MANAGING A BUSINESS is a juggling act. What should you prioritize next? What most needs your attention? It can often be a process of putting out fires daily — responding to who or what most urgently needs your attention.
However, to run a business effectively and see it achieve its full potential, it’s important to take a step back and take stock of what your business most needs from you.
The secret is to look at the long term “most important” factors rather than the shorter term “most urgent” ones. Here are five key areas to monitor most closely to get the results you need.
1. Your Organizational Structure. Even the smallest of teams will develop a hierarchy, often based on the length of time employees have been part of your staff. This ad hoc pecking order may not be placing the best people in the best positions. Who gets the most opportunities to sell diamonds? Is it your most senior employee, or is it your best diamond seller? You need a clear structure with clear roles, clear titles, and clear job descriptions (unless you are expecting nature to fill the void for you).
2. Your Financial Performance. Do you monitor your numbers regularly, or is your definition of numbers what your CPA gives you on an annual basis? It’s almost a well-worn cliché, but you can only manage what you measure. Your numbers are the cholesterol, the heart rate, and the blood pressure of your business. Check them every day.
3. Your Own Job Description. What is your role in the business? What is the best use of your time and how can you contribute in a way that uses your skills most effectively? Too often, I find owners will organize their staff members’ roles without effectively organizing their own.
4. Time Management. Having defined your role and that of your staff, you need to ensure that your time is used wisely. According to Inc.com, the average worker doing an eight-hour day is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes of that time — less than 50 percent! That leaves over five hours of the day that you are paying staff to do nothing, a tremendous waste of time and resources. Ensuring time is well managed and utilized is a huge cost saver for your business and an effective means of increasing your results.
5. Your Culture. Every organization has a culture of what they represent, whether they are aware of it or not. What your company does and what it stands for will determine the extent to which employees commit and engage in your business and how they will treat your customers. The absence of an organized culture does not mean one doesn’t exist — nature will again fill the void and you risk a toxic culture being formed if you don’t take steps to control it. Companies with happy employees have been shown to outperform the competition by 20 percent.
Being a manager is about making active choices, not fighting fires. Shaping your goals consciously in each of the areas listed above will make a huge difference to your business performance.