How to Better Manage Your Own Business

Internal Functions

 I.  Functional Structure of all Businesses (Three Legged Stool)

a.  Tensions among the departments.

II.  Business Plan (Plan your work and follow your plan)

III.  Communicate your Vision – The Company’s Mission.
Employees actions and attitudes come from the top!

a.  Daily communication. Make sure all know it and “buy into” it.
b.  Entire scope and quality of operations come from the top.

i.  Building a Cathedral
ii.  Employee awareness of the importance of all team members’ contributions.
iii.  Encourage empathy and co-operation

IV.  Establish Procedures

a.  Time management
b.  Quality control
c.  Communication of procedures
d.  Meeting with your direct report managers
e.  Backing up your direct report managers
f.  Direct communications with employees
g.  Follow business plan
h.  Communication of results
i.  Other….

V.  Personnel Management

a.  Recognize personality types (engineering mindset; altruistic mindset)
b.  Delegation of authority and responsibility (racehorses pulling plows)
c.  In all phases, look ahead an appropriate length of time (minimum of two weeks for small businesses)
d.  Communication is of primary importance
e.  Fairness and the perception of fairness.
f.  Explain goals, ask for input from all – with the clear understanding that once your decision is made, everyone needs to follow it wholeheartedly.
g.  Review and discuss management test questions.

VI.  Know Your Numbers

a.  Reference and update your business plan.
b.  Cash Flow is Everything
c.  Cash Flow is not Profit (depending upon specific industry and billing practices)
d.  When to hire; when to cut.

i.  How to hire
ii.  How to fire
iii.  Documentation

e.  Reserves

i.  Insurance
ii.  Income taxes
iii.  Payroll taxes
iv.  Sales taxes
v.  Future expenses

VII.  Be Prepared

a.  Insurance

i.  Casualty
ii.  Business Interruption
iii.  Disability
iv.  Life
v.  Partnership Agreements (buy-outs, business evaluations, etc.)

b.  Employee Benefits

i.  Retirement Plans
ii.  Health Insurance
iii.  Life Insurance
iv.  Vacation Policy
v.  Sick Time Policy
vi.  Personal Time Policy
vii.  Advances and Loans
viii.  Termination procedures and Severance Pay

c. You are no longer there

i.  Death
ii.  Disability
iii.  Evaluating the Business
iv.  Selling the Business
v.  Closing the Business

External Functions

VIII.  Communication with Customers individually

a.  Share Company’s Mission/Vision (newsletters, etc.)
b.  Establish clear understandings in writing. Avoid surprises.

i.  Payments
ii.  Adjustments
iii.  “Come Backs” and returns
iv.  Service Call Priorities
v.  Your personnel are your primary contacts; e.g. Conrad Hilton’s example
vi.  Etc.

IX.  Communications with Bankers and Investors/Stakeholders

a.  Periodic reporting of progress vis-à-vis Business Plan
b.  Furnishing accurate and clear financial statements, in good form, on a timely basis.

X.  Communications with the General Public: Advertising and Public Persona

a.  Gear advertising around a theme that reflects your mission statement.
b.  Be a good “corporate citizen.” Word will get around.
c.  Play to your strengths; e.g. personal service v. size of competitors, local presence, etc. Note:  Generally, the price is the least effective way to advertise your products and services.  Know why someone should do business with your rather than someone else; analyze this, don’t just say “you’re the best,” if you can’t give examples.
d.  Use testimonials, as might be appropriate.
e.  As in communications with customers, your personnel are your most powerful statements about your company.

XI.  Other items that might arise for discussion.