The fundamentals of small business success

“I mentored a small business owner and asked him what margins he was aiming to achieve with his pricing,” says Stilwell.

“Not only did no one understand my question, but pretty much every quote that was made was losing money, which explained the cash flow issues.”

Resource Upgrade

Adding resources is always a challenge, especially for small business owners who are used to being in charge of everything within operations.

According to Stilwell, founders often fail to let go, even once their business is established, because they find it difficult to trust someone else to take on the responsibilities and execute them the same way they would.

The paradox is that they may not properly inform newcomers once they enter the company or guide them through a proper onboarding process, so much of the information that new people have need are hidden in the head of the owner.

“This automatically puts any new team member in check, or at least a challenge in mastering their new role,” says Stilwell.

Over-interviewing job applicants

It’s also important not to shorten the interview and selection process, which can lead to the wrong people landing the job, advises Peter Smith, director of Business Profitability.

“We may be in a tight job market, but you can’t just interview someone for 20 minutes, do some reference checks and offer them the job, because you don’t know what you’re getting,” says Smith, who ran a small business and now works with others to try to increase their profits.

“Try to take more time during the onboarding process, spending a few hours interviewing to really understand if they’re a good fit, whatever the purpose of the job.”

Two hours of your time is well worth the investment to make sure you have the right person for the job, adds Smith.

“Don’t just accept references from a candidate either. More often than not, they provided the name of a friend they used to work with, rather than their boss,” he says.

“It’s not dishonest, but it’s not really helpful if you’re trying to decide if they’re a good fit for the job you’re considering offering them.”

Take the time to build the perfect team.Credit:iStock

move staff

Getting the right people in the right roles sounds easy, but many companies actually struggle with it, Smith says.

“I see so many companies where staff are working expensive overtime just to fix mistakes made by others,” he says. “It can be quite an expensive part of running a small business.”

Smith suggests one option is to transfer existing staff to different roles. Keep in mind, however, that going through the performance management process with staff who are not performing their role properly can be quite difficult and time consuming.

Execution capacity

Execution is about being able to look at all the moving parts of your business, assess inefficiencies, and improve where you can.

“If you’re running a manufacturing business, that means doing it with minimal waste and inefficiency. Only then can you increase the profits of your business,” says Smith.

That’s easier said than done, he admits. Too often, business owners don’t see a better way to execute their vision and don’t realize they could benefit from an outsider’s perspective.


The biggest challenge for small business owners is to finally transition from business owner to CEO and run their business as a leader, instead of being a “player” involved in most activities. daily.

“The idea here is that as you build your business, you let go of the day-to-day elements of running the operation,” says Stilwell. “It will give you greater visibility into the future direction of the business.”

Officeworks is a one-stop-shop for all your small business needs, but more than just a retailer, it’s committed to helping the Australian business community succeed and grow. To visit to view workspace solutions, technical support, work supplies, and prepaid business services.

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