Improving My Business – The Small Business Challenge Part 2

Improving My Business – The Small Business Challenge Part 2
Monday, April 2nd, 2012 Scott Bossart

Hello again.  Last week I talked about the importance of having a vision that not only encompasses all facets within the business but also a clear vision of the direction and the path to get there.  I also talked about the importance of communicating this vision to the work force staff and the critical path with establishing a level of expectation which will facilitate your business vision and goals.  Everyone has to understand, buy in, and support the vision or the business success development, and growth will be constrained.

This week, I want to talk about getting organized and transferring mental thoughts and expectations with regards to establishing, running, and operating a small business.  Understanding there is a thought process that starts once a business is conceived, a business plan if you will.  No business is conceived with simply waking up one day, walking out the door, and spending money on a mere whim whether people admit it or not.  There is always some thought process regarding the what, if, and how the business will be, even if only mentally, which takes an idea from conception through to the first dollar spent.  Bear in mind, I’m not referring to an time factors as this could be over the course of a day or two, which I would tell you might, be a bit short sided if this is the first attempt at managing a business.  I would say the same even if you have managed many businesses but this particular one is the first of its kind.  Yes, I am talking about how risk averse a person is.  Many factors impact the level of risk but only you can determine to what level you’re willing to take on in a business venture.  I would encourage you to read on as I will discuss processes and methods to help a small business owner mitigate that level of risk and/or build a level of confidence for a successful business venture. And yes, it does involve transferring what you are thinking to pen and paper.

Step one, establish a business plan.  A business plan is a living document that contains many segments.  It is taking what is in your mind and your thoughts and putting it to paper.  This process helps to discern what is emotional from what is realistic or practical.  The business plan will include many different segments and each targeting a specific aspect of the business.

1.       A Mission – Don’t get philosophical or simple feel good statements because you think it is right.  Be honest with yourself and keep this to no more than two sentences.

2.       Goals – You need to list what you want to achieve as a company or business owner.  You want at least two or three but no more than 8 to 10 goals to start out.

3.       Job Analysis – This is in-depth detail of what your work and jobs are about.  Be careful here not to identify each task or job required for the business to be successful, but only include what the business is going to take on personally.

4.       Job Descriptions – This is important for each position within the organization.  They will include sections in detail for a Title, A Job Summary, Work Activities as well as Tools and Equipment.  Also, Job Context which is what a person in each position is expected to be doing day to day, month, etc.  Detail is good and only top line general statements are not enough, so you’ll have to find a balance.  Identify Work Performance expectations that are measurable while others will simply be direct expectations.  Make no assumptions here.  Thorough and realized Compensation is important to define at this  time also.  And Lastly, Competencies you expect them to already know coming in.

5.       Hiring Decisions – This is how will you hire, interview, and set the parameters for hiring.

6.       Performance and Training Needs – List anything you feel will be required to enhance the business or the work force to be abler to perform as the business grows.

7.        Motivational Factors – What will be utilize to help and keep the work force motivated to include leaders and yourself.

8.        Communication Integrity – You need to consider what medium and what frequency you plan to communicate the state of the company and relevant changes to the organization.

9.        Management Style, Goals, and Unification – This will define you and how you will run the company.

The business plan is very important to get your thoughts onto paper and force you to process each aspect of running a business.  If there is more than one partner involved in ownership, each partner needs to complete a plan on their own and then compare to each other.  This will float any discrepancies to the surface and generate discussions ahead of potential conflict and differing opinions.  In most cases involving multiple partners, this is best managed with a facilitator to bring differing ideas and thoughts to a congruent solution.  You will be surprised the complexity that arises when you truly think through all segments of the plan.  It is also important that this document is a living document and should be reviewed each year to ensure the business and document support each other.

That is enough for this week to digest.

Stay Well.

Scott B.


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