Tips for small business owners
The day-to-day tasks of running a small business can become stressful and if you aren't equipped to deal with the different problems, you will have a hard time running your small business. Here are some of the problems you will run into and the things you can do to overcome them:
Problem # 1 - Marketing
One of the challenges many small businesses face is marketing their business. Most small business owners stick to a couple of things like direct mail advertising campaigns and newspaper ads but they don't branch out far beyond that. To help you market your small business, you need to break out of your small box and start looking beyond your current customer base. Even though you may be a small mom and pop organization it is important to start expanding your customer base. Look into online marketing as this will show your audience that you are keeping up with technology. A web site is the best marketing tool you will have at your disposal and you need to use it often. Place your web site on your business card and on every single ad that goes out the door. The more you advertise your site, the more exposure you will get and you can start generating online sales. Don't forget about using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to your audience. These may be designed for a social aspect, but they provide excellent opportunities to network with your customers and to build strong relationships with them.
Problem # 2 - Cash-flow issues
Quite often small businesses run into cash flow problems because they just don't push their customers to pay their bills and they end up spending money they don't have. If you know you have customers that are slow to pay their bills, shorten the payment dates and start adding interest if they are not paying on time. You may need to consider using a Factoring company to help you with your cash flow problems. They will purchase your past due invoices and deal with the collections process and give you up to 90% of the total invoice amount. It's a wonderful way to gain money you need now to pay for your expenses. Contact your vendors and negotiate different payment terms with them. If they currently have you on a Net 30 invoice term, talk to them about expanding that to a Net 60 or Net 90 term. This way it gives you a little extra time to collect the money from your customers so you can pay your vendors. You also need to be weary about buying too much. Sure it's nice to have the latest equipment, but if you can't afford it, don't buy it. Wait until you have the money to afford things or consider buying used or refurbished equipment.
Problem # 3 - Employees
A common problem will run into is dealing with your employees. There will be times when you have a staff full of hard-working individuals and times when you have employees that just don't care about the business. They will show up late, leave early, and come into the office with a bad attitude. One toxic employee can destroy the working environment for everyone else. Dealing with so many different personalities and finding a way to get them on the same page will be one of your biggest challenges. You will have your ups and downs with employees, but as long as you are setting the example for them and showing them who is boss, you will have an easier time gaining their respect and finding people that want to see your business succeed.