6 Basic Business Activities
The sheer volume of tasks involved with running a business can take up every waking minute of its owner’s life. Keeping these tasks to a manageable level is critical for you to remain rested and focused. By remembering that all businesses must address six basic activities, you can build supervising these activities into your schedule.
Even in well-ordered businesses, a number of human resource tasks need attention. If you lack a dedicated HR person in your business, that leaves employee acquisition in your hands or those of of your managers. You must conduct interviews, hire applicants and determine what benefit packages, if any, your company will offer. You will also need to address any interpersonal conflicts that crop up in the normal course of business.
No matter what product or service your business provides, good businesses live and die on customer service. Customer service helps to secure new clients and promotes referrals from your existing clients. Customer-service departments, unlike front-line staff, provide existing customers with a direct contact that offers solutions to issues with bills, faulty products or shipping errors. In smaller businesses, you and your management team may provide these services personally.
In essence, accounting boils down to tracking the money you take in and the money you spend. For businesses that deal in a small number of transactions per week or month, periodic data entry may be sufficient. Retail businesses with a high number of transactions typically call for daily accounting. Keeping up to date on expenditures and income allows you to see where you make the most and where your business loses money.
As a part of managing your finances, implementing a budget can help you keep costs down. For smaller businesses, budgets may consist of little more than a monthly allotment to cover overhead, insurance and payroll. In larger businesses, where multiple departments may engage in long-term projects, you may need to set out fairly complicated allotment on an annual basis. Your budget should include expected revenue and costs that you update monthly or more often, based on any new information.
Sales are the heart of all businesses. Depending on the industry you work in, sales may hinge on a dedicated sales team that develops prospects into clients, performs demonstrations and maintains contact with your existing client base. In some cases, you may fill the role of primary salesperson for your business by dealing with new client acquisition. As with the other aspects of business, this is best handled by scheduling an allotted amount of time each day or week to specifically handle sales-oriented tasks.
Very few businesses can survive without marketing. A good marketing plan should seek to maximize exposure of your business to the target market. This may mean mass marketing via television commercials or specifically targeting clients via trade magazines. You should review your marketing efforts regularly to see which elements produce the best results.