Managing a Business is Like Driving a Car


porsche911turbo26210245kqWould you go into a car show room and buy a $250k car without learning how to drive?  Highly unlikely I would hasten to guess, why, because you would be scared to crash the car.

How many of you out there have bought into a business and spent the same amount or more without knowing the first thing about managing a business, yes put your hand up and no you are not alone!!

In my capacity as a Small Business Development Specialist I recently came across a business owner who openly admitted that he thought he had a natural ability as a leader but he continually put himself down because he could never be a manager.  There is a couple of points here, firstly what is a “natural” leader?  If he thinks he can lead why can’t he manage?  What is a leader and how does that differ from being a manager is a discussion for another blog, today I want to concentrate on how to become a manager.

Firstly, managing is a learned skill, to continue my analogy with driving a car, yes sure you could jump into a car without first learning to drive and you will probably have a vague idea of how you think it should be driven because you have watched plenty of other people do it in the past.  The reality is that once you have started the car and your out on the road there is a good chance you may get to your destination but in the process you may have an accident or two, you may upset a lot of other drivers on the road but if you are lucky you may get to where you are going, if you are not, you may end up in a serious accident with your car being written off.

managerThis really is no different to owning and running a business, you are good a what you do, you decide to invest into a business (whether it is existing or a new business, it makes no difference) put all your hard earned savings into it and off you go.  Now if you have never learnt the basic principals of management the chances are your business will bumble along slowly, you may upset a few customers on the way, you may even run into trouble with suppliers, your bank or your staff and you may come out the other side successfully ……. or you may not!!

Learning to manage a business is not too hard, it is a skill, it must be learnt, it isn’t natural and yes anyone can do it.  There are plenty resources out there to help you learn the basic (and more advanced) principles of management, some of which are as follows:

Time Management – Plan your day, week, month and year.  Know what you need to be doing and when you need to do it.  Schedule your regular meetings, plan some time for the paperwork, plan regular time to work on your business as well as in your business.

Man Management – Know the true cost of a single man hour of work, how does that differ amongst your staff, do you have the right staff member doing a particular job, could another do it that does not cost as much.  Know how many man hours it takes to do key tasks or provide your customers with key services and understand how you can manage your staff to get the greatest productivity for the lowest man hour cost. Are you doing too much, can you delegate to others, indeed should you delegate to others.

Delegation – Know how and when to delegate, take into consideration, who has the proper skills to do the job, who has the time to do the job, if I give the job to that person how will it affect their stress levels thus their ability to do the job?

Motivating Your Team – What makes your staff tick, how do you find this out, how will it affect how you work with them and incentive them.  what works for some may not work for all so how do you keep all your staff happy and motivated.

There are many other aspects of managing your business and the people in and around your business so don’t be upset if you don’t know how to manage but do take the steps to begin learning how to become an effective manager.

Unique to Dave Sewell Training & Support for Retail & Small Business are a series of management training courses designed to be held at your work premises, each lasting no more than one hour and collectively are designed to take you and /or your staff through a broad understanding of management  processes, giving tips and skills to ensure you can maximise the general operation of your business