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At Done By 5, we know as business assistants, that starting and running your own small business is no small task. We’re running, not only our own business, but helping more small businesses operate at their best potential. From our experience behind the scenes, in the back offices, and on the ground getting our hands dirty, we’ve noticed patterns of where stress comes from in a small business and how to minimize it and get high quality work done efficiently. Below you’ll find 6 key ways that you can make things run more smoothly in your own small business.
DONE BY 5: 6 KEYS TO RUNNING A SMALL BUSINESS
1. Streamline your brand
Knowing your brand inside and out is crucial to everything you will do as a small business. A brand fuses the big picture and the details - it is the what, why, and how you communicate with your customers. So it’s worth it to take time to make sure your brand really rings true to you. Brainstorm, draw, journal, and talk to people, etc. about the importance of your work, the meaning behind it for you and for your customers or audience and how best to communicate that through everything you do.
It can be intimidating to try and fit your passion and life’s work into a neat package but it is absolutely essential. If you are feeling overwhelmed talk with people who know you and your business well who can bring an outside eye to your work, or consult a branding professional who has expertise in creating an authentic brand for you.
Having everything defined and designed will save you time and stress and ensure consistency and better quality in every aspect of your business.
2. Plan ahead
Plan. Plan. Plan. We can’t emphasize this enough. Planning ahead with your small business saves you time by eliminating dead space spent trying to figure out what to do next, using blocks of time to complete several smaller and related tasks (ie: creating content for your social media campaigns), and preparing for larger projects in the future.
And not only does planning ahead save you time, it also gives you time to review your work so that you’re putting out the best quality product, service, or content.
Nothing bad will ever come from planning ahead.
3. Build a great team
Working with incredible people will lead to incredible work. You want to build a team with diverse skill sets and connections. But even more so you want to build a team that is invested in the brand you put so much time and thought into defining (see tip #1).
Working with people that share your values and are committed to your mission as a small business owner will make all the difference when you’re in the thick of it. You want to be surrounded by people that will put in the work, hold each other accountable, and most importantly inspire each other and work together when the going gets tough.
If you don't have the resources to have a full team of employees, an executive assistant (like Done By 5) can be someone to bounce ideas off of, or to fill in your skill gaps, and also to encourage and remind you why you started your own small business.
4. Keep very specific goals
Like building your brand, keeping specific goals for you and your small business will only ever help you. Having small tasks and goals that build into larger ones can make the big stuff feel more manageable.
Defining your goals also keeps you on track. The more pointed each goal is, the easier it is to stay focused and on brand - and the more you stay on brand the more consistent and the better the quality of everything you do is.
5. Delegate tasks
Remember just above when we mentioned the importance of building a team with diverse skill sets? Here’s where it kicks in. As a small business owner you can’t do everything - no really, stop trying. You have created a business, a platform, that allows you to do the work that is most important to you, so make sure that you get to do that work.
Does this sound familiar? You finally sort out what you want to do in life, what is important to you and how you can put it into action. You spend a huge amount of time, money, and effort to get your small business off the ground and you make it happen! So now you're doing exactly what you love…...and you’re also running a small business. All of a sudden you’re spending so much time herding all the small bits of a business - from making sure your printer has ink in it, to networking, and keeping your social media platforms up-to-date, relevant, and on brand - that you have less and less time to actually practice your work, or make sure you’ve eaten.
This is where your team comes in - whether you have one other person working with you or forty, they will have skills and strengths that benefit you and your small business. Let someone else take inventory of office supplies, submit forms, or schedule a social media campaign (tip #2 Plan Ahead!), or even attend networking events for you so you can focus on the stuff that got you started on the small business thing in the first place.
In the same way that an assistant can be your support team, they're also there for you to delegate to. An executive & personal assistant like Done By 5 can take care of the smaller tasks like lunch and printer ink as well as the bigger tasks like branding, social media, and networking. Having that back up lets you to focus on the work that you started all of this for in the first place.
6. Create a support network
Last but oh so very not least you need a solid support network.
Like a good team, a solid support network will keep your two feet on the ground (or sometimes on a massage table). Your support network is your friends and family who aren’t directly associated with your small business but respect and believe in you and your work. They may be other industry professionals who understand what you’re going through, or your significant other, or your best friends, or your mom or dad. Whoever they are, they are a crucial part of owning your own small business without driving yourself into the ground. They’re there to help you get through hard times and celebrate accomplishments big and small.
Take the time necessary to build and nurture those relationships and reciprocate however your can.
What challenges have you found in running a small business and who has been there to support you?