13 Best Practices for Building Solid Small Business Operations

small business operations

Running and scaling a business will always be challenging. But having a solid foundation of smoothly operating practices underlying your company can make it much easier.

To find out how successful entrepreneurs were building their operations, we asked 13 founders from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“As a business owner, what do you feel is most important when it comes to building solid small business operations?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Setting Team Expectations

“Setting proper team expectations and accountability has become one of the most impactful things to my business. Twice a month we bring all managers and executives together for a big meeting to discuss each department and their accomplishments and challenges. It is also a time for other departments to give feedback to management. At the end of these meetings, everyone leaves with follow-up tasks.” ~ David Schwartz, EMMDeavor (DBA Qruber) & Wireless Watchdogs

2. Managing Without Ego

“Many CEOs, COOs and executive level staff have various methods that they swear are the best ways of doing things. But what many people don’t take into account is that there are other variables at work, such as the dynamics of the company and the people within it. Solid operations come from management who can admit when their systems are failing and are willing to change to improve.” ~ Travis Steffen, Cyber Superpowers

3. Having a Clear Process

“Having a clear process that every team member understands is extremely important. When a task needs to be completed, there is a clear funnel and order of operations that must be followed. This improves efficiency and reduces the chance of fumbling information and having things slip through the cracks.” ~ Michael Quinn, Yellow Bridge Interactive

4. Creating a Foolproof Foundation

“You have to start at the very base of your business in order to build a successful enterprise from it — and for me that is having a solid core team. I try to look at the first couple of people I hire when assembling a new business as a new family of people that will take me to the next chapter of an awesome life. They need to share my ambition and drive to accomplish.” ~ Rob Fulton, Matikis

5. Soliciting Feedback From Your Team

“To build a solid set of processes for your business a lot has to align. But the bigger you scale, the more you’ll likely need to delegate. So how does a business owner stay efficient when the day to day may be further away from the core operations? It’s important to gather feedback from your team often to make sure you’re addressing inefficiencies and constantly improving as you grow.” ~ Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

6. Keeping Everything Transparent

“Yeah, I know it’s a buzz world. But I truly believe in the power of transparency to build solid operations. Cross-checks, social collaboration tools and breaking down silos are all ways to ensure that each operation is optimal for my unique business needs. Across levels and departments, operations should be communicated, tested and approved.” ~ Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

7. Documenting Your Processes

“If you are able to provide clear and concise documentation for your team, it leaves very little room for things to be miscommunicated. It also leaves little room for your team to not know what to do or for them to be confused. These are the biggest time wasters in an organization. Documentation makes it easier to onboard new employees and saves your business from being reliant on any one person.” ~ Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

8. Building for the Future

“Although it’s important that systems and processes address today’s pain points for your business, it’s much more imperative that they are built to handle changes that could be coming years down the road. You have to look ahead and plan for all plausible changes in your business to ensure the operations you’re building do not become quickly outdated.” ~ Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

9. Keeping the 3 P’s in Mind

“Marcus Lemonis of CNBCs show “The Profit” always says it, and it’s on point. Building a solid operation is all about the three P’s: Process, people and product. Build your operation to flow and operate well with that and you’ll have a successful business.” ~ Pablo Palatnik, ShadesDaddy.com

10. Using Data-Driven Decision Making

“Typically, operations is a complex initiative and involves various stakeholders. Additionally, there are various external conditions impacting outcomes. It is very important to maintain an objective view into how efficient your operations are. And the place to start is data collection. Data driven decision making should not be an afterthought.” ~ Ashish Rangnekar, BenchPrep

11. Choosing the Right People

“No one person is going to be be the best at everything. It all comes down to choosing the right person and personality type for each role so that no one is doing tasks that they resent. Forget coaching weaknesses and focus on leveraging strengths and passions. Then watch everything fall into place.” ~ Amanda Aitken, Girl’s Guide Courses with Amanda Aitken

12. Providing Excellent Customer Service

“Provide the best customer service you can. That is the most important thing you can do. You will at some point have a dissatisfied customer, but how you handle it will give you a solid reputation in your industry.” ~ Amanda Barbara, Pubslush

13. Owning the Operation From Start to Finish

“Hire someone to own the operation from start to finish. This person should be obsessed with the details, the metrics, the numbers. They should be elated when they hit their goal and inspired to do better when they miss it. They need to eat, sleep and breathe it.” ~ Phil Dumontet, DASHED

Team Photo via Shutterstock

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.