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Small business resources: an important first step


Here’s a question that can be surprisingly hard to answer: what are small business resources? One simple answer might be that it is anything which a business needs in order to function, to excel or to flourish. Seen in this way, any of your business assets could be seen as resources, but so could much besides. If you have never put much thought into this, you are definitely not alone.

But you might be surprised at what a turn-around you can cause in your business by simply focusing on the matter of small business resources: what are they? Are some more important than others? How can you avoid wasting them? Where do they come from? Answer these, and you are well on your way to a stronger and more resilient business.

Defining small business resources

In one respect, small business resources are anything (or anyone) which helps a business to do what it does. This particularly broad definition does, you will notice, include mostly everything – and that is really the point. Much of the poor business management that we see today is a result of a lack of attention to detail. You need to make sure that you are focusing on every resource in your business.

Only then can you be sure that you are doing everything you can to keep your business going strong – and that is what really matters. Having the patience to pay attention to all of your small business resources will definitely benefit your business in the long run.

That being said, there must surely be certain small business resources which take precedence over others? Of course there are, and a secondary important consideration here is that a business owner should know how to prioritize the business’ assets. With a clear priority in place, it is much easier to know what to do with the individual resources – and which ones you don’t need to worry about so much. So which resources might prove to be particularly important?

Top small business resources

Regardless of the nature of your business, there are certain resources which are likely to be particularly relevant to the way the business operates. It could be argued that the single most important resource for any business is its personnel – or to put it another way, its human capital.

Your people, in short, are your number one resource. This is true for the single-handed work-at-home entrepreneur, and it is true for the largest multinational corporations in the world. Without people, a business would simply not exist.

But people are not your only main resource. For most businesses, there is a lot to be said for the importance of ‘natural’ small business resources. Most businesses offer some kind of product as their main route of doing business. Well, clearly enough, your product is made up of natural resources, without which you would ultimately have nothing to place in the hand of your customer. So natural small business resources are likely to be a top resource as well. It’s not just your products, however. If there is any natural resource which all businesses couldn’t do without, it is paper.

Your people and the natural products which allow you to operate day by day are clearly central to your business. But what else? Surely there are certain small business resources which are not quite this vital, and yet allow your business to get much further than they would otherwise?

Tangible and intangible assets

As it turns out, that is exactly the case. Most of these next level of resources are what you would usually call assets. An asset, in simple terms, is anything that your business could reliably sell for cash. Assets come in two kinds: tangible and intangible. Obviously enough, a tangible asset is a real, physical thing. This includes your buildings, your stationery, any actual cash you might have, that sort of thing.

By contrast, an intangible asset is something you can’t directly see or touch, but still has inherent value. Your intellectual property falls under this category, as does the concept of labor. It is useful to know what an asset is, as it is one of your resources which has particular fluidity. You can buy and sell assets, and this can help your business grow at the right times. That can be very useful indeed.

Best practice for small business resources

It is clear that resources are important to your business. So what are some basic practices which can ensure that you look after yours as well as possible?

Caring for small business resources

You want to make sure that your resources are being used optimally if your business is to thrive. But how do you do that? The answer lies in how you approach your resources. One of the most central things is to make sure that you actually know exactly what resources your business has.

This might sound elementary, but many business owners are not fully aware of what they do or do not have in their business. So go ahead and make a list of all the resources in your business which might prove to be important (hint: that’s all of them). Once you have that list, you can start to think about what to do to make the most of them and keep them safe and secure.

Ultimately, this is all about keeping wastage as low as possible. A wasted resource essentially means that your business is not operating at its optimum level, so this is clearly something you want to avoid if you can at all help it. There is plenty you can do to keep wastage down to a minimum in your business, and indeed this is one of the first things that most entrepreneurs learn how to do. However, not all manage to put it into place quickly or efficiently.

One particularly useful method for reducing wastage in your business is to use automation. When used properly, automation can ensure that you are only using small business resources as and when they need to be used. For this to be effective, you will need to make sure that the automation process itself is as smooth-sailing and efficient as possible, and that in itself can take quite a lot of hard work and dedication.

A great golden rule is that the more information and data you have about a system — any system — the better an idea you have of how to improve its automation. That’s why industrial automation services are so useful for businesses to use; they ensure that your automated systems are doing what they need to do, as effectively as they possibly can. This, in turn, means much less wastage of your small business resources.

Automation is not the only way to reduce waste. If you have ever looked into the Six Sigma, you will know that there is plenty you can do to keep waste in your enterprise to an absolute minimum.

This might mean focusing on the more traditional sense of the word waste: reducing your use of natural resources and recycling where appropriate and possible. Or it could be a case of finding a way to keep your energy usage down. Let’s not forget, electricity is also a resource, and one which probably costs your business dearly when it is wasted. Focusing on as many of these areas as you can will ensure that you are doing everything in your power to keep your small business resources within your control.

Planning for a better approach to small business resources

We have seen that looking after your small business resources is important for a healthy business. But what are your options when some of these attempts ultimately fail? Despite your best efforts, you might well discover that, from time to time, you accidentally lose out on your small business resources. When this happens, it helps to have some kind of a plan of action in place. What should that plan look like?

Basically, you are looking at trying to limit future damage here. If it has become clear that your business has been wasting resources in some manner, the most important thing is to try and stop the flow. That means planning for the future, and ensuring that the same thing does not happen again if possible. Of course, in order to effectively draw up that plan, you will almost certainly need to look in detail at what exactly went wrong in the first place.

The closer an eye you have on your business and its small business resources, the more you will be able to gleam from what went wrong. The more you can work out at that point, the better you can plan for the future – and so stop the same thing happening. So become a detective in your own corporation – really try to get to the bottom of it.

Was the problem human error? Re-train, re-engage, re-hire. Mechanical fault or poor automation? Re-structure and look at other options. Whatever it is, you can be sure that there is a solution to be found, so don’t stop until you find it. You’ll be glad you persisted.


Your small business resources are your business’ lifelines. As long as you are focusing on them, taking care of them, your business will flourish. If not, it might well be a different story.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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