Business management is a lot harder than it is made out to be. Think about the team members you do not get along with and avoid contacting. Also, remember the times when you get fed up at work and go home to forget all the hustle for several hours. When you run a business, these things are unavoidable. Small business management requires great patience, empathy, friendliness, and yet assertiveness to manage individuals around. What is even more challenging is maintaining the right communication with your employees when you also need to gain customers, and satisfy the partners’ needs. As a small business owner or manager, you are stuck in the triangle of employees, customers, and partners.
Small Business Management Challenges and Solutions
Thankfully, in modern days there emerged a multitude of technological advances that ease the pressure of management. Technology is now handy not only for the management of individuals, but also for marketing, accounting, etc. In this article, I will share several challenges of small businesses that technology is capable of solving. If you want to learn how to run a small business with the help of digital tools, keep reading.
Finding the Right Employees
The success of business significantly depends on people who dedicate time and effort for day to day operations. However, the challenges for small business management is the lack of financial resources for employing decent workers. Business owners and managers might not be able to allocate a massive part of their budget to hire professionals. Plus, sometimes there are not enough employees with the required level of expertise.
The good news is that technology allows outsourcing for small businesses. There are a lot of options available for communicating distantly and collaborating on a project without physically being in one office. In this way, small business owners can enjoy low-cost experts from countries where the supply of labor is high. As they access the global base of workers, they are no longer limited with the potential local employees.
Flexible Work Environment
Usually, small business management demands handling of several tasks at the same time. The goals are high, responsibilities are challenging, and time is limited. Plus, managers need to maintain their work-life balance and spend quality time in their personal lives. Handling all these things might seem impossible.
However, today work environments have become very flexible with the help of technology. Business owners can control their operations and make decisions, even when they are not at work. Let’s imagine you are running a restaurant or retail store. If you integrate all business operations to a POS ( point-of-sale) system, you will be able to get live reports any time you wish. Whether you are taking a kid to school or having a sick day, you will be able to review the current data and retain control of your business.
The above situation is also applicable to employees who are in charge of daily tasks. Remote desktop applications exist which give those employees access to their files on office computers. In this way, they can also operate the tasks from home. Plus, if managers are worried about employee’s ignorance while working distantly, they can use time tracking software. This software maps out how the worker spent time or how much time they worked.
In any organization, managers achieve their goals by dividing teams into small groups/tasks. Then managers assign employees to these tasks and supervise the performance. Today’s technology also crawled into this process and delivered useful tools to optimize this process. For instance, enterprise applications help managers to view all the operations within the organizations. SAP is one of them which includes all the activities of HR, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, etc. in one application. There are different versions of this software, and the best one for small business management is SAP Business One. Besides, web-based project management tools such as Basecamp, 5 pm, Zoho helps to delegate tasks and track performance instantly.
Generating profits is one of the main goals of any business. However, if you operate a business in a small city, it is not likely that your customer base will be enormous. Alternatively, sometimes companies target a small niche of clients, which decreases the potential sales even more. Luckily, technological advances empower any business to reach a global, vast pool of customers. By establishing an e-commerce website, business owners and managers enlarge their client base. As a result, people from all around the world become one click away from your offerings.
Also, it takes a little time and effort to get customer feedback online. First, there are platforms specifically for sharing reviews of actual clients. Second, small businesses can also create surveys or questionnaires to get feedback. Collecting reviews of customers and improving the decisions based on them will lead to a lucrative market with more clients.
Small businesses usually do not have large budgets for marketing activities. Plus, managers can sometimes avoid investing in promotional activities as they cannot measure the effectiveness.
However, technological developments resulted in digital marketing, which is both more effective and measurable. For instance, email marketing is one of the digital disruptions to traditional marketing. Now small businesses can collect emails of visitors to their online or physical retail store. Tools like MailChimp allow managers to create professional emails and attach images or links. Plus, they can also measure how many people clicked and reacted to these messages. Similarly, banner displays or any other type of online advertising is easy to measure. Managers can always track how many people saw, clicked, or conversed with the help of ads.
Informed Decision Making
If you wonder how to run a small business effectively, one of the answers will be ‘make informed decisions.’ Only informed decision making empowers managers to make the right steps. For this process, managers need reliable data to base their rationale. As mentioned before, if you are using a POS system in your business, you can access live reports of the ongoing activities.
Let’s assume you have an online store with no physical location. In this case, data collection is even simpler. Google Analytics is one of the tools that managers can use. This platform collects data about the users visiting your e-commerce or any other type of website. With its help, managers can easily detect the demographics of frequent users, such as age, gender, geographic location, etc. Besides, they can also find which pages users visit more often and detect the most sold products. The possibilities of this platform are so much that I cannot summarize it in one paragraph.
Additionally, data storage is another challenge for small business owners and managers. In the past, all transactions were paper-based. It took a lot of space to store them. Besides, there was a considerable risk of losing, or messing up the papers. However, you can use a cloud system now to store data in a virtual database. Besides, it is much safer, and there is less probability of messing.
No matter the size of the business, managing it is a challenging process. Managers face several issues in day to day operations, which creates a lot of hassles for them. A small business is located in the center of a triangle surrounded by employees, partners, and customers. Hence, effective small business management requires satisfying the needs of all three parties while keeping them under control. Luckily, in modern-day technology has improved a lot and brought new tools to maintain operations. These tools help to find decent employees, have flexibility, control labor, gain customers, market effectively, make the right decisions, and store data safely.