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Ade Olabode: Small Business Owner, Be Smart & Get the Basics Right



dreamstime_l_33044468Get the basics right.

Sometimes this is all that matters. Not just in life, but in running your small business. As someone who writes regularly on issues affecting small business owners, I’m frequently asked ‘how can I be better in my business’, my answer is usually along the lines of ‘Get the basics right’.

What this simply means is that you create the necessary foundation and structure for your team to reach its full potential. Starting and growing a business is hard. Making it sustainable and profitable is even harder.

That’s why it’s so super important that you give your business the opportunity to stand a chance. The main benefits of getting the basics right are that it ensures you have a simpler, easier and repeatable way of running your business. The following are how you can achieve this:

Get Rid of the Paper-based System
There’s no excuse to run your business solely based on paper booklets, receipts, invoices etc. Why? Papers get lost, you need to remember to bring them with you, they can be easily tampered with, hard to reconcile, requires storage space etc. I could go on and on, but the point is that when your primary book of records and filing is paper based, it’s easy to make errors, difficult to collaborate, prone to damage/theft etc. That’s why loads of big businesses eliminate them whenever they can. There’s so much inefficiency in any business operating in this fashion; for every time things go right, it almost feels like a small miracle.

So what should you do?
Get a basic computer, tablet or even just a smart phone. As long your main record keeping system is not paper- based, you’re doing great.

Acquire Productivity Tools
Whether you run a fashion boutique, dental practice or hair and beauty salon, you can seek tools to be more productive and earn/save more money. That’s a huge incentive to invest a little, to acquire the tools to make you more efficient. It could be an excel template or software but the objective is the same.

For avoidance of doubt, I’m not advocating that you splash out on some expensive system/software! As a matter of fact, there loads of free tools out there. And for any that you may consider buying, definitely go for a free trial to ensure it meets your needs, before buying.

  • Common areas productivity tools usually help out are:
  • Sales: e.g. find out highest selling items
  • Manage inventory: e.g. know what’s left in stock
  • Customers: e.g. cater to your VIPs
  • Suppliers: e.g. most efficient supplier
  • Communication & collaboration: e.g. how to work better

So what should you do?
Well, one good thing you can do is to get software. Examples include; do you need collaboration for projects or teams? Check Prowork. Point-of-Sale and Inventory to run your small business? Check my startup PrognoStore. Accounting and Bookeeping? Check Freshbooks or Xero. There are so many good tools out there to make you better. Of course it might appear that cost is an issue, but trust me on this, it always works out cheaper in the long run!

Document Your Processes and Have Policies
I have written about this in the past that having your key processes documented and policies in place, is one of the ways you can prepare for the unexpected. This also helps you to standardise your product/services delivery, train your staff, delight your customers and ultimately make more profits.

So what should you do?
This is actually one that needs immediate action. Key  processes should have at least a one page document, listing out all the required steps to perform it. You can and should build on this but very important to start.

Speak to Your Peers
The last but certainly not the least, you should reach out and seek advice from your colleagues, contemporaries etc. There’s so much knowledge out there and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Find mentors, don’t be an island to yourself. You can learn from people’s mistakes but you have to learn to open up.

So what should you do? Reach out today. Start building your network. Find someone that you trust and can hold you accountable.

Now over to you small business owners, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Always available to participate and learn more.

P.S Don’t forget that you can still get the free 60 days offer to PrognoStore. PrognoStore is Point-of-Sale software for small business which helps you sell your goods/services, track your inventory and gain insight to run your business. It’s all you need to run your small business. Simply go to and enter Free4Bella for promo code to get 60 days free.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Papa Olabode is an adviser to small business owners. He's the co-founder & CEO of PrognoStore (, the Point-of-Sale Software for small businesses. PrognoStore is a 3-in-1 solution as it combines point-of-Sale, Inventory and Analytics to be all you need to run your store. He's a chartered accountant and has previously worked at Deloitte, Credit Suisse and co-founded HGE Capital. Follow on Twitter @papaolabode


  1. taiwo

    February 11, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Please am thinking of starting a new small food business around where I work because I notice that we dont have a proper joint to eat things like amala, pounded yam, semo and the likes, which I intent to start soon. but my fears is I wont have time to be around 24-7 because of the kind of job I do (banker), I will like to put a proper payment method so dat money is not stolen by members of staff but I dont know how to go about it,can you assist please?

  2. teec

    February 11, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    HI Taiwo, i will advice you stay around for a while , build a connection with your customers and train one of your staff to manage the business for you. let the person know he/she will be held accountable if anything goes wrong.

  3. Ada

    February 11, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    please explain this prognostore to me. i tried to signup but didnt really understand it

    • Ade

      February 11, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      Hey thanks for the interest, Its a software that helps you sell, manage invetory and provides reports to know what’s going on in your business. Pls feel free to send me email at [email protected] if any more questions. Thx

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