping close track of operating expenses by carefully reviewing all invoices for errors, overcharges, and bogus charges.

Prioritize Tasks according to Their Profit Potential

The number one question that you must continually ask yourself when you’re working in your small business is: Is what I am doing right this minute the most profitable use of my time? A lot of people fail as small business owners simply because they’re never able to prioritize tasks according to their profit potential. They end up never making a profit because they couldn’t distinguish between what’s important and what’s trivial. As a general rule of thumb, I consider any business function that doesn’t contribute directly to my bottom line to be low priority and best left for after business hours. In other words, if the task at hand isn’t part of the process of completing a real estate transaction that will eventually end with me going to the bank; I put it off until later in the day.

Avoid Reinventing the Wheel Every Time You Need to Complete a routine Task

Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of reinventing the wheel every time you need to complete a routine task. The term, reinventing the wheel, refers to re-creating something from scratch. An example of reinventing the wheel would be retyping standard documents, such as purchase agreements, over and over again, instead of storing them in a Microsoft Word document file where they can be printed out as needed. The point here is to work smart by making your operating as streamlined as humanly possible.

Operate Your Small Business on a Bare-Bones Budget

One surefire way to fail as a small business owner is to run your operation in a slipshod manner with no financial controls in place to keep your operating costs from going through the roof.

Reasons for Every Business to Have a Server to Increase Efficiency

Whether it’s dealing with customers, technical issues, or other employees, it’s important for everyone involved in a small business to know where they can find the resources they need to get the job done. Investing time and energy into any task that takes away from focusing on the core business simply cannot be tolerated in a successful small business. Every month small businesses devote countless hours to tasks that drain their precious resources. Time can’t be wasted searching for the right file or form or updating PC software, for example.

Investing in a server and creating a server-based network for the small business creates a number of efficiencies. A server changes the way that small businesses handle information by making small businesses more efficient in the way they communicate with partners and employees, collaborate on projects, and secure the information that is vital to the business.

Here are five ways that buying that first server for the small business will increase efficiency and allow employees to concentrate on the core business.

1. Easier Access to Information

Once a small business grows beyond more than one person or PC, the files and data that the business depends on can become more difficult to track. Peer-to-peer networks, which are popular among small businesses without a server, only work when all of the PCs are available and connected to the network. USB drives and Web-based e-mail are popular ways to transport and store data, but they present security risks and aren’t an efficient way to find and share files.

A server provides a centralized, secure repository for all of the important files that make small businesses go. Administrators can create, edit, and delete registered users of server-based networks to help control which users have access to the information. Applications that live on servers, and the information they contain, are available to users with accounts for those applications.

Using secure remote access technologies like virtual private networks allows employees to access information from laptops when they aren’t physically in the office. The ability to remotely connect to a server-based network means even a small business with one employee can benefit from using a server if they spend a lot of time on the road, visiting clients, or working from job sites. Gaining access to e-mail and information from mobile devices like a BlackBerry or Windows Phone requires a server to manage users and security. Small business employees need to quickly and easily locate the information they need regardless of their location. Introducing a server-based network keeps information organized and accessible to those who need it with more reliability and security than peer-to-peer networks and ad hoc methods of storing information.

2. Gain Control of E-Mail

Having a server allows small businesses to create, use, and control e-mail addresses on their own domain, which gives even the smallest of businesses a more professional image than using a free e-mail service like Yahoo! or Hotmail. Small businesses can turn to a hosting provider to get e-mail using their domain name, but like any outsourcing relationship, that means giving up some amount of control.

Buying a server and hosting e-mail lets small businesses control the creation of e-mail addresses, aliases, and distribution lists. This level of control makes it easier for e-mail to grow with the company. Even more important than the e-mail addresses is the e-mail data. Businesses of all sizes rely on e-mail for communication with employees, customers, partners, and suppliers. Maintaining control over all of those communications is not only convenient, but it has legal implications as well.

Marketing Mistakes That Small

The second fatal mistake, is not having a budget. When it comes to making sales whether it is for a chiropractic business or an online business, if clients do not know that you exist, they can not buy from you. And in order to have your clients know about you this will take either time or money or both. Consider the marketing strategies that require time, for example: networking, speaking engagements, educational opportunities – like webinars, and social media. They might not require lots of money, but without a small budget, none of these strategies will produce stellar results.

Let’s look at networking for example. Going to a networking event can be free or low cost, but in order to make that event productive, let’s look at the steps it really takes. First, you will want to have business cards and possibly a name tag. Once you have their business card, you will want to follow up with them and keep in touch. At least sending an email or personal card. This can be a time intensive effort and by just missing one step, like not knowing who to network with or not following up, can cost you dearly.

This brings us to many business owner’s third fatal mistake, they don’t take time to learn how to market or sell their products. Even if you get the other 2 steps right, this alone can stop you in your tracks. Suppose you have a plan and reasonable budget, it is very easy waste TONS of money on marketing and not get results. For example, let’s say you decide to place an ad in a local newspaper and in your excitement, you don’t put a compelling offer in the ad. Your ad just says who you are and your phone number. Three months later, you have spent almost a thousand dollar and you are frustrated that didn’t work. So you try another paper and another and before you know it, nothing seems to work. The problem is not the media’s, but the marketing strategy. Without a compelling message, a trackable ad, and correct placement, you can quickly drain even deep pockets.

