- Get a really good person to help you. This could be your COO, yourCFO, or even a really good administrative assistant. But the bottom line is you need someone you can absolutely rely on to channel your thinking and act on your behalf when you need them to. And you will need them to!
- Get a good accountant. Taxes – and how to avoid them – are a big part of small business management. You want to work with someone who truly understands what you are trying to do and gives you good advice that maximizes what you can take out of the business.
- Get a good attorney. Problems are going to crop up with contracts, clients who don’t pay, and other things. A good small business attorney will take a lot of this load off your back. Find someone who is young enough to work with you and won’t retire before you.
- Get a good accounting system. You don’t need to have a mega system, but even small firms can benefit from good project cost accounting and integrated timesheet and expense reporting – at a minimum – not to mention automated invoicing. This isn’t expensive, and you don’t want to have to make up something on your own.
- Set some reasonable hours to be at the office. Even though you are small, you’ll have other people working with you. It’s important they don’t see you as lazy or unmotivated. Or, guess what? They will become lazy and unmotivated. “Do as I do” is always the best practice.
- Look like a successful firm. It’s one thing to be small. It’s another thing to look like a loser. No good client wants to work with losers. You have to maintain some minimum standard with your clothes, vehicle, and office – basically, anything that other people see.
- Keep learning. Take classes. Go to seminars. Be active in your professional society or association. Read. You cannot allow yourself to stop learning just because you don’t want to have a large firm.
- Keep teaching others. It’s one of the best ways for you to learn and stay fresh. But, besides that, it is a good way to help other people feel like they didn’t sell their own careers short to work in a small firm, because you let them learn. One of the best aspects of working in a small company SHOULD be role-diversity and the ability to learn. Make sure that’s real in your firm.
- Don’t get too greedy. You may not have many employees, but the ones you have depend on you to provide them with a decent living. Respect that and treat them accordingly. And the people who really make your life better and easier? Reward them!
Good, small firms
Apr 08, 2015
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Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.