I am fortunate to work with many different business owners as an advisor. Having the luxury of working with small companies and also large companies enables me to view their business models with a much different perspective.
I firmly believe that small companies would benefit by modeling the entire business structure similar to a larger company (of course on a much smaller scale). I see many small businesses struggling to survive because they do not have the proper successful structure in place. The successful small and large companies seem to have the following characteristics.
- Good accounting systems and financial records which are reviewed consistently and used as a true management tool.
- Well trained and experienced employees which leads to strong overall performances company wide.
- Strong management in all of the key areas of the company.
- An experienced and focused marketing plan with proper implementation and measured results. Many small businesses do not have a solid marketing effort which ultimately hurts their growth and financial success.
- Experienced and successful sales teams working in harmony with all other groups within the company.
- Top notch IT, either internal or outsourced. Proper computer systems and information strengthens the company on all fronts.
- Strong inventory controls.
- A clear company mission and vision for future goals, growth and success. Many small businesses are simply operating in a very short term environment with no “game plan” for the future.
After reading the above, some small business owners will tell me that they cannot achieve some of these things, citing lack of time and funds, lack of ability to train properly, lack of good qualified employees, say they are in survival mode and just barely getting by, etc. I argue that you can if you roll up your sleeves and get organized. You must if you want to survive and become profitable, and it should be your top priority. If you need help, seek out professionals who can help you. There are also government sponsored assistance programs available.
Small business owners should strive to operate like much larger sophisticated companies. There is a good reason why they grow and are successful. When it comes time to sell or merge your company, your will be able to achieve the highest value.
PUBLISHED IN THE SOUTHCOAST BUSINESS BULLETIN – JULY 2014