This leads us to our fourth mistake, not tracking where your clients are coming from. Let’s say that you have deep pockets and you are marketing your business everywhere. The calls start coming in and before you know it, your business is growing. But then a hiccup occurs: the city decides to do road maintenance right in front of your business and the business slows down. Now with a smaller budget, you can not market like you did before, but you don’t know where your clients came from so you are left to guess where to spend your smaller budget. Guess wrong, and this might mean the end. Business development should not be left up to guessing. Tracking your business is critical to the success of your business, but in our excitement we often forget to track what generated the business leaving us guessing what worked.

And finally, the fifth mistake is not optimizing your marketing. Once you do track your business, then it is time to review which marketing efforts are creating the best results. This is easy to do when you have the data. Track the following information per campaign: new contacts (people who contact you from the efforts of that campaign), new clients that you get from that campaign, cost of the campaign and revenue generated from the campaign. These four numbers will reveal the insight to what is really working.

So to give your business the best boost, following these 5 steps:

1. Plan your marketing

2. Have a budget

3. Learn the basics of marketing

4. Track your results

5. Optimize your marketing.

The most important part of marketing is understanding what to do and why. Get a free 15 day subscription to a powerful small business marketing tool [http://www.PromozillaMarketing.com] that will outline how to implement over 170 different marketing strategies.

Kimberly Deas a marketing consultant and the founder of PromozillaMarketing.com, an online marketing tool that educated and trains small business owners on how to successfully market their business.

Business Consultant Services

When you hire a business consultant you are hiring experience and expertise in a wide range of business elements. They can bring a new perspective to your business in terms of operation analysis, obtaining finance, strategic planning, management consulting and a great deal more.

Very few small owners have much business knowledge or acumen, and even fewer contacts in the business world that can help them with good advice. Business consultancy services can offer you these missing ingredients that can not only turn a failing company round into a successful enterprise, but can also build on the success of a successful firm and enable it to even further dominate its market.

So your small business need not be failing for you to make the best use of a business consultant – successful businesses also employ them to accelerate what may already be a rapid growth rate.

Why Hire a Business Consultant?

Have you just started up and are unsure where to go next?
Is your business losing money?
Do you understand your market but lack some necessary business skills?
Is your business growing but you want it to grow faster?
Have you reached a point where you need professional help to advance?
Have you a need find out more about your customers’ needs?

If you can identify with any of these situations then a business consultant can help you. Here are some of the benefits hiring a business consultant can offer:

Starting up a new business from scratch
Maximizing the profitability of your business
Locating areas of your business needing specific attention
Identifying potential problems and being proactive in resolving them
Helping you to formulate strategic and systematic plans to enable your business to grow
Making best use of marketing and the USPs of your products or services
Helping you find finance to develop your business
Providing you with new ideas and strategies you had never thought of yourself
A business consultant provides the knowledge and know-how currently missing in your business

Although you may believe hiring a business consultant to be expensive, they are more affordable than you might believe. They are very cost effective and what you spend in fees you can make many times over in improvement in efficiency and profitability.

There are no doubts that hiring a business consultant can benefit your business, but to make the best use of such as service you should:

a) Hire the best you can afford – with good references and an excellent track record, and

b) Learn from them: how do they operate, what techniques are they using and what third party services, websites or software do they use.

Hiring is fine, but make sure that you learn from them as much as possible. While the major reason why business owners need to hire a business consultant is that they genuinely need help, it doesn’t make sense to pay money and fail to learn how to copy their techniques and understand the third party services that they may use.

Small Business Growth: It’s A Capital Great Idea

As a marketing business coach I have seen anywhere from six months to a year. The key is to be in a position to sustain yourself. Also, you want to have enough capital to not only sustain your business but to grow it.

There are the two components of the small business growth cycle. You must have a marketing business plan and sufficient capital. Otherwise your probability of getting where you want to go is greatly diminished.

Small Business Growth-Do You Have The Capital

What is capital? You hear about it all the time. Quite simply, it is the funds you are willing or capable of investing in your business and business growth without knowing when you may see a return.

This is where I have seen most business owners come up short. Somehow they assume that magically there will be enough profit in what they do to support business growth.

Starting your own business is a great challenge. But, running a business in a manner to where it can grow is an even bigger challenge.

In the beginning most businesses spend more money on start up and the first few months than anticipated. This leaves them short of capital to invest in the business. As a personal business coach I can assure you that it is a very good idea to have a budget.

This way you know in advance what to expect and hopefully have contingency plans if things, as they usually do, don’t work out as intended. If you don’t have extra capital or know where to get it then you really don’t have a plan for your business growth.

Small Business Growth-It Depends On Capital

As a personal business coach I have observed that the number one killer of small businesses and the dreams that they represent is lack of capital. Very often small business will start out and be growing.

Yet, the funds aren’t there to help build the processes and structure to support the growth After the unforeseen expenses and unexpected needs there isn’t much left over for business growth.

This is a problem for several reasons.

If you can’t fund growth, your level of service or the product quality that enabled you to grow diminishes.
When your level of service or product quality diminishes there is a decline in customer confidence.
With a decline in customer confidence there starts to be a decline in business.
If the decline isn’t addressed early on then the business gets a bad reputation and then business growth goes from a hill to climb to a mountain that cannot be scaled.