Small Business Challenges: Pointers to problems

As an SBO, you should be alert to indications that can point to possible inefficiencies or problems with your existing management approach, because TBH is likely to be able to assist you to improve the situation. With this in mind, the following is an experience-based, though not exhaustive, list of the sort of indicators - grouped by management activity - of which you should be aware.

1. Making and Executing Plans

  1. Struggling to make plans or, having made them, then discovering things have been forgotten/overlooked,
  2. Encountering problem(s) - especially any that should have been foreseeable - when putting a planned activity into action, and then suffering delays and/or disruption,
  3. Running unexpectedly short of any resource (including your own time),
  4. Discovering that new and/or existing business activities don’t co-ordinate as well as they should.

2. Decision-making and (access to/availability of) Business Knowledge

  1. Being unable to make quick and/or effective decisions (about any aspect of the business) because of a lack of reliable/correct [business] information,
  2. Not knowing all the options - and the resources each requires - available to address a given business situation.

3. Business Improvement

  1. Experiencing problems with introducing or extending computer facilities within the business,
  2. Struggling to implement business growth initiatives successfully,
  3. Experiencing difficulties with making change(s) to any aspect of the business’s activities quickly/effectively and without experiencing problems.

4. Communication

  1. Finding it difficult to make delegation work as well as needed,
  2. Struggling to explain any aspect of the business to someone who needs to know but is unfamiliar with the way it works,
  3. Finding that you unintentionally give either slightly or markedly different responses about aspects of the business’s operations to other people at different times,
  4. Struggling to ensure that all/any staff are able to maintain the business’s standards.

5. Problems

  1. Finding that your personal absence from the business workplace impacts the business’s ability to operate as well as it should or needs to,
  2. Being partially, or even wholly, unable to respond effectively to serious problem(s),
  3. Being unable to quickly/accurately assess the impact of an unexpected (but seemingly negative) event on your business and its operations,
  4. Experiencing problems or misunderstandings with outside organisations and/or individuals partly or wholly because you don’t have correct/accurate information about them (or vice versa),
  5. Having to deal with a problem that, at least in hindsight, you should have been able to predict,
  6. Worrying about your being the only source of much - or even all - of the information needed to make the business function as intended,
  7. Experiencing frequent or repeated quality control problems.

6. The Business’s Efficiency/Effectiveness

  1. Spending much more time on OM tasks than expected,
  2. Finding that the business hasn’t made the profit it was expected to make,
  3. Finding yourself often working longer hours than it was either planned/expected or wanted to,
  4. Frequently being unable to put as much time into customer/marketing-related activities as you want/need to, or finding that to do so, you have to choose to neglect other important tasks,
  5. Unnecessarily, at least in hindsight, wasting any of the business’s resources,
  6. Struggling to accurately and quickly recall information about any aspect of the business, especially any aspect that isn’t frequently performed,
  7. Suffering frequent stress (or worse) because of the pressure of all the things you have to do to keep the business working, as well as those unexpected things that happen from time to time,
  8. Finding that your ability to remember all you need to remember about the business declines as the amount of information involved increases,
  9. Spending too much time - in meetings - either establishing facts about the business, and/or identifying possible problems and/or identifying feasible solutions.

If you see any, some or even many of these situations occurring within your business, you should ideally contact TBH to arrange to take The TBH Business Sight Test as a first step towards resolving these situations.

TBH is a member of the Sodbury and Yate Business Association