Our business is growing and there is just so much to learn along the way. We want to share some tips and tricks for managing a growing business. There are three topics that is relevant for every growing small business: staying organized, mental health and appreciating employees.
1. Staying Organized
A company with just one owner might be able to get away with mental notes or just a simple notebook, but a growing company needs to be aware of what it means to stay organized at different sizes.
When we were just one, it was just a notebook. Then we became three, and we started using Trello to manage tasks. I highly recommend Trello, but we’ve grown out of it and now we started using a more robust tool called Karbon HQ that also allows us to track each other’s e-mail trails. This journey would look different for different types of small businesses, but the underlying theme of proactively seeking the right tools is one that every growing business needs to consider.
At what point does one need an administrative assistant? This was a big question for me as of late. We’ve been using Calendly to manage the need of having to coordinate back and forth the question of, “So, when can you meet?”. It was fantastic, until I realized that it cannot make appointments, or make judgemental decisions on the priority of a meeting over another. Personally, I made the decision that when my calendar became so full that it became a matter of having to decide which meeting is more important than another.
2. Mental Health
Most entrepreneur would agree with me that staying healthy mentally is something that needs to be proactive. I don’t think the typical person appreciates how many decisions a business owner needs to make in a day, and how mentally exhausting it can be.
It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves. My advice is to surround yourself with people who at the very least can sympathize with why you might immediately book a direct flight that costs more to having to check flight prices everyday, or stress out over connecting flights. Making reasonable choices to avoid unnecessary stress is sometimes more important than saving a few dollars. Yes, I’m an accountant and I actually said that.
Most recently, I’ve discovered how difficult it is to just look at my phone and not be immediately stressed out over the volume of notifications. I thought it was normal until my friends started mentioning to me that they get stressed out over my notifications even when I ignore them. I’ve now manually turned off notifications on almost all apps now. I’m also trying out a meditation app called Calm.
3. Appreciating Employees
I used to work for big corporations prior to becoming an entrepreneur. Big corporations are known for having disgruntled employees, and I admit to being a disgruntled employee at one point in my life. Rather than hold a grudge, I take it upon myself to never forget how being unappreciated made me feel. As hard as I may be on my employees sometimes, I will always try my best to appreciate them. Many of my employees are young and new to the working world. They probably have not seen how an unappreciated team with poor communication can quickly deteriorate. I realize that having zero disgruntled employees can be difficult as a company grows, but do I take it upon myself to take preventative action.
We encourage open communication channels, welcome informal feedback and most recently we introduced an appreciation program using HeyTaco, a Slack integrated app. Appreciating employees is something that needs to be ever-evolving and re-assessed from time to time for a growing company. It should not be just a program that is implemented and forgotten.
Your Start Up and E-Commerce Accountant
Jenny Tran, CPA, CMA