Administration could be defined as getting the right things done – not all things, but the right things. That means planning the structure of your business and putting systems in place to identify the right things. Your small business could definitely benefit if you are clearly aware of the specifics of administration.
One way of seeing it is as a lubricant that keeps things moving in the right direction. To keep things from breaking down and coming to a stop.
The core of a business is making a product or rendering a service and marketing it to prospective customers. As a small business person, you might have to attend to these yourself.
To attend to these core functions, however, you would have to attend to numerous things – some of them directly concerned with the core activities and some incidental to running the business.
Whether direct or incidental, unless the essential things are properly attended to, the small business could come to a stop. It is this attending to the essential activities that we call administration.
Administration begins by identifying all the “essential” activities – both core and incidental. For example, complying with government regulations is essential, even though it does not contribute directly to production or marketing. If not attended to, your small business could be in big trouble.
Administration is also concerned with making plans and monitoring performance against these plans. If these are not done, you would not know where your small business is going – to growth or ruin.
Administration is further concerned with motivating your people to work whole-heartedly towards achieving business goals. Things must be so arranged that employee goals are met if the person contributes to the business’ goals.
Administration is next concerned with protecting the company’s assets. Premises and equipment should be maintained in good repair, materials and tools should be safeguarded against damage and pilferage, dues to the business should be collected before they become bad.
Another important administrative task is maintaining excellent communication, both internal and external. Messages and instructions should be communicated effectively to employees. Employee views and grievances should in turn reach managers. It is the role of administration to install effective systems for such two-way communication.
And facilities for external communication, both marketing and general, should keep pace with changing technology. Sticking to postal communications in an age of email and online communications could degrade your competitiveness, for example. Computers, phone, fax, tele and video conferencing, all must be used where necessary for business success.
Administration could indeed play a key role in your small business success. Just ensure that your administrative systems are tailored to the specific situation in your small business.
Small Business and Internet
The emergence of Internet as a marketplace has transformed the competitive situation for small businesses.
To reach world markets, it is no more necessary to set up expensive branch offices. Instead, create a web site for your business, incorporate order and payment facilities at the site, and promote the site effectively. All these tasks could be done inexpensively compared to the cost of setting up overseas offices.
Even domestic business could be done using a Web shop. No more is it necessary to hire expensive space in the central business district. Use your garage to store your merchandise. And UPS or Fedex for delivering it.
Small Business from a Reclusive Place
Are you the kind of person who dreams of getting away from it all? Of going to some far away corner near, say, the sea or some green forest? A secluded place with only a few dwellings spread out widely?
And combining this seclusion with a small business that earns you some money?
With the arrival of the Internet, this need not remain a dream. Provided your small community has phone connectivity. And you have a credit card or other means of paying and receiving money remotely.
There is a business called Drop Shipping. In Drop Shipping, the merchandise is stocked, shipped (and any returns handled) by the manufacturer or a wholesaler called the Drop Shipper.
You enter into an agreement with the Drop Shipper to promote their product. And then go ahead to promote it effectively usually through a Web site or e-mails. Any orders received by you are passed on immediately to the drop shipper who executes them in your name (and address).
You collect the cash from the customer and pays the drop shipper at wholesale prices. The difference between the price you charge and the wholesale price is yours to keep.