Here some management principles I use (not set in stone), which can be helpful.
1) No Meetings
Any company should try to reduce meetings to a maximum.
Of course there are some meetings which are necessary, for example, finding out the requirement of a solution from the client.
But there are many meetings inside a company which are only held, because people think they need to do them. Weekly meetings are one example.
Management Tip: Avoid Meetings
2) No Growth
There is a very interesting book from the founders of Basecamp, called Rework. It is mentioning that teams do not need to grow to hundreds of thousands of employees. Teams of 10 to 50 people are really good and are usually also very efficient.
So it is good to grow. But do it very slowly. So that money, time, management, etc. is still possible.
Note: Growth is needed. But not at a hyper speed.
3) No Contracts
In reality no one works because they got a contract. They work, because they get a salary, revenue at the end of the month, they get respect, are treated well, do interesting kinds of work and are appreciated for their work.
So actually it does not need contracts between employees and companies or companies and clients. They are just formalities, which do not have that much of an importance.
Note: May be in multi million dollar engagements, contracts can have some significance, but in 95 percent of small to medium sized collaborations, these are not really needed.
4) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
It can be helpful to have SOP’s for simple tasks and also intermediate levels of tasks. So that the employees can follow these standard procedures. These SOP’s can be especially helpful in Sales, Marketing, Office Administration, Financial Processes.
Even in software projects they can be more than helpful.
Management Tip: Make it a point to create SOP’s for repeatable tasks.
5) Standardize/ Specialise
It is not good to offer custom solutions to each new client. It is better to create one or two main business models, which are offered to clients. Only work with clients, which actually benefit from one specific type of service.
The advantage is, that the clients will be able to get a service of high quality. The service provider at the same time will be able to improve the service over time. As they are doing the tasks over and over again.
6) Wax on Wax off
To get really got at something you need to do it over and over again. That is why you need to offer the same services all the time.
Wax off and get better at a specific task and provide great customer value.
7) Create Client Profile
It is good to create a client profile or a customer persona. This client profile can help in selecting the right clients. Because a specific service provider will not be able to provide value to all kinds of clients.
8) No Culture
Some companies try to create a company culture, which they try to fix upon their employees.
But all people who enter a company already have a culture, which they learnt from their parents over many years, from their school, from their friends and so on.
It is very difficult to change people.
But most people already have a good culture.
A company should therefore let every employee be like they are. Thereby taking advantage of each individual’s strengths. And not try to make them something they are not.
9) No Office
Not all services and products can be made without an office. But there are many businesses which do not actually need an office. Software Development is one such example. A developer can also work from home.
It might be a good idea to have no office at all. Or at least try to reduce the office space to a minimum. So that it becomes a place to meet up from time to time. So that team members can physically meet.
10) Sparse feedback culture
No one likes to get a “feedback” from another team member, from management or from the boss. Everyone likes their own work and does not wish to get consulted from others.
Therefore it is best to reduce the feedback culture.
Of course there will be things where it will become obvious that something needs to be improved. Then a discussion can help. But do not make it a mandatory thing to feedback everyone and at time intervals.
11) Hire A Players
It is always good to hire people who are really good at what they do.
They will be able to do tasks without too much management. They usually are strong at communication, which will help in the short and long term.
12) 10x tasks
Try to do tasks which can bring a 10x return.
There are many tasks which are more “cosmetics” and do not bring any value. So therefore always select tasks which bring more value.
13) 10x marketing
There are also marketing activities which bring more revenue and impact than other methods. Always work on the things that work and bring more clients and are actually working.
14) Wax on Wax off Marketing
There are marketing activities which can be done always, like sending regular mails via the newsletter. Posting on Social Media.
For that processes have to be created (SOP’s) which can be followed by Marketing employees and they can execute on them daily.
15) No Money Management
Of course, if you are a large bank or a multi billion dollar entity, it makes sense to keep track of each penny.
But for most small businesses it is better to make simple calculations.
“Is this effort worth the money?”
“Are we making a profit?”
“Is it going upwards?”
Are questions which should be asked.
By doing simple calculations in an Excel sheet it should become clear whether everything is going good.
Management Tip: Keep money management simple.
16) Goal Setting
It is always good to write down your goals. For example on a piece of paper.
This visualization will help you achieve that particular goal.
17) No Goals
In reality, goals can always never be achieved. In most cases it will be more than what had been planned. Or less. But the Goal will not be reached to that specific point.
Therefore the question is also, how much sense do these Goals make?
Very large companies seem to be able to achieve their goals, by having large advertisement and sales budgets.
But for most small to medium sized businesses it is not always predictable what the future looks like.
But goals can be a guiding line which will help to go into the right direction.
18) Small teams
Many companies hire so many people that the management does not even know the name of the specific team member which was hired. That is not good at all. Keep teams small. So that it is transparent who works inside the company.
No growth (i.e. slow growth) can help with that.
19) Always be friendly
There is no need to get angry with any one. Always be friendly. In any situation. It is always best to have a phone call or VOIP call and discuss matters. In 99.9 percent of the cases it is just a misunderstanding.
Always be friendly.
20) No Arguments
There is a good book from Dale Carnegie called “How to win friends and influence people”. There it is mentioned, that no one can win an argument.
Because if you lose the argument, you will be unhappy. If you win the argument, the other person will be unhappy.
Never start arguments. Always find a common ground. Or accept the other person’s position. So as to avoid conflict.
Note: Of course if the behavior is detrimental to the company, then of course there could be a meeting where there is a discussion. But even here arguments can be avoided. Always be friendly.
21) Exercise and healthy eating
Our body needs to be in good shape. Not only for work, but in general. If we exercise regularly and eat healthy, we will feel better.
Management tip: Encourage exercise and healthy eating.
22) No 40 Hour Work Week
In some weeks, there might be so many tasks that the employee or management has to work for 80 or more hours. Then there are weeks where there is not much to do, and things can be done in 20 hours.
There is no need to keep a 40 hour work week. Of course, things need to be done. But how can we define a specific time of work per week, when the requirements change from week to week and month to month.
Management tip: Expect your team members to work more when more work is available and allow for more free time when there is less to do.
23) Paid advertising
When very small paid advertising is not needed. But it can be helpful at a certain stage. Then paid advertisement will help to get a steady stream of leads.
24) Reducing expenses
For small and medium sized companies, and all companies for that matter, it is important to always be reducing the expenses. Over time, unnecessary things will be bought and maintained. Check whether they are still needed and reduce the expenses if possible.
25) No Loans
In most companies there is no need to take a loan. Especially in countries like India the interest rates are very high. It is better to find other ways to procure financing, than taking out a loan.
It might be different in Europe, where interest rates are very low. But here also: What is the purpose of taking out a loan. As the goal should be “Slow Growth”, there should be no need for a loan. Healthy growth with organic financing will be better.
26) Increase Cash
Always try to increase the Cash inside the company. With each passing month there should be more money in the bank. Over time this will help to make the company more financially stable. And growth in terms of paid advertising can be done with the cash flow.
27) 10 Percent
It is always better to have 10 percent maximum revenue for each client. If it is more than that, then it might be a risk.
28) Larger clients -> Use excess cash for growth via paid advertising
If the percentage of revenue for one particular client is more than 10 percent, then the excess cash generated, should be used for paid advertising, so that new clients can be acquired.
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Sascha Thattil ist Blogger und Geschäftsführer bei YUHIRO. Wir bauen Entwicklerteams in Indien für Agenturen, IT Dienstleister und Softwareunternehmen auf.