My business coach gets all his clients together for a monthly networking meeting and invites along a couple of guest speakers. Although I often feel like a little fish amongst all the big ones – with Managing Directors and CEOs of companies turning over millions of dollars each year and me being a Virtual Assistant operating a solo business from home - it’s interesting to see who else is being coached and what their businesses are about.

At one such gathering, an accountant was giving a presentation. My mind began to wander. Although I’m supposed to take an interest in these things, I’m not very conversant with accounting procedures and often assume these talks are for the big guys and not for me.

But once I started listening, I realised the challenges the big guys have, the small ones have too.

Here are three small business management tips I have learnt recently from attending these networking meetings:

Create an operations manual

Diaries and to-do-lists are not enough, it has to go further than that. I have trademarked my business name, catch phrase and logo and have various systems in place but I still haven’t documented how it’s all set up. An operations manual is what’s needed for succession planning if your business is to go on beyond your own involvement.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business networking section.

Get tougher on non-paying clients

It can be tough out there all round but who’s going to pay the bills if the funds are not coming in? I resolved to follow up more closely on non-paying clients and not let it go on for too long. It’s amazing how quickly it mounts up if you let it!

Attend personal and professional development networking meetings

I came away from that networking meeting realising that there are still things I need to put into practice, even though I’ve been in business for many years. It’s amazing how quickly habits can be dropped or changed. Attending personal and professional development events to assist you in small business management is a must.

As I left the networking meeting that evening and was looking over the pages of the sample budget and P&L statement we were given, there was something strangely familiar about it. Some of it looked like my own - and if I just make a change in this column over here like the accountant showed us, I can start to see an immediate return over there! Perhaps I’ll have more cash at the end of next month!

“ Attending personal and professional development events to assist you in small business management is a must. ”
 
Kathie M. Thomas

Kathie M. Thomas is the founder of A Clayton's Secretary, a Virtual Assistant Network with members in many countries. Dedicated to teaching others about business on the web, she is a multiple award winner, with 30 years' experience in her field.

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