Businesses need managers to thrive, despite arguments for trimming managerial positions and unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. High-level, executive, and strategic oversight is what steers the ship. Without it, the rest of the crew works somewhat aimlessly as individual goals and perspectives supersede collective ones.
Nonetheless, it’s common for managers to feel lost at times. You might think you need to step it up or better control what’s happening inside your area of the company. At the strategic or ownership level, you could have a hand in a bit of everything: sales, HR, technology, operations, finance, etc. It can be overwhelming, but finding ways to make improvements and remain an active leader is part of the job. Here are four ways to level up your business management.
1. Optimize Data Management Practices
Data management is a challenge for many organizations.Data flows through organizations and in many cases the data is flawed, or arrives late and is not fresh. Staff members simply pull up their systems and applications, and the data is there. However, many staff members don’t trust the data they are using to make decisions. Mismatched data, duplicate records and missing data continue to fuel the consumers distrust. However, the under-the-radar nature of information pipelines means that problems often go undetected. Sometimes those issues take years to surface before they become a priority. Other times, things like mismatched and duplicate records snowball into an outage or a serious roadblock.
Raising the bar on data quality starts with increasing its visibility. With data observability applications, you can better manage the data you company ingests and transforms before you internal consumers access the data. Observability solutions help identify and fix errors and monitor for problems with onsite or cloud-based applications. Moreover, observability solutions manage the data processing, data and data pipeline layers of complex enterprise architecture so they can identify, predict and prevent issues like data pipeline blockages and data anomalies
2. Be Accessible
Yes, high-level managers and business owners are busy. On some days, there might be little left to squeeze into your schedule after meetings, reports, and events. But when employees don’t see and interact with leaders, those leaders become little more than nameplates or online bios. At the very least, there’s a lack of connection between the people steering the company and those doing the rowing.
Worse, staff members carrying out those day-to-day duties could perceive a lack of transparency. When managers stay behind closed doors and don’t openly share information about the company, employees feel left in the dark. Rumors and speculations start, increasing workers’ stress levels and lowering their commitment to the organization.
By scheduling time to interact with employees or holding open office hours, you can remain visible and accessible. It may be something informal, like a weekly meetup over coffee. You could also choose to do a mix of in-person and digital communication, including formal question and answer sessions.
When information gets openly exchanged throughout all levels, employees’ morale goes up, and their stress goes down. Increased transparency also builds and strengthens trust between businesses and staff members. That, in turn, can improve individual and collective productivity, giving the company the performance boost it needs to succeed.
3. Examine Customer Outreach Methods
A business can’t survive without enough revenue. While cash flow can come from sources other than operations, steady declines in sales usually point toward a future closure. Capturing and leveraging opportunities to reach customers increases the chance of sales growth. This includes upselling existing clients, developing new markets, and reaching people in novel ways.
For instance, your company has served B2B and B2C markets for years. However, there’s been little distinction between the products and services sold to both markets. As a result, smaller companies in the B2B sector are gravitating toward offerings more tailored to an end consumer. Here’s an opportunity to develop distinctive products for small businesses and launch an awareness campaign. Part of that should include converting clients to the new offerings.
Another example includes using multiple channels to reach leads and prospects. Online retailers might experiment with direct mail instead of relying 100% on email communications. If your company leans toward traditional media, you could try mixing it up with social media. See how people respond to your online content and whether you’re gaining new audiences. By testing various outreach channels and methods, you’ll discover what’s most effective.
4. Learn From Others
Adopting a continuous growth outlook begins with professional development. Practice is a significant part of improving your business management skills. However, you can’t practice something you don’t know. Learning from management theories, best practices, and even competitors can help.
Formal courses, books, articles, and conferences are ways to continue your learning process. Networking with other leaders in your industry can also provide valuable insights. They’ve probably run into some of the same dilemmas you might be facing. Decisions about when it’s right to grow the business and how to implement successful retention practices are some examples.
While you might decide not to implement everything you discover, you’ll broaden your understanding of what tools are out there. You can also recognize what to avoid by learning from the missteps of others. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever make an error, but you could save yourself from committing their rookie mistakes.
Stepping Up to the Leadership Plate
Managing a business isn’t for everyone. It takes grit, guts, and decisiveness. However, leadership also takes a willingness to admit what’s not working and find ways to fix it. Data management, transparency, customer outreach, and professional development are key areas to examine and address. Leveling up your business management game is possible when you make it a priority to do so.