Lessons from the Field: 4 Tips to Managing your Small Business Efficiently

Posted in Small & Medium Businesses | by Jiehui Kwa on 17 October 2016

Last updated on 2 November 2018

If you’ve ever run a small business, you’d have to agree that it’s never easy. It’s no small feat keeping a company afloat. It takes the right talent, processes, and – you almost never hear this – right tools to keep the business running efficiently.

 

I’ve had the great privilege to work with companies both big and small. Through my experience with them, I’ve managed to learn a few important lessons on how to efficiently manage a business. Here are some of those lessons.

 

 

1.  Measure everything

“What gets measured, gets done.” I am a big believer of this statement and it’s something that I am a stickler for.

 

I’ve had many a conversations with business owners and managers and the thing that always surprises me is that most don’t measure their performance beyond the standard P&L statements. In all the companies that I’ve worked for, the contrast couldn’t be more obvious – the ones who measure more are more successful.

 

Justlogin is a working example of this mantra. A year ago, we started looking at our internal processes and decided to leverage our own CRM and HRM systems more effectively. We started building more performance reports, measuring and analyzing more of the data that we were generating.

 

The first thing I noticed about our team was that their behavior started to change. Instead of complaining about additional work, everyone started to appreciate the visibility of their efforts and the clarity of their role. Targets are now met more readily and issues get resolved much faster.

 

 

2.  Daily SCRUM

Another practice that has worked well for us is our daily SCRUM calls. We borrowed this from the popular (especially with internet startups!) agile project management movement.

 

Every morning at 9:00 AM, we do a quick 15-minute conference call. Everyone in the team calls in regardless of where they are. We all take turns to quickly share the following:

 

   1.  What did I do yesterday?

    2.  What will I do today?

    3.  Are there any difficulties or obstacles in my way?

 

The call is not meant to be a status update or a session to find solutions to problems. Those can be covered on a separate discussion. Its purpose is to make the team aware of what’s going on in the rest of the business. This way, issues are raised and highlighted early.

 

What I have noticed is that this exercise has improved accountability and has significantly increased the speed of the business.

 

 

3.  ABC (Always be Closing)

This is a line from the movie ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’. It’s based on a play about a group of sales people and their struggles.

 

This particular line – ABC (Always be closing) – has always stood out for me all throughout my career. Why? Because it can be applied to almost every aspect of the business. Even though this line mostly refers to closing deals, non-sales people can also apply this mindset of always closing or getting things done to their everyday work.

 

In business, there will always be many priorities. It’s very easy to get swamped with too many tasks that some eventually never get done. My solution to this is to break up bigger to-dos to smaller and more manageable tasks that can be easily ‘closed’ (done). The aim is to close these small tasks as soon as possible – always be closing!

 

However, sometimes there are just too many tasks to manually keep track off. This is where a proper tool to monitor tasks will help keep you on the course.

 

Here at Justlogin, we use various tools like Trello and Dapulse to help us monitor our tasks as an organization. We also use our own Justlogin software to automate critical tasks and processes, like leave applications, attendance, expense, and payroll.

 

 

4.  Cloud Everything

One of the greatest innovations to ever happen to modern business is the Cloud.

 

With the advent of Cloud and Software-as-a-Service, small companies now have access to very powerful business applications that used to be just limited to large enterprises. The same applications that big businesses use to increase their employee productivity are now available at a fraction of the price to small businesses as well.

 

Small companies also don’t need to put in heavy investment in physical infrastructures or an army of consultants – they can get the same benefit from cloud software. With all these benefits, there’s very little excuse for small businesses not to jump onto the cloud.

 

Over the last few years, we at Justlogin started to move almost all of our business processes to the cloud –  from our PABX system, CRM, email, finance, to even our guest registration system. Our CEO perfectly sums up the benefit – “If the office burnt down, we will still able to continue business as usual because all our data is on the cloud.”

 

Running a small business is difficult. However, by embracing the cloud, you can increase the velocity of your business and gain an edge against your competitors who still cling to the old, inefficient processes of the past.

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