By Laurica Kok, General Manager at Sage HR & Payroll
When you start a business of your own, you'll find time is short, resources are scarce, and work is plentiful. Here are some ideas about where you should spend your time and energy when you have so many tasks and priorities to contend with.
Growing your business
Business development spells the difference between the success and failure of your efforts as an entrepreneur. Thus, you should devote the majority of your time towards researching what your customers need and developing strategies to attract them to your products and services. Networking with prospects, customers, and prospective business partners is time well spent, but choose the meetings and events you attend carefully.
Staying hands-on with customer service in your business's early months and years will help you to stay in touch with customer’s needs and ensure that customers are happy. Good word of mouth from great customer service will enhance your business's reputation and aid its growth. That doesn't mean that you need to micromanage your team, but that you should be there to help and support them and that you should give your business a face to the customer.
Irrespective of the business you're in, you'll need reliable and competitively priced suppliers and service providers to help you deliver high quality goods or services to your customers. Shop around and talk to other business owners about their experiences. Look at which providers have a good reputation for service and support, and which don't; consider what sort of contractual terms you can secure; and look at the trade-offs between pricing and quality. Sometimes, the cheapest provider isn't the best - you want a supplier who'll come through for you when you have a big order to fill.
The success of your business depends on hiring and retaining top quality staff - the kind of people who are not only there to collect a payslip at the end of each month, but those who are passionate about what they do and of the business. Getting the most from your people depends on your leadership skills. If you're not a natural leader, seek out coaches, mentors or courses that can help you develop your management skills.
Staying on top of admin
Business admin is the bane of most entrepreneurs' lives. Make this easier on yourself by paying bookkeepers, clerks, and secretaries to take care of the paperwork for you. Rely on outsourcing or temping services if you don't have the budget or workload to hire someone full-time. If you have the skill or inclination to do your own admin, put the technology in place to make your life easier - for example HR and payroll systems or customer relationship management software.
There are many areas of business that entrepreneurs need to focus on and be involved in, but as your business grows, you will need to delegate many of these core tasks to your hired staff, and focus your time and energy on managing your key people. You will also be able to save a huge amount of time and money by implementing technology systems and solutions that have been designed to streamline business processes, giving your staff greater flexibility and ensuring your peace of mind that your numbers are accurate.