Running a small business can sometimes feel like an adventure—full of twists and turns, unexpected challenges, and (with hard work and a bit of luck) big rewards. But often small business owners and entrepreneurs will start their journey with expertise and passion for their niche, only to feel overwhelmed by the management aspects of business operations.

Every decision you make for your business counts, and every action can shape the trajectory of your growth for years to come. That’s why knowing how to manage a small business is crucial for sustainable growth and long-term success.

What is small business management?

Small business management is the term that encompasses every facet of running a small business—from marketing and sales to customer support, product development, finance, IT, and beyond. For many small business owners, this can sometimes feel like spinning plates…while juggling flaming torches…while walking a tightrope!

Okay, small business management may not be quite so dramatic, but small business owners do have to wear a lot of hats to pull off the behind-the-scenes magic that keeps the wheels turning and the lights on.

Why is small business management important?

Without effective management practices, even the most innovative ideas can fail. From balancing the books to providing stellar customer support, effective management ensures that your business runs like a well-oiled machine, even when faced with unforeseen challenges.

The most successful entrepreneurs and business owners approach small business management with a growth mindset. That means embracing continuous learning, evolution, adaptation, and viewing challenges as opportunities for growth.

Top 4 most important skills for managing a small business

Small business management is all about being open to learning and knowing where to focus your attention. Here are the top four skills and small business management tips that every business owner should know.

1. Time Management

The business world is fast-paced! That means time is usually your most precious resource. Effective time management is all about setting clear priorities, creating schedules you can stick to, and minimizing distractions to maximize productivity. Utilize time-blocking techniques and regularly review and adjust your schedule to focus on high-value activities.

2. Transparent Communication

Good communication is the backbone of any organization. When employees and customers know they expect clear, reliable, and consistent communication, they feel valued and engaged, which leads to increased trust and, ultimately, better business outcomes.

3. Clear Prioritization

With countless tasks vying for your attention, identifying what’s most important and focusing your energy and resources accordingly ensures that you’re always working on the tasks that will have the greatest impact on your business’s success. Notice certain things always being pushed down to the bottom of the list? It might be time to consider outsourcing some of those tasks.

4. Attention to detail

Even the smallest details can make a big difference. From ensuring accuracy in financial records to delivering a flawless customer experience, paying attention to detail demonstrates professionalism, builds trust, and sets you apart from the competition.

Tips from the pros for managing a small business

Any Google search about small business management will give you about a million articles and videos with different opinions about how to make your business successful. The truth is, you know your business best, so take advice from YouTube “experts” and AI-generated lists with a grain of salt.

The most successful business owners know that there aren’t any secret tricks to business success, but will tell you there are a few key approaches to running a small business that will lay a foundation for growth.

1. Create a Clear Business Plan

Start by crafting a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, target market, and competitive landscape. Understanding where your business fits within the market and how you can differentiate yourself from competitors is key.

2. Dedicated Business Financial Scope

Establishing clear boundaries between personal and business finances not only ensures financial clarity but also helps determine your funding requirements accurately. This distinction is necessary for managing cash flow, securing loans, and maintaining financial stability.

3. Hire the Right People

A business is only as strong as its employees. Invest time and effort in recruiting team members who align with your company culture, possess the necessary skills, and demonstrate a commitment to your vision. Remember, treat your employees well and give them the tools to succeed, and they will become your best advocates.

4. Use the Right Tools

Leveraging technology and tools tailored to small businesses can streamline operations and boost productivity. Whether it's project management software, accounting platforms, or communication tools, choosing the right tools can simplify tasks, improve efficiency, and give you some breathing room!

5. Invest in Marketing

Think of marketing as the face and personality of your business. How do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand? How can you show off your business in a way that connects and aligns with your customers? Once you answer those questions, you can develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that will yield a return on your investment. Choose the channels that make sense for your business and customer base, but make sure to include some variety. That means both offline and online marketing, including social media, email, SEO, and advertising.

Tools to manage your business

Running a small business efficiently requires the right tools to keep operations running smoothly. Here are some essential tools to consider integrating into your business:

Communication Platform

When you’re running a small business, you may not have the resources to invest in more traditional business phone plans that require special hardware and big monthly fees.

Instead, using a virtual phone system like Grasshopper can help you maintain a professional presence using tools you already have—your cell phone and computer! Think of Grasshopper as a comprehensive business phone system you carry in your pocket with everything you need to stay connected to your business.

With features like voicemail transcriptions, auto-texting, call forwarding, virtual faxing, VoIP/Wi-Fi calling, and more, you can stay connected and respond promptly to customers any time, any place. Grasshopper comes with your own toll-free, vanity, or local number that is attached to the cell phone you already own, so you get the appearance and experience of a separate business phone, with the convenience of your own smartphone.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Your customers are what keep your business running, which means managing those customer relationships is a vital part of running your business. A CRM system helps you organize customer data, track interactions, and nurture leads effectively. By centralizing customer information and automating processes, you can improve customer satisfaction and drive business growth.

Financial Tracking and Planning

Invest in financial tracking and planning software to monitor cash flow, track expenses, and create budgets. By gaining insights into your business’s financial health, you can make informed decisions and ensure ongoing financial stability.

Project Management

Effective time management is crucial for small business owners who are juggling multiple tasks and projects. Implementing project management software helps you centralize project information, streamline workflows, prioritize tasks, and allocate resources effectively.

How Grasshopper helps

Every small business is different, which means every small business will have different roadblocks and needs. Grasshopper may not be able to solve every challenge that you face as a small business owner, but it can help you simplify and streamline your communication needs, all in one easy-to-use, affordable package.

Grasshopper was created with small business owners in mind. That means it’s intuitive, versatile, and affordable and you’ll have access to customizable features that make sense for your business.

Plus, we know that running a small business isn’t just a nine-to-five gig, which is why Grasshopper also provides around-the-clock 24/7 support. Whether you have a question about setting up your account or need assistance with a technical issue, our dedicated support team is always just a call or click away.

Learn more about Grasshopper and get started with a free 7-day trial today.