How to Manage a Company

Four Parts:Running OperationsSelling Your ProductsManaging Your EmployeesGrowing Your Company

Running a company requires taking your business skills and know-how to the next level to manage a full organization. Company organizations can be very complex, but must all move in unison to achieve efficiency and profitability. A company manager must create structures and systems to unify the workings of the company towards an overall goal. Use the following steps to manage a company.

Part 1
Running Operations

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    Work within the company's structure. Your company can be structured in several different ways. The simplest is a sole proprietorship, where you, as the business owner, make all business decisions. However, there are many other forms a company can take, including limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations. In other structures, you may have shareholders or partners to work with and appease. You may need to gain their approval before making organizational changes. Before doing anything, make sure to know your rights as the business manager so that you don't run into any legal troubles with your business partners.
  2. 2
    Develop operational systems. Operational systems broadly refer to the systems that are used to run your company. These include communication procedures, decision-making protocols, information tracking and processing, planning, employee selection, training of new employees, goal tracking, and project procedures, among many others. These systems are the standardized methods that can keep your business running so that you don't personally have to oversee them.
    • The goal is build and refine these systems to the point that they become autonomous (able to run without you and your partners). This frees you up to consider future growth and development.
    • Refine your systems to the point where they could theoretically be used to franchise your business (an exact copy of your business could be built elsewhere without your current personnel).[1]
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    Analyze the company's finances. Assess your financial status. The development of new products and services requires staff and resources. Determine how much money you can devote to these expenses. Factor in overhead costs for rent, utilities, marketing and other business-related expenses. Create a contingency fund to set aside in the event of emergency needs. Hire a finance expert, if necessary, to handle these tasks.[2]
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    Maintain product and service quality. Even as your business develops into a larger company and you find yourself spread thin, keep product quality and customer service as your top priorities. Focus on retaining customers in this way, as acquiring new customers is much more expensive. Make sure that your employees, especially salespeople and customer service representatives, are very aware of this goal.[3]
  5. 5
    Find ways to measure key metrics. Key metrics, like sales figures, customer retention, cost of acquiring new customers, and incidence of returned products, can be measured with the right systems in place. Analyzing the data from these metrics can allow you to track your growth or improve and streamline your operations over time. Without this type of analysis, you have to rely on estimations and the way that things seems, which are rarely accurate ways to assess your company.[4]

Part 2
Selling Your Products

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    Create a direction for your marketing efforts. Marketing activities in larger companies are generally handled by a department or a team of people. In a small business, you may be personally responsible for overseeing marketing efforts. In either case, you must start with a marketing goal. That is, what do you want your marketing efforts to do for the company? Define your goal clearly before starting, as it will inform the rest of your marketing decisions. Some common goals include:
    • Introducing a new product/service.
    • Stirring up repeat business.
    • Entering a new market.
    • Growing your "brand."[5]
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    Develop a brand. Your company's brand is the face that it shows to consumers. It shows customers and potential customers your company's beliefs, morals, and reputability. A brand is used to build loyalty among customers and make your products stand out from those of your competitors. Build a brand by first deciding exactly how you want your company to look to customers. Work to build a brand that shows a commitment to quality and customer service, at the very least.
    • Your brand is used to inform all aspects of marketing. Use your brand voice and imagery for advertising that you purchase.
    • Above all, maintain brand consistency everywhere, from your storefront and employees to your online communications and social media.[6]
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    Build a marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy spells out exactly how you will market your company's offerings. It includes facts about your customers, market, competitors, and past marketing successes and failures. It also spells out aspects of your product that you want to emphasize and how your marketing will further your company's brand. Finally, it includes a plan for marketing, with things like what types of media you will use, your budget, and the actual content of the advertisements.
    • Build a team to work on your marketing strategy. You can also hire a marketing firm if you have the budget for it.[7]
  4. 4
    Maintain your online presence. One of the best ways to cheaply increase your marketing reach is to create a strong online presence for your company. Start by having a website designer create a professional-looking website for you. Include all pertinent information about your company, products, and management. Then, make sure to create and build up your social media accounts by frequently posting relevant articles and information. Use these sites as a space to interact with customers and respond to any complaints they may have. Finally, work on making sure you show up on search engine results by grooming your local listings.
    • Consider hiring a specialist to build and maintain your online presence.[8]
  5. 5
    Set up a sales strategy. Once you have a marketing direction, you need a sales strategy to actually sell your products to the customers you attract. Work with your sales team and management to create a sales strategy that addresses the following:
    • Sales tactics. This part describes where will you make sales, such as online, at trade shows, or in your store.
    • Target customers. Who will you mainly target to make sales?
    • Sales goals. How many products do you want to sell by the end of the month or year?
    • Timelines for reaching your sales goals.[9]

