Anyone who runs their own business will tell you that there are always going to be areas where you can improve. Things have been incredibly difficult over the last couple of years, and staying afloat has been the first priority for most companies. But as you head into the summer and what is hopefully going to be slightly smoother sailing, it’s time to look at some of those parts of your role that need some work.
There can’t be many people who started their own businesses because they wanted to manage people. Most entrepreneurs love the idea of taking their big idea and turning it into something even bigger. Some also want to turn their passion project into their full-time job. But with that growth comes increased responsibility, and that includes looking after your employees and making sure that they are doing their very best work. It also means that you’re not only responsible for your career but those of the people who work for you.
Look at your communication structures
No company can run smoothly if it doesn’t have good communication. Granted, it’s a little tougher now than it used to be. You can’t exactly just pop around to someone’s office to check how they’re getting on now that so many people are working remotely at least part of the time. But that makes it all the more important to keep looking for ways that you can improve your communication structure.
Start by talking to your team leaders about how they have been getting on. Look at your sign-off processes to ensure that there aren’t an unnecessary number of people who need to see a project before it goes. But communication is also about making sure that your staff feel comfortable reaching out with a query or concern. Why not think about putting an anonymous survey together to find out if they feel like there’s room for improvement?
Audit your past performance
One of the most important elements of being a good boss is having a clear idea of how your business is actually doing. It’s going to be harder and harder to know exactly what’s going on at a granular level as your business expands, but it’s important that you don’t let things get away from you.
You should think about doing an audit of the last few months’ performance if you feel that it’s been a little while since you put your glasses on and took a closer look. You might find that there are areas that are no longer bringing in the kind of business that they used to, which could be cut. You might also find that you are seeing unexpected growth in other areas. Doing this will also help you to identify which members of your team are consistently delivering, which brings us to our next point.
Reward success whenever you can
It’s not always easy to take the time to celebrate success when you’re pushing your business to the limit. Things have been so tough over the last couple of years, and there are so many businesses, big and small, that are struggling to keep their heads above water in the UK. The rising cost of living has slammed everyone, but that means it’s all the more important that you pay attention to the big wins. Remember that your staff will also be going through a lot of their own stresses outside of work at the moment (more on that shortly), and showing them that their hard work is not going unnoticed will make a big difference.
Boost engagement during meetings and presentations
This point is particularly aimed at businesses that are currently working remotely or have employees based internationally. It can be difficult to find ways to ensure that everyone is staying motivated and engaged during essential meetings and presentations. You can ask everyone to have their cameras switched on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the employees are switched on. And you’ll also know from your own experience that it can be hard to stay in the room, metaphorically speaking, when you’re working at home. There are always going to be distractions, whether it’s road works or deliveries.
So, it’s essential that you look for ways that you can actively engage your audience when you are giving a presentation. Live audience polling is a great way of making your meeting interactive and visually stimulating. For example, say you’re giving a meeting on targets for the next few months. You can use live polling to ask your team what they think the big obstacles will be. There are so many different ways that you can use this software, and the team at Vevox can help you find the perfect fit for your business.
Look for ways that you can continue to learn
The business landscape has changed so dramatically over the last couple of years that you might not have had time to take it all in. The technology that everyone is using is still moving forward at an incredible rate. The challenges that business owners are facing are evolving and becoming more and more pressing (sustainability is arguably the best example of this). You are going to have to be proactive when it comes to educating yourself on the changing forces and tools.
There are so many institutions that offer online learning that can be scheduled around your work commitments, so why not think about taking an online course? You could also think about downloading free trials of software that you think could be useful for your business and having a play with it. This will quickly show you if it’s worthwhile investing in the premium version. You should also use your professional network to find out how other entrepreneurs have been getting on. It’s never a sign of weakness to ask for help when you need it, so get some expert advice.
Support mental health
Burnout is still one of the biggest issues that most companies are dealing with. You don’t want to get to the point where half of your staff is having to take sick leave because they have been pushed to breaking point. And while a certain amount of responsibility lies with the employee to speak up, it’s up to you to ensure that no one is being given more than they can handle.
The first thing that you need to do is to promote a workplace culture where it’s OK to talk about mental health. Address the issue head-on and reassure your staff that you are taking it seriously. Think about including mental health benefits in your employee wellness packages and remind everyone that they can talk to the HR manager about this issue. You also need to crack down on work outside of office hours. Small businesses are sometimes going to have to burn the midnight oil, but it should always be the exception rather than the rule. Set a boundary on messages sent outside of work time. Ask people why they are staying late if they are doing so regularly. If people are struggling to get their work done, then you need to look for additional support that you can provide.