Small Business Resources Catalogue

Welcome to our Small Business Resources Catalogue.  This is a collection of our resources that are relevant to growing your Small Business in a Sustainable fashion.

We describe a Small Business as 5-19 staff.  Smaller is a Micro business and larger a Medium to Large Business.  We have separate resource catalogues for each.

Our Mission is Sustainable Business Success.  For us, a sustainable business has acceptable:

  1. Rewards for the leader (salary, benefits and profit)
  2. Stress levels (cash flow and risk) and
  3. Workloads

These are what is acceptable in the mind of the business leader and will differ between individual leaders.

There are four parts to growing a Small Business Sustainably:

  1. Plan the growth path in more detail to guide the larger work team
  2. Configure for sustainable growth
  3. Starting to hire middle management positions
  4. Monitor the business to ensure it stays sustainable.

The resources are grouped that way below.

If you have not already read the more detailed outline of our approach to growing a sustainable business, please do before using the resources below.

Find What You Need!

There are a lot of resources in 12Faces so it can be a bit daunting finding what you need.  Here are a few suggested approaches;

  1. On this page, we have grouped those resources you are most likely to find helpful at your present or aspiring business size
  2. for a specific topic (e.g. pricing) you can always use the search tool at the very top of every page
  3. when you would like to see more of a similar type of information, many pages will have clickable “breadcrumbs” in the page heading and also have a “category” and “tag”.  Clicking on any of those will take you to more in a similar vein. Categories are larger, or wider ranging,  groups than tags.  An article can be in both
  4. Our Diagnostic System allows you to drill down though a series of increasingly specific menus to find useful information.  This can be particularly useful when you don’t know specifically what you want but do have a general idea.  

The Business of Small (5-19 staff) Businesses

Although the term “small business” is used generically, it also refers to a business group with a particular number of staff.  As a consequence of this size, it also will present you as the owner with a particular special set of issues to address.

About Small (5-19 staff) Business Management

This article introduces the particular issues around a business of 5-19 staff.  Existing and aspiring small-sized business owners will find it useful to see the important management issues you need to be across in this size range.

Work Smarter not Harder Planning

Business planning sounds like a pretty complex exercise that takes a lot of time and thought; and has uncertain payoffs.  Consequently, many smaller business owners don’t spend a lot of time on it.  We take these realities into consideration and have fashioned a very simple, very adaptable, planning routine based on the best practices of leading writers and companies. We encourage you to use this systematic approach.

Small Business Resources: Is Growth Possible?

Not all businesses can grow for several reasons. In this Section of your Resources Catalogue, we indicate some of our resources to help you determine if you can take the step from a comparatively low cost, but low growth, Solopreneur / Start-up through the Micro Business stage employing staff for the first time and on to this Small Business stage where you are likely to start employing managers and supervisors.

Course: C3.0 Grow Your Enterprise in 365 Days

The Grow Your Enterprise in 365 Days (G365) Course explores the topic of “What might stop your growth” in the first of three lessons.  This lesson highlights a number of reasons growth might not be effective for you.  It is worth a quick scan, at least, to see if growth is on your horizon.  The other two lessons cover “Planning for Growth” and “How to execute a Double your Profit strategy”.   They may be of interest, but not as relevant for a Micro Business.

About Cash Flow

Many people think Profit is the goal of a business.  And that is true in the long-run.  But much more important to a Micro Business is a healthy cash flow. This is so that you can pay the bills when they fall due.  Learn more about the roles of Profit and Cash Flow on this link.

Diagnostics: Cash Flow

We have categorised our resources on the topic of cash flow in our easy-to-use drill down Diagnostics System.  Go straight to that topic on the link above.

Performance Coach

It can be lonely being a business leader.  Sometimes you will feel you can benefit from another person’s advice or guidance but can’t ask staff.  We offer a Performance Coaching Service on an as-requested basis for just these times.  Use the link above to learn more.

Configure for Sustainable Growth

A business can never be sustainable if the various “levers” in the accounting system are not in harmony. Most businesses work on the equation:

Revenue – Expenses = Profit

Consequently, they only find out what their Profit is sometime after the accounting period has closed; and they have to take what they get.  If you want a sustainable system, it makes sense to set your target Profit and then manage Revenue and/or costs to get the required profit.  

Course: SM6.0 Profitable Business Autopilot

The Profit Autopilot system provides a mechanism for setting a desirable Profit in advance. It then manipulates the business to provide that level of Profit with much more surety than the conventional approach.

“Piggy Banks”

A common problem in business is having the necessary cash to pay debts when they fall due.  This can be particularly difficult with infrequent payments, like tax, that tend to sneak up on you. Or alternatively, you have trouble budgeting for in advance when you don’t know how much the payment will be.  Just like a child’s piggy bank saves money out of sight, the “Piggy Bank” strategy does the same for your business. The information for “Piggy Banks” is found within the Profit Autopilot Skills Module.

Small Business Resources: People 

Any business can only be as good as the people who work in it.  In turn they need to be well trained and well led.  A sustainable business needs good systems for recruiting, motivating, leading and remunerating.  Learn more about the small business resources available on the link above. Also covers other people relationships, for example, suppliers.

Performance Coach

It can be lonely being a business leader.  Sometimes you will feel you can benefit from another person’s advice or guidance but can’t ask staff.  We offer a Performance Coaching Service on an as-requested basis for just these times.  Use the link above to learn more.

