5 Self Management Tips:
How the Self-Employed Stay that Way
Remember when you worked in a traditional environment where disgruntled employees would grumble about the boss around the water cooler? Not that complaining about management practices ever did any good, but it sure made you feel better! Unfortunately, now that you’re the boss, you need to be more proactive in changing poor management practices. That often means taking a long, hard look at yourself to see what must be changed in order to improve your business, and that can be difficult. How do you get started? Here are 5 self-management tips that will help you avoid common pitfalls and become truly successful.
1. Hire help when you’re outgrown your capabilities.
It sounds crazy, but a small business can spiral out of control when the owner gets more clients than he/she can handle. Some insist on managing all the work by themselves, even if it exceeds their capabilities. They work long hours and burn themselves out. Don’t run yourself ragged because you’re afraid that hiring help will cut too much from your profits. Remember, you’ve got to spend money to make money, and often that money is best spent on payroll. When you hire good help, you sacrifice a small percentage of profits in order to add more clients to your roster, growing your business and increasing your income.
2. Take the time to sit back and reflex on lessons your business has taught you.
You will learn a lot from your successes and even more from your failures. Small business owners often become so busy they forget that everyday their business is teaching them how to become more successful. As the manager of your business you need to schedule weekly time to reflect on what is and isn’t working. Examine both the high and the low points, and make necessary changes to your management approach. Most importantly, look at your failures and ask what they’re trying to teach you. Continual reflection on your business practices and how you could better them is what will separate your business from those that fail. In fact, this one tip alone could prevent countless businesses from collapse.
3. Find a mentor and learn without making mistakes.
While learning from your own mistakes is a good thing, it’s even better when you can learn without them. Look for a mentor, someone who has managed their own business successfully and enjoys the type of lifestyle you desire. Then ask if they would mind being an adviser. Generally people are happy to help if they believe they have some expertise to offer. Ask your mentor for advice, listen to their experiences, and share your own successes and failures in order to get feedback and guidance.
4. Allow employees and customers to teach you what is and isn’t working.
It can be uncomfortable to ask those you work with how you might improve your business. But an objective point of view is invaluable when it comes to developing strong management skills. And you’d be amazed at what employees and clients might say; they have insight to your business that you just don’t have and they may offer suggestions that would help your business become more profitable.
5. Be willing to change.
Improvement requires change. Most small businesses succeed because they are flexible and recognize the need to constantly revise their management approach. Don’t batter yourself over the flaws in your business; be grateful that you’ve discovered them in time to make the necessary changes. Don’t cringe when a client suggests you add new services or better your customer service; be grateful for the information that will enable you to improve your business. In the beginning of your business, change will be constant, but after a few years you’ll settle comfortably into rhythm that may still require change, but not as much of it.Good management starts with you. The best managers are able to step back, take a good look at their management style, and ask how it can be improved. When you’re willing to change, change usually comes easily and with fewer struggles. Remember that it’s impossible for any startup to arise perfect from the dust. The best and most successful businesses, however, go through a continuous cycle of reflection and change. Mistakes and flaws are not devastating; they are great instructors. Listen to what they have to say and move forward.