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HUMAN RESOURCES

Steps for small business survival

I would like to share with you five key small business management techniques. Much management literature is focused on the operation, monitoring, and improvement of large-scale businesses. However, small businesses exist in far greater numbers and employ much more of the workforce than large businesses. Indeed, many of us got started in the small firms which supply large corporations.
RESPECT - Treat your employees with respect and they will respond with loyalty. Remember, your employees are the front line with whom your customers interact in the delivery of your products or services. They're where the "rubber hits the road" as we say, and usually employees are the strongest single determinant of what type of experience your customers have. Treating them with respect shows that you value and trust them, and their natural reaction will be loyalty to you and your business.


Keith C. 'Carlos' Gutiérrez

I would like to share with you five key small business management techniques. Much management literature is focused on the operation, monitoring, and improvement of large-scale businesses. However, small businesses exist in far greater numbers and employ much more of the workforce than large businesses. Indeed, many of us got started in the small firms which supply large corporations.

RESPECT - Treat your employees with respect and they will respond with loyalty. Remember, your employees are the front line with whom your customers interact in the delivery of your products or services. They're where the "rubber hits the road" as we say, and usually employees are the strongest single determinant of what type of experience your customers have. Treating them with respect shows that you value and trust them, and their natural reaction will be loyalty to you and your business.

CASH FLOW - Protect your cash flow like it's the blood in your veins. If you don't have it, don't spend it. This simple bit of wisdom often goes unheeded in the rush to enjoy the company profits, especially in the beginning stages of your business. Do your best in making do with used equipment if you can't afford new. Getting paid through working your accounts receivables will ensure your cash flow remains positive.

BE THERE- In a small business you must be there when you're needed, not when you want to be there. Your working hours should be determined by the ebb-and-flow of your firm's activi0 or tennis in the afternoons, you never know when your customers are going to need you. And frequently your customers won't stop needing you on the weekends and holidays!

CUSTOMER SERVICE- Treat each customer like they're the only one you have. Personal relationships are key in small businesses. Because you have fewer customers each one becomes vitally important. Your customers must not only know that you care about them, they must feel it, too! This will keep them coming back for more.

FIGHT FIRES- Put out "fires" before they burn down the whole house. You must attend to business problems before they spin out of control and divert too much of your attention from your firm's key activities. Managing a small business entails wearing many hats at the same time, but successful crisis management is a key factor which can ensure your firm's survival.

Small business management decisions can be more critical than for large firms. Resources are limited. You need good judgement - but this comes from experience and frequently experience is gained through bad judgement!


Keith C. 'Carlos' Gutiérrez is Dean of City University in Bratislava. Readers may send their responses and questions to carlosg@cutn.sk

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