As a manager you have responsibilities to:
Employees – To ensure that there are good working conditions and proper remuneration.
Customers – To deliver quality products and good customer service.
Government – To observe various laws and the necessary taxes imposed.
To society – To ensure you do not pollute the environment and that you are an asset to the community in which you operate.
Yourself & other owners – To ensure that the business is conducted as effectively and efficiently as possible and that the business is not just making a profit but making the ‘best’ profit possible.
What is management all about? Management can be described as the effective means of handling your business. So your aim ought to be to increase efficiency, productivity and hence profit, through your administrative and leadership control.
As a manager of a small business more often than not you will be responsible for paying your suppliers on time, recording financial information, keeping the books updated, tax payments, getting licenses, permissions and permits – so yes, there is quite a lot to do.
You should be able to direct, delegate, control, organize, hire/fire, communicate and also motivate those working for you. Even if you are working as a freelancer and intend to keep it that way some of these skills will still come in handy.
Plan – All businesses need a management plan. Planning involves looking at the future prospect of the business, when planning set a goal for your business as to what you hope to achieve within maybe the next month or even the next year. Maybe as a freelance writer you want to make $1,000 per month, how will you achieve this? When you make a plan and write it down, it serves as a ‘road map’ for future development and you can refer to it from time to time to see if you are accomplishing your goals and whether changes are necessary. Plan for recruitment and capital expenditure and make a budget. Planning should be a continuous process.
Direct – If you will have people working for you will have to direct your employees effectively. This gives you the opportunity to guide them, so they are aware of what their job functions are.
Delegate – Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility. Assign each employee a duty, let it be clear that each person is responsible for that particular duty and is accountable for their performance and if possible set a time frame for completion of each task.
Control – This might seem a scary word but in this context it is not. What you will need to do is to monitor your employees from time, just to ensure that they are performing their jobs according to instructions so you can identify issues before they escalate.
Organize – Plan the work you need done, set time for its completion and once again, do some supervision. Organize method of remuneration and make an organizational chart.
Communication – It is often said that communication is key and this is quite true, don’t leave you employees guessing, there need be a two-way dialogue. Employees must also be able to express their concerns without feeling threatened.
Motivate – You might say, ‘Well I employed that person to do a good job, so they are doing a good job – just what I am paying for’. Wrong! Often this is not enough. Workers like to feel appreciated, tell them they are doing well, give bonuses if you can, pay workers for overtime on the job. When you build loyalty in your employees they will more often than not strive for perfection on the job.
Educate – As your business grow, with time you will realise that you might not only have to further educate yourself but your employees also; you do not have to take on huge expenses, even one day workshops could prove quite beneficial. Ensure you train new employees as it relates to your company’s procedures and their job functions. Also when you implement new systems or functions to a post, train the employee.
Hiring – Your employees can help to make or break your business; you want the right people for the job. Note beforehand the particular skills, qualification and experience levels you need. Design a test or questionnaire for prospective employees to complete.
Firing – When an employee is not an asset to your business, especially where that person’s attitude negatively influences others, you need to let that person go. It is important that you have a good deportment from the beginning, let your employees know that you are approachable and make them feel they can come to you to discuss issues, however never let yourself be seen as weak, this will not benefit you over time, be ‘nice’ within reason.
NB. Even if you are a sole trader just starting out with no employees to speak of, make a plan of your goal, have a mission statement about the aim of your business. Then write yourself a plan as to how you intend to reach those goals.
If you think that proper Management in unimportant, here is why you should rethink.
Poor management will:
- Kill productivity and growth
- Decrease business’ profits
- Result in poor information recording
- Result in poor communication
- Result in poor planning and organization
- Result in bad decision-making
It’s never late to make a fresh start. If you are operating in a structure or way of business that isn’t working for you, then take the opportunity to change the business management.