- Act like a larger organization internally, by doing things such as having a formal monthly management meeting, regular formal performance reviews, an overt strategy generation process that involves employees, and detailed operational planning.
- Delegate both responsibility and authority clearly. Often those who start businesses do so because they want to feel in control, and delegation does not come easily
- Spend 50% of your time (assuming you are the CEO) outside the businesses with customers, and demand chain partners building relationships.
All businesses are conflicted, small ones more obviously than larger ones.
On one hand, the immediate urgency to do whatever necessary to generate the cash to pay the bills, and on the other, the necessity to build capability, relationships, and definitive market position, all critical elements for commercial sustainability, but there is rarely enough time to do both as well as you would like.
There is no easy answer to this dilemma, but in my work with small businesses there are a number of strategies, largely borrowed from large businesses that pay dividends:
Small businesses benefit hugely from these disciplines, partly because they are so important for the smooth running of any businesses, and partly because it acts as an “insulation” to the unanticipated. Most in small businesses do not see the need, as they are in daily contact with all in and around the businesses, and therefore, some of these things are seen as unnecessary bureaucracy, when in reality they are more like shock absorbers.