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7 Signs Your Small Business Needs Better Structure

If you've been wishing that your business could just run itself with minimal input from you, you're not alone. I spend a lot of time discussing with small businesses in Nigeria and the recurrent complaint is that their business is lacking STRUCTURE. While structure means (slightly!) different things to different business owners, a general starting point for having better structure is to develop better business processes.

You can't build structure in one day neither is it a one-time change or improvement but before we go that far, I want to point out some common tell-tale signs of a business that may need operational improvement.

These signs are in no particular order but if you have two or more of these, it's worth paying attention to:

  • Your business feels quite disorganised and chaotic. You know it could be way better than it is right now but it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where and how to start. You also feel that there's never enough time to do what needs to be done and at the end of the day, you're not sure what exactly you accomplished.

  • Sales are increasing but for some reason, profits are not. I must say that many Nigerian small businesses are CASHING OUT i.e. making serious money BUT the problem is that the money gets lost on its way to becoming profit. Profit is the real measure of how your business is performing. Without a system that helps you manage money coming, money going out and any surplus, it'll be difficult to maintain profits.

  • Hiring and retaining quality employees is a problem - sometimes, you wish you could fire everyone and start again. This is a bit harder in Nigeria because many people have a serious mindset problem that worsens in the work environment but in many cases, you as a small business owner have not yet done all you can and you're probably still hiring for roles instead of for skills.

  • Employees aren't 100% clear on their core responsibilities thereby leading to poorer service, frustrated customers and stressed out employees. It's gonna take a bit more than job descriptions - they also need to encouraged to take initiative and be shown how their roles play a part in the wider company mission and vision.

  • Team meetings start to feel like a waste of time and ineffective or have become complaint sessions where nothing ever gets accomplished or solved. Pretty self-explanatory, this one! Need I say more?

  • The business is constantly fire-fighting i.e. dealing with internal or customer-related emergencies, urgencies and damage control. This is probably because there's no longer term strategic plan that influences everyone is working from. Each day is a reactive one which means anything can happen, for good and not-so-good.

  • Monitoring cash flow is a problem because there is no planned spending budget or sales forecasts. This leads to lack of information for decision making. If you can't easily tell me how much you made in a period of time or how that has grown from the previous period, then your accounting or financial processes need to be looked into. It is of the utmost importance that you know what is coming in, what is going out and what surplus funds you have.

If some of these sound like what your business is currently experiencing then we have work to do and the best part is you don't have to do it alone. Why not check out our services and book in a free consultation call today to or if you're in Lagos, you can register for our Business Structure 101 Workshop on the 30th June 2018.

Abuja, Nigeria

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