10 Ways to Be a Better Business Owner

Looking to improve as a manager, business owner or franchisee? Here’s a list of 10 ways to be the best boss or entrepreneur you can be!

1. Be Available
If you are one of those business owners that have gotten to the point where you have a team helping you out with a lot of your day-to-day stuff and you’re free to be away more-good for you! However, keep in mind that this does not mean you can drop off the face of the earth. Make sure your team knows how to get a hold of you, no matter what. They should be loaded with your primary contact numbers, and you should answer when they call.

2. Communicate with your Staff
So, your staff isn’t ringing your cell off the hook or flooding your inbox? That’s (hopefully) a sign that they know their stuff and don’t need you to babysit, which is a great thing. However, you should still make time to check in. And though sometimes it’s necessary, don’t always make it about checking their competency or your last bank deposit. Ask how they are doing and what you can do to help them do their job today.

3. Research Your Competition
You probably did this before or during the trigger-pulling process of your business launch, but it’s not a one-shot deal. Don’t ever stop researching your competition, as it can dwindle, new competitors can enter the scene, and some will even up their game. Make sure your team is made aware of your findings, and is educated on what sets your business apart.

4. Research Yourself
It’s so important to monitor the buzz about your business. Of course, it can depend on the size of your community and the medium people use to communicate, but let’s face it, today most product and service research and reviews are online. Conduct an internet search for your business, as well as yourself and your staff-anyone who is connected to your business has the power to impact it. Use the available search tools on social media platforms to gauge what current and past customers are saying about your business.

5. Listen to Your Customers
Be sure that when you receive comments and reviews about your business, online, in person, or otherwise, that you respond to them. Not only respond, but respond favorably. “The customer is always right” can be a tough pill to swallow, particularly if you don’t know like what they have to say. But listen, listen, listen, then take into consideration how YOU like to be responded to when you are in the customer’s position.

6. Be There
Even if you are privileged enough not to be tied down to your office, going in and maintaining that presence will do wonders for your relationship with your staff and your business as a whole. Decide how often you want and need to be there, and then get on a schedule so you spend regular time with your team and you’re kept in the know.

7. Ask Questions
You can take this idea and run a million different directions with it. What and who are your greatest resources to grow your business? You can learn so much from your customers, your staff, your partners, and so many more people and places. Make a list of people and resources you should constantly be asking questions to, and be sure to communicate with those people on a regular basis.

8. Continue to Learn
If you own a franchise, you have many resources for this, as corporate headquarters typically offer training and other educational opportunities to their franchisees. If you’re an individual entrepreneur, you may have to do some of the leg work yourself. Establish and maintain connections with your local chamber of commerce and networking groups, in addition to using online tools and social networking to continue levels of education. If you don’t grow, neither will your business.

9. Get Better
Giving oneself constructive criticism is not the easiest thing in the world, but many times you are your best and worst critic. Take time to look at what you’re good at, and what you could improve on. Do you need to put more effort into delegating tasks to your staff, or do you need to work on communicating more? Are you a micro-manager, or do you need to be more hands-on? Decide what you can improve upon and make goals for yourself.

10. Have Fun
You went into the business of being your own boss for many reasons, but there’s no denying that the prospect of having a job you love was part of the equation. If you’ve stopped having fun at your business, think about why that is. Perhaps it’s time to implement some activities and practices that allow you to let loose a little bit. After all, it’s completely possible for work and play to be synonymous!

Get the Right Computer Support for Your Business

You might ask what could possibly go wrong, but it is just a fact of business that things can and will go wrong at one time or another. But there is no need to panic, because this is where business continuity planning saves the day. If you have planned and implemented the right computer support for your business then unexpected issues can usually be solved fairly easily and quickly.

Planning for both expected and unexpected events enable small to medium sized businesses to carry on trading even if computer issues arise. The planning is designed to prevent avoidable issues, save you money, allow you to carry on providing customer care regardless of IT issues and keep your clients and staff members happy. It requires assessments, research, strategy, implementation and testing by an IT support provider. The main aim is to reduce disruption to the business and lower the risk of any hold ups or disasters, as well as increase the amount of support and functionality in the event of an IT related issue.

Top five reasons to have a business continuity strategy:

Internet and emails

We have all been there. A client requires a quote within the hour. You have to respond to an email by the end of the day in order to receive something urgent by tomorrow. You need to look up an address on the Internet. And then your Internet or email server goes down. Being without services such as email that you usually take for granted and use regularly can throw out the day or week depending on how long the problem takes to fix. Not to mention the embarrassment of having to tell a major client that your IT infrastructure has broken. If you can think about have a backup option, or an IT support team then you can reduce the amount of time you need to go without.

Server crashes

Maybe your computer has locked up, or some applications are failing to start. Perhaps your documents are not savings correctly or things are just not quite right. This can be a nightmare for anyone but especially so for small or medium sized businesses as they struggle through trying to fix the problem and usually getting nowhere. Having a plan in place or alternatives can feel like a lifesaver when these things happen. A plan of action in these circumstances can save you much frustration and a few grey hairs.

Hardware

Just like anything physical, there is a lifespan for all hardware. How you will ever know when things need replacing before they become an issue is like knowing when the petrol in your car will run out if there was no petrol gauge or odometer. But thankfully, it is not this hard for an IT expert. If you have a capable computer support team and have planned for the future, this will not be an issue. Hardware will need replacing from time to time and being able to plan for this well into the future not only means you are always prepared, but it also enable you to save money by budgeting for the right equipment at the right time.

Back ups

Accidentally deleting important files, computer crashes or more serious events such an office fire or flood can all result in losses of data. This can be critical and in the worst cases can actually send a small business out of business. PC security is also a factor when backing up. It is crucial that you protect yourself against hacking or getting a virus, as well as any equipment failure or loss of vital information.

Applications

If you rely on certain applications to run your business day to day, imagine being without them for a period of time. Having a plan for if or when things fail can make life a lot easier and allow you more flexibility.

Engaging an IT support provider allows for preempting of critical issues, gives you the right level of computer support and a way of implementing business continuity planning. It also allows you greater PC security and saves you time and money. Rather than struggling through half heartedly with IT issues, talk to an IT service provider and then find the right solution for your business.