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Basic Small Business Management Concepts: Are You on Track?

written by: Heidi Wiesenfelder•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/13/2010

Managing a small business is about more than doing bookkeeping and supervising employees. Several small business management concepts can be adapted from principles for effective management in larger companies. Learn about techniques you can use for your small business.

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    Several small business management concepts can be adapted from principles for effective management in larger companies. Here are some techniques you can use for your small business.

    Measure What Matters

    You’ve heard it many times, you can only manage what you can measure. Take the time to clarify your definition of success, and know how you will measure your performance and progress. Don’t rely only on subjective indications, and get assistance to determine how to measure your effectiveness and understand your data if you can’t quite figure it out on your own.

    Don’t Confuse the Process With the People

    If you become dissatisfied or frustrated with the performance of any of your employees, first be sure it is actually the individual who is underperforming. Too often we blame people for ineffective performance when in fact they do not have adequate systems, processes and tools to do the job that is asked of them. If your business performance is not meeting expectations or goals, do some basic process analysis to determine whether you can make changes that will help your employees succeed in their roles.


    As tempting as it may be to try to be hands-on with every aspect of your business, you will find that it becomes difficult if not impossible to maintain doing so. At some point it will be more beneficial for you to focus on the things at which you excel and that truly require your input and ongoing involvement, and to delegate other tasks. Before you get to this point, identify the areas you will want to delegate and create a plan for doing so.

    990755 meeting Hire For Fit

    When you hire employees, consider not only the individual’s skillset and experience but also their fit into the culture you have or intend to create for your company. Employees who do well in settings in which they naturally fit may not perform as well in a business with a culture that is not comfortable for them. That is not to say that you should only hire people who are just like you, but aim for a combination of individuals who balance each other’s skills and styles and can work together effectively.

    Do Succession Planning

    In creating the show Bablyon 5, the producers planned for the entire 5-season series. However, they knew they could not count on having all their stars available throughout filming of all five seasons. So they created an “out” for each character, for when the need arose to write a character out of the script and add a replacement. Similarly, you can’t count on having your employees stay with you forever, so you need to do some succession planning. Figure out how you will groom employees for promotion to fill spots that open up, or how you will effectively recruit new employees when spots are vacated.