Part One: Cash Flow and Leads
Statistics show that small businesses in the U.S. today employ around 58.9 million people, which is half of the entire workforce in the country. Those are big numbers, and your business is part of them, too. In a sea of millions, you are bound to face some challenges.
But, what good is it if we only identify your pain points and offer no solutions?
Exactly. Here are the most common challenges small businesses face and how to overcome them in 2020.
#1 Cash Flow
Unless Bill Gates is your relative, you most probably have cash flow problems. Your business isn’t an independent unit, which means you rely on your suppliers to supply, employees to work, clients to pay, etc. A simple delay in that chain can halt your cash flow and leave you out of money and out of a job.
Managing your finances does not require a degree in Accounting, but it does warrant being strict with your expenses.
If you have an accountant, all you need to do is keep track of the monthly reports, check the cash that comes in, and all the cash that goes out of your business (including the dates).
If you don’t have an accountant, you will have to make those reports yourself. Write down where all the money goes and when.
Look for patterns.
- Are your vendors frequently late to supply you? — Discuss sanctions for delays or look for others who will be on time.
- Is it a