Effective small business management is often seen as something of a Holy Grail. It’s difficult to achieve primarily because the majority of modern small business founders are young, entrepreneurial graduates, equipped with more enthusiasm and drive than you can shake a stick at, but somewhat sub-optimal when it comes to experience in managing resources.
According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics’ data on small business survival, only 44% of small businesses are still going after 4 years – and it’s continually those with the most effective management teams (almost irrespective of how good the product is) that last the distance.
So what’s the big secret? Truth is, none of this stuff is rocket science… Having said that, a young, headstrong ‘entrepreneur’ manager with a vision from which he refuses to budge might relegate these ideas to the bottom of the priority list in favour of becoming a big name on the block, and fast.
The fact of the matter is that there is a clear-cut difference between entrepreneurship and small business management. As this eHow article on the subject explains, managing a small business is an inherently more administrative role (everything from growing the business to ensuring legal compliance), while entrepreneurship has much more to do with the conceptualization stages of a product or service, with the much more glamorous end goal of innovating and turning a profit through the development of an idea.
For the wide-eyed entrepreneur to make the leap towards becoming a successful manager, a combination of the following approaches cannot be overestimated:
Employee training - it’s a well-established fact that employee satisfaction and know-how is what drives a business forward. Employees coming into the business for the first time (especially from backgrounds in other industry spaces) will be ‘stabbing around in the dark’ for a while – how long that ‘while’ lasts is in the hands of the manager and the resources they’re willing to set aside to get their employees on track and in the right mindset.