Part 3
Managing Your Employees

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    Advertise for qualified workers. Choose from a variety of methods for hiring new employees, such as posting Internet ads, hiring a recruitment firm, placing an ad in the newspaper or spreading the word in niche-specific networks. To attract qualified candidates, be specific about your hiring needs and requirements.
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    Interview prospective employees. Put applicants at ease by being personable and communicative. Project a professional image during the interview by being attentive and dressed in business attire. Limit the conversation primarily to business-related matters. Include current employees that the new hire will be working with in the interview or otherwise in the hiring process. It is essential that your team members work well together, so make sure that they get along from the start.[10]
  3. 3
    Familiarize yourself with employment laws. Failing to follow employment regulations and laws could leave you legally liable. Study the requirements in your jurisdiction and industry for laws related to employee hours, breaks, tax requirements, and benefits. In addition, look into the legal requirements for employees versus those of independent contractors, making sure that you follow the relevant one for your employees. Adhere to policies governing employee selection and promotion. Make sure to know rules that spell out fair compensation amounts, including minimum wage and overtime pay.
    • Because of all of the legal intricacies involved in this process, consider hiring legal counsel to assist you in achieving compliance.[11]
  4. 4
    Decide on your management style. Empower employees by explaining tasks and allowing them to manage their duties, checking in with you for clarification as needed. Alternatively, schedule regular check-in sessions with employees to evaluate progress on specific projects or tasks.
    • Address employee needs and conflicts. Create an environment of open communication for employees to approach you regarding professional conflicts. Address conflicts by listening, asking questions, showing objectivity and taking a solution-oriented approach to resolving problems.
    • Delegate out your managerial responsibilities effectively. Assign some of these tasks to mid-level managers so that you can focus on upper-level work. However, make sure that these managers are ready for the work assigned to them.[12]

Part 4
Growing Your Company

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    Take courses in business management. In the process of managing a company, you may recognize skill areas in need of strengthening. Conflict resolution, marketing knowledge, technical skills and employee management are a few of the areas that may need further development. Contact colleges, universities or business institutes for course offerings. Being mentored by experienced business leaders is also an option.
    • Try to locate a mentor with experience running a company in your industry. They can provide you with advice and guidance that no business school will provide.[13]
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    Keep an eye on the market. Watch out for trends in your industry by reading trade publications, newspapers, and relevant magazines. Think of ways to capitalize on new trends or adjust your strategy to avoid difficulties in the economy or marketplace. Watch current competitors for changes they may make to their strategy and study new ones if they enter the market.
    • In addition, always listen to your customers. Compile feedback from customer service interactions and analyze comments for frequency. If enough customers ask for a new product or service, for example, it may be in your best interest to think about offering it.[14]
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    Outline your vision for the company. Think about the ultimate goal of your product or service. Beyond generating revenue, what do you hope to accomplish? Is there a need that your product or service can meet? Are you creating something brand new? Go beyond a discussion of profit and talk about the larger picture.
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    Assess company progress. Decide on a regular time frame for evaluating your company's progress towards its goals. You might engage in this assessment on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Take this time to evaluate your marketing efforts, product sales, financial health, employee issues and all other business-related matters.

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Categories: Workplace Management Skills