The impact small and medium enterprises (SME) have on the US economy is robust, to say the least. According to a recent release of NIFB Small Business Economic Trends, overall optimism remained at one of its highest ratings in 43 years. With high expectations from small business owners, it's important to be aware of and knowledgeable about some of the immediate pain points that today’s small businesses face.
We’ve laid out some common road bumps that businesses face and how to overcome them:
Small business owners face many pressures on a daily basis. Some can be quick to make knee-jerk reactions to chase a profit, change sales tactics or even switch product. Instead, remain focused on what you do well and adhere to your sales strategy, employing technological solutions to automate basic tasks will help alleviate some of the daily business rigors.
Managing Cash Flow
Slim margins and limited resources will give even the most focused small business owner sleepless nights. Your goal should be to collect payment for your services or products before or soon after incurring the cost of production/delivery.
Train Your Customers – Note that payment is expected on your invoice receipt and deliver accordingly.
End of the Month – Do not suggest that waiting until the end of the month will be an option.
Anticipate Future Needs – Use past monthly income and cash flow statements to balance your sheets and calculate available cash. Attempt to project three or six months out.
Hiring and Retaining Staff
Hiring staff can be an ongoing challenge for any business, regardless of size, but hiring and retaining staff for a SME can be a significant problem for a business owner.
Freelance Consultants – Hiring a freelance worker to take on fixed-term projects or one-off deliverables could make more sense for a short-term business solution.
Hiring the Right People – When you are ready to bring on full-time staff, ensure that you take the time to make sure the person will be a fit for your business from a goals and vision perspective.
Listening to Your Customers
Customers are the key driver to your business’s success and long-term viability, so make sure you are listening to what they are saying. Pay just as close attention to what they like and don’t like about what you do.
Tailor Your Services – People will like certain products or services, so make sure you continue to deliver those to the best of your ability.
Customer Complaints – When a customer lets you know of a complaint, make sure you acknowledge their issue promptly and let them know you are working to rectify the situation. Letting a complaint go unaddressed will only snowball the issue.
Marketing Your Business
Regardless of how innovative or new your product or service is, it will not sell itself. The public needs to know you exist, so you need to craft a marketing plan.
Audience – Know who your target audience is and find out the best way to reach them.
Cost – Be sure to set aside some budget for marketing. You will be glad you did when you see those first conversions from your campaign.
When you are ready to start building the sales strategy that will have the public clamoring for your products and services, be sure to reference these sales promotions that will help boost your sales!