In today's business world, the size of a business doesn't really matter when it comes to the need for proper management. As a young entrepreneur, a good knowledge of what management entails will allow you think strategically and conceptually in order to ensure the survival and growth of your startup.
Management is not just about telling others what to do. There's more to effective management than playing boss. It is the process of reaching organizational goals by working with and through people and other organizational resources. Therefore, as the manager of your business, you're tasked with ensuring that your business hits its targets by carrying out several functions including planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Your understanding of these functions goes a long way in determining your effectiveness as a manager. Let us take a look at each of these managerial functions and see how they all come together to ensure success.
1. Planning: This is the first of the four managerial functions and it involves creating a detailed action plan with a goal or several goals in mind. If you have developed a good business plan as discussed in a previous post, many of the elements below are already in the plan.
- In management planning, the first step is to identify the specific business goals you're looking forward to achieving, e.g increasing sales by 35% over a twelve month period.
- The next step is to identify the resources needed to achieve the goals. The resources could be financial or human. Going with our example of increasing sales, you may need to make projections on how many sales personnel you require and the cost of reaching the goal.
- Other planning activities include establishing goal related tasks (e.g. Hiring more people), creating a timeline for carrying out tasks and establishing methods of evaluating your progress. Also, it is important that you have a contingency plan - this will cushion the effect of unforeseen circumstances.
2. Organizing: This function follows planning and is probably the most critical managerial function because it determines how well a plan is carried out. In carrying out this function, you need to determine how you will distribute resources and organize your team according to the plans you have laid out. Organizing involves assigning tasks, grouping tasks into departments, the assignment of authority and allocating resources. For example, as the manager of a tailoring shop, your team could be split into groups according to specific tasks assigned to them, e.g drawing of patterns, embroidery, alterations, delivery, etc. You would then allocate resources to each of these groups as necessary. You could also delegate authority to a supervisor. The organizing process usually results in an organizational structure which refers to the type of framework a company uses to determine how the roles, power and responsibilities are assigned, controlled and coordinated, and the manner in which information flows through the organization.
3. Leading: leading is the use of influence to motivate employees and team members to achieve organizational goals. As a manager, you should be able to make your team want to take part in achieving your business goals. This function involves communicating the vision of your business and influencing workers to engage in correct work behaviors that will ensure that the overall goals and targets are met. It is important that you lead by example. This could be by coming to work on time yourself so that they are motivated to do the sane; treating customers and team members with respect, being honest, etc.
4. Controlling or Monitoring and Evaluating : To keep your business on the right track, it is very important that you monitor the progress of every aspect of your business and take corrective action on a timely basis. That is what the controlling function of a manager is about. Controlling ensures that the conversion of resources is done efficiently and meets quality standards with minimal wastage. As a manager, you need to compare the actual outcome of a plan of action to the expected outcome in order to see if your goals are being met and to take corrective actions where necessary. Going back to our tailoring example, the controlling function could involve checking actual returns against expected returns, checking if sewing materials are being utilized efficiently, comparing customer satisfaction and the number of garments returned by irate customers due to defects and taking corrective measures to avoid a repeat occurrence, etc.
These four functions could be seen as a process where each step builds on the others. Proper planning and organizing will help you lead your team and evaluate outcomes effectively. The fact that these functions need to be carried out properly and ethically cannot be overemphasized. The success of your business depends heavily upon your managerial capabilities. Good managment is a skill we can all acquire. It is common sense and not rocket science.