Planning to Work Smarter not Harder

Business planning sounds like a pretty complex exercise that takes a lot of time and thought; and has uncertain payoffs.  Consequently, many smaller business owners don’t spend a lot of time on it.  We take these realities into consideration and have fashioned a very simple, very adaptable, planning routine based on the best practices of leading writers and companies.

Managing your First Manager Hires

In the Small Business phases, you have grown from a “one person band”, or Solopreneur, though the Micro Business stage (1-4 staff) and now to the Small Business stage (5-19 staff)You are likely to add your first supervisor and specialist managers at this stage.  That introduces issues relating to hiring those types of staff.  This section collects some of our resources on specific topics relating to these hiring issues.

Diagnostic: People  

Any business is only as good as the people who work in it.  In turn they need to be well trained and well led.  A sustainable growth business needs good systems for recruiting, motivating, leading and remunerating.  Learn more about our collection of people resources, accessible via our Diagnostic System, on the link above. Also covers other people relationships, for example, suppliers.

Prioritising Work

Not all work is equally important.  By focusing on what is important, and largely ignoring the rest, you will get much more done, much faster, and with less stress.  Go to the work prioritisation resources.

First Manager Hires

A business of this size generally starts to hire managers and supervisors to carry the extra supervisory work load. Additionally, they will provide better quality, specialist, managers.  Get hints on how to prepare for this stage.

Small Business Resources: Managing Time

A big drain on a business leader is having too much work on their plate.  Our sustainability goal is to get that under control. There are a number of Time Management Resources to help. Go to the link above.

Manage Stress

Stress can be very debilitating.  It saps your energy and upsets your mental state.  The resources to manage stress are grouped within this link.

Work Flow

Work flow refers to the input of raw materials and customer orders at one end of a production line and the output of finished goods at the other. It applies to all types of industry.  A production chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  Read more on Optimise the production chain work flow at the link above.

Funding your Small Business Expansion

Generating the money to support the hiring of management staff and related growth expenses is one of the vital aspects of surviving this stage.  In this Stage, you are adding management staff who do not directly generate income to pay for their costs.  This introduces new issues around funding these employees. Adding later staff is not such a challenge as you start to get momentum.  This is known as the flywheel effectFunding comes from savings and investments and from revenue generated by sales.  This section collects our resources on this topic.

Diagnostics: Revenue Creation

By this stage, your business will have established sales channels and systems that  are working well enough to get you to this point.  At some stage, they will start to plateau meaning you need to explore other revenue raising techniques and markets.  The additional revenue, for continued growth, is likely created by more than just more sales of the same things! Find our resources on this topic via the Diagnostic System.

Flywheel Effect

By this stage, your business expansion is likely speeding up.  You are experiencing the Flywheel Effect.  Learn more about this and how to control expansion to best effect.

 

Optimise for Extra Value

As a business develops, there are inevitably left over pieces of experiments that failed, projects that are cancelled and activities that are no longer core to the current business direction.  Just like “barnacles” slow down a ship, these leftovers will slow down your growth.  Removing them will re-position your business for efficient growth.  The other advantage is that most “barnacles” are costs so removing them gives your profit bottom line an immediate boost.  Our Optimize 100 (O100) course provides a structure to optimizing your business.

Monitor Your Business Health

At every stage of your sustainable growth journey, you should be monitoring the health of your business. Early on, this will show how your journey is progressing and give you positive feedback on progress.  Once over the initial stages, you need to be confident that your operating circumstances don’t change for the worse, without you realisingConstant changes, like inflation on wages and goods, will eat into your sustainability unless monitored.

Tools: TrendBoard

TrendBoard is our principal monitoring tool.  It is designed to be updated every month with current financial data from your accounts. Furthermore, it takes only 1-2 hours a month to be confident that your business is progressing satisfactorily.  It also monitors your cash flow and ability to pay staff; vital issues for a growing Small Business.

Tools: ChangeBoard

ChangeBoard is built into TrendBoard.  It will show you the impact on profitability of a change in any of the major accounting “levers” (Revenue, Gross Profit and Operating Profit).  You use it to check on what adverse changes are costing you and the potential impact of intentional change.

Diagnostic System

The Diagnostic System allows you to click on a link for any adverse Symptom or problem you have in your business and drill down to possible Treatments.  It saves you a great deal of research and often raises possibilities that have not occurred to you before. 

Accounting System

Often your accounting system is used for annual Tax Accounting and not for monthly Management Accounting.  You are wasting one of your most valuable monitoring assetsMuch more can be taken from your accounting system; and generally at very little extra cost.  Learn more about good accounting system configuration.

Backup Resources

There will be many issues that come up in your business that we have not covered or not covered clearly enough.

We have other tools to help clarify how to attack the issues that are worrying you. Please use  them as much as you wish.  We can respond and use your input to improve our service to others who come after you.

Performance Coach

It can be lonely being a business leader.  Sometimes you will feel you can benefit from another person’s advice or guidance but can’t ask staff.  We offer a Performance Coaching Service on an as-requested basis for just these times.  Use the link above to learn more.

Community Forum

Our Community Forum is open to any registered business as a FREE service to our community.  You can post a query here for others to comment.  You can, and are very welcome to, respond to questions yourself.

12Faces Support System

If you spot a broken element on our website or an error in our resources, we appreciate you opening a support ticket or just emailing us direct to reception@backstop.business

Email us Directly

You can pass on questions and comment to us directly to our main email address; reception@backstop.business

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