Learning how to run a successful small business is a lot more than knowing your profession and keeping the accounting straight. Management and team building will take on a whole new meaning when there's a team. When you’re running a small business, you don’t have an HR department to take care of your employees and you may even be the direct supervisor for everyone. Figuring out how to manage staff in a small business can be the key to producing better work, increasing your revenue, and having more fun. Here are the top 10 small business organization tips to help you find and hold on to the employees that can do the most for your business:
Creating an Attractive Company – Take Care of All Administrative Issues
Talented employees with a good work ethic make it easy to manage your team, and make the question of how to run a successful small business easier than ever before. But employees like that will also always be in demand, no matter the state of the job market. Even before you start recruiting, make sure that your company is the kind of stable place a responsible worker would choose. Besides having customers who pay you, that also means that all your business licenses should be up to date, you should have general liability insurance, and should be up to date on your bills. If you’ve got those things covered, prospective employees can know that they won’t have the rug pulled out from under them.
Recruiting and Hiring – Be Clear and Thoughtful
Start by setting aside time for the recruiting and hiring process. Rushing it could mean you’ll end up with a subpar employee. Be very clear about what you’re looking for but also remember that you’re not the only one there who gets to choose. Every person you interview is also interviewing you so make sure to let them ask questions, sell the position, and be aware that every question you ask also signals something about the job and the company.
Benefits Package – Gather Information and Get Creative
Some benefits, like workers comp insurance, may be required by law. But others, like paid sick days or upgraded health insurance, are up to you. Find out from other local business about the standard for your industry. Remember that you may be competing for employees with large corporations. If you can’t match their salaries, you can probably compensate in other ways, with flexible hours, training opportunities, or exchanging perks with other local businesses.
Getting the Work Done – Make it Easy to Work Well
A lot of employees who want to do a good job feel frustrated because they don’t know what’s expected of them or feel like they’re not given the tools they need. Organize your workflow and make sure that everyone knows exactly where they fit into it. Every employee should know how their success is being measured and where to turn if something is unclear. This will also make everyone both more productive and happier.
Creating a Good Work Environment – Go the Extra Mile
You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to let your employees know that they’re valued. Give them a choice about which computer or toolset they use, make space for their favorite tea or coffee in the kitchen, and keep them in the loop about company news, even if it doesn’t affect their particular task. All these things make people feel personally invested, which leads to higher loyalty and motivation.
Small Business Team Building – Be Clear and Demonstrate Trust
People get resentful when they feel like they’re doing other people’s work or like their toes are being stepped on. Learning how to manage employees in a small business is about defining tasks clearly and making sure that all the puzzle pieces fit together. If you’ve hired great people and defined their roles clearly, you can take a step back. Let your staff members work together and get to know each other. You may find that they can bring out the best in each other and take your business even farther than you expected.
When Problems Arise – Listen, Really
When your employees bring you a problem, it’s easy to dismiss them thinking that you know how to run a small business and they don’t. But one of the biggest small business challenges is having only one person making decisions. Even the best business owner has biases, distractions, and insecurities. When problems arise, take the time to really listen to what everyone has to say. Besides understanding the best way of solving the crisis, this will also give you the in-depth information you need to spot patterns, get to the roots of issues, and prevent them in future. Just as important, it will also let your employees know that you’ve got their back.
Retaining Employees – Communicate and Adapt
Once you’ve found a great employee, hold on tight. Sit down with each employee on a regular basis (whether that’s weekly, monthly, or annually will depend on your business). Find out how their work is going, what their short and long-term professional goals are, and how you can help them reach those goals. Employees will leave if they feel they (and their paycheck) can grow somewhere else. Find ways to help them grow right where they are and you’ll find that they can become your company’s most important asset.
Being a Nice Person – Employees are People Too
As a business owner, your company may be your whole world. You spend hours figuring out how to run a successful small business, what you can to to improve, and how to optimize. Despite your commitment, it's important to remember that your employees have a life outside of work and that’s ok. You can retain your employees by understanding that their health, loved ones, and personal goals sometimes take precedence. Whether an employee wants to leave early for a dentist appointment, take a phone call from a babysitter in the middle of a meeting, or even take vacation time to attend a comic book convention, be supportive. If you show you care about your employees and what’s important to them, they and their families will show they care about you and your business.
Being a Good Boss – Lead by Example
Your behavior creates the company culture. If you need your employees to work over the weekend, you should be there, even if you can’t help directly with the work. If you want your employees to feel comfortable leaving early to pick up their kids from preschool – show up early yourself, work hard, and leave early, even if you don’t have kids.
Learning how to manage a small business isn’t easy. But good small business operations management practices can help you put together a team that you enjoy working with and that takes your business and your income to new heights.