Running a business can be both an incredibly rewarding and a very stressful experience – and that is regardless of whether you are winning or losing at it. The reality is that you are constantly under pressure to produce results and that, unless you operate a one-person show, there are lots of people and families whose welfare is dependent on you getting things more right than wrong.
As a business leader you should always be asking yourself what you can do better and how you can improve. This involves improving and refining existing new systems and practices and adding new arrows to your quiver to ensure that you are constantly ahead of your competitors. Here are a few ideas to help you plot the way forward as effectively as possible.
Financial knowledge is critical
To be successful in business you need to have the latest financial information at your fingertips. And by latest we don’t mean the latest information that is available, this could be three months old or more, it needs to be the actual latest information. In other words, if you are not the person collating and working on the finances you need to have somebody dedicated to this task.
Depending on how you want to set things up you could have a CFO or a chartered accountant doing this role or go for a book-keeper and advice providers who integrate with your internal systems via API and generate reports for you. Whatever option you opt for make sure that you who owes you, who you owe and that you are up to date with the cashflow situation.
Develop cash reserves
People running their own businesses are generally very focussed on investing profits back into their company. This is very laudable, and it is absolutely the way to go, but be smart about it. Before you start reinvesting make sure that you have both sufficient and accessible cash reserves in the bank to tide you over in the event of a disaster. Ideally you should have the equivalent of three month’s-worth of expenses available. It sounds like a lot but think of it as an insurance policy, guarding you against any issues or disasters that might occur.
Empower your people
Your staff are your biggest asset (and most likely your biggest expense as well). So, you need to make sure that they are giving you the best return on your capital outlay as possible. To do this you need to ensure that they understand what the business is about and what it strives to do. They also need to feel that you are available to them and that you care about them. You want them to be an extension of you – your representatives and ambassadors when you are not there, so go all out to ensure that they are able to be all that you want them to be in fulfilling their daily jobs.
If you want to be a success you need to recognize that you cannot do everything. In this regard delegation is critical. Surround yourself with people who you trust and share tasks and responsibilities with them. If your people are winning, then you are winning as well. It is never about individual plaudits but rather about achieving goals as a team. And you need to delegate in order for that to happen.