Focus On Management Fundamentals Part I

Jim Blasingame

This is the third article in a series designed to help you operate your business better this year, so you can stay out of the business obituaries. Today let's talk about helping you become a better manager.

The first management fundamental is about two issues that are basic to every business: threats and opportunities. Here are two things we know about them and what must be done:

1. They both represent change. Successful managers know that whether their next little bundle of excitement becomes a threat or an opportunity depends on whether they react to change, or manage it.

2. When they first appear, they often look the same. Successful managers develop an organization and environment that is staffed and trained to deal with both.

The next management fundamental is what I consider to be the best thing that ever happened to small business: Outsourcing.

Outsourcing is the process of integrating a strategic vendor into an operation in order to increase capability and efficiency. It can be applied both internally, by bringing in vendor partners, or externally, as part of your business model, where you're the vendor partner for your customers.

Here are two pieces of good outsourcing news for 21st century small businesses: 1) Internally: there are thousands of outsourcing services available to fit the special requirements of small businesses; 2) Externally: your big business customers are ready to talk about outsourcing their non-core competencies to you.

The quickest way to identify outsourcing opportunities is to ask your organization -- and your customers -- Blasingame's Outsourcing Question: Must this task be done in-house?

If your answer is no, find a way to outsource it. If your customer's answer is "No," that's a "Yes" to you.

It can be argued that our last management fundamental -- trust -- is the most important. In an organization where trust exists, the company's goals and objectives are available to all team members so they can understand their roles in reaching those milestones.

When you trust your staff with the company's vision, by allowing them to assume ownership of their part of the company's future, they feel more like contributors instead of laborers. Without trust, employees get the feeling that you have a plan, but they're not part of it.

Building an organization based on trust requires leaders -- not drivers -- who create and maintain trust as an organizational way of life. Trust is not only the right thing to do, it's good business.

Write this on a rock... Starting a small business is like being a biological parent; it requires no special talent or training. But like a nurturing parent, you'll find success in your business if you steadfastly focus on the fundamentals.

Jim Blasingame
Small Business Expert and host of The Small Business Advocate Show
©2008 All Rights Reserved

Print page