Any small business leader would admit that maintaining a compact team has its benefits: administration duties are low, agility is high, and team morale is easy to keep track of.
For entrepreneurs with big plans, however, it may seem like your team is too small to execute some of the projects you have in mind. While small teams may not be able to take on every enterprise-level challenge, the right tactics can help your small business take on challenges you might otherwise never have thought possible.
Maximize Your Small Team
Maximizing on your team’s size means accentuating your strengths and giving special care to any potential weaknesses — here’s how you can do that:
1. Have the right tools at your disposal.
No team, no matter the size, is going to be able to do their work properly without the right technology behind them. Platforms like project management software and instant messaging apps are crucial for ensuring the kind of business-wide cohesion that makes it possible for small players to make big moves.
Evaluate what your team needs most right now: for remote offices, it’s going to be tools that promote connectivity, while brick-and-mortar businesses might need scheduling software that improves shift management. The tech you use should conform to the ambitions of your business, not the other way around.
2. Do your research.
Before you even scratch the surface of project development, be sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. In today’s market, it’s not the size of the project that makes an impact: it’s its capacity for disruption. It doesn’t matter how big or small your project is — if there’s not space for it to make an impact on your team or business, it’s not going to be worth it.
Small businesses might not have the ability to do the kind of heavy-duty market research that their competitors do, but getting a sense of how your product will fare once its released is absolutely critical. Before you start development, be sure you know who you’re developing for and how they’ll respond.
3. Plan early.
Thanks to their size, industry titans are often able to simply throw resources at a project until it’s finished — you probably don’t have the same luxury. Small business plans need to be thoroughly developed before any real action is taken: once you start a project, you need to be sure that not a single dollar is being thrown away.
Planning every aspect of the development process ahead of time can make it easier to stay within tight margins later on. By considering any possible externalities ahead of time, you’re guaranteeing yourself the smoothest possible path to completion.
4. Don’t be afraid to delegate.
One of the biggest pluses of working on a small team is the ability to delegate. At large companies, widespread delegation can make it almost impossible to know who’s working on what and when. Small, tightly knit operations can trade tasks freely without getting lost in the shuffle.
Keep close tabs on what each of your employees has on their plate: workers who are overloading themselves should have some of their responsibilities shifted to someone else. By giving each member of your team just the right amount of work, you’re guaranteeing that everyone’s working at their peak productivity.
5. Focus on the essentials.
For companies of all sizes, it can be tempting to start adding features to your product before you’re even done with its central features. While there’s nothing wrong with having a feature-heavy offering, don’t let it distract from the product’s original purpose.
Perhaps the best way around this is by always developing a minimum viable product first. Once you have the bare essentials of your product figured out, you can start adding the features that fit within your schedule and budget — ensuring that you don’t let your reach extend beyond your grasp.
6. Make your meetings democratic.
No one knows more about your business than you do, but you still may not have a firm grasp on every aspect of it. If you want to know precisely what you should be working on and what you’re capable of as a company, you need to put it to your workers.
Surveying your team before meetings allows you the opportunity to focus on the things that your team is concerned about and address those issues first. By making each of your employees part of the regular conversation, you’ll always have your finger on the pulse of what you should be focusing on next.
It’s a tough market for small businesses, but they’re also more important to the economy than ever. As big businesses work to cover their losses and stay afloat in these difficult times, it’s time for your company to step in and start tackling the big projects you’ve always hoped to.
Read more from Small Biz Trends