Small Business Owner


The dynamics in a small business can be very different from those of a large organisation.

All business owners need to focus on what is really important for their business.

One of the biggest obstacles facing small business owners is getting sidetracked by the daily minutiae from understanding of 'big picture' and losing sight of the initial goals and strategies.

Handling the tough times can be challenging but will build your resilience and grit, so that you come out better and stronger for the experience.

Ten Rules (not necessarily in order of importance)

1. Manage your time within boundaries

Be structured and disciplined in your time management (see elsewhere in this Knowledge Base). Understand what is urgent and important; learn to prioritise. Don't be available 24/7.

2. Know your strategy

"...strategy is a living, agile piece that brings the whole business together with an agreed focus..."

Charlotte Rimmir, 2016

Strategy needs to be simple and transparent; have a good communication strategy, so that everyone knows what you are aiming to achieve. They may otherwise become frustrated and disorientated.

3. Be financially aware

If you don't understand financials (profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, capital expenditure, etc), make sure you have somebody, in-house and/or external, who does understand.

4. Honour your values and respect to culture

Don't violate your core values for some short-term financial gain, eg don't work with a difficult, well-paying client whose values are not aligned with yours. If there is a clash between short-term profitability and your organisational values, there can be some short-term pain, like loss of business, revenue, etc. However, there are long-term gains around reputation, credibility, staff engagement, productivity, morale, profit, etc.

5. Develop a business plan

Understand and develop

- what you are aiming to achieve (goals and objectives)

- how are you going to achieve them (strategies, tactics, etc)

- what inputs/resources are required (staff, money, equipment, etc) and their source

- who is going to achieve it

- when (time schedule to achieve the goals and objectives)

6. Understand your core business/competencies

Understand what you are best at, ie core competencies, and how the customers' needs can be satisfied by using your core competencies.

Be careful of straying too much from your core competencies as this could result in product or service dilution and have a negative impact on your reputation.

7. Remember your initial aims, ie why you went into business

As the business grows, your role can change to more managing staff and financials, and employing staff to do what you initially wanted to do. Need to learn how to delegate jobs and responsibilities, while not losing sight of the initial aims.

8. Invite external guidance

"...Seek help through an advisory committee, friends, mentors or an external consultant. It is important to work with someone who could bring you out of the day-to-day minutiae and remind you of your long-term plans..."

Charlotte Rimmir, 2016

Need to work on the business, not just in the business

9. Ensure that you have a support team

"...find external sources to provide that 'extra support' when needed - a sounding board, a confidante, a champion, a pragmatist, comedian to make you laugh and a peer to celebrate the wins, acknowledge and learn from the losses..."

Charlotte Rimmir, 2016

Need to learn to keep your ego under control

10. Be grateful

" thankful for the opportunities, and that you have recognised you have the skills and drive to develop the business. Appreciate the early clients who gave you a chance, and those who refer and recommend your product/service..."

Charlotte Rimmir, 2016

Be willing to support other individuals who are starting a similar journey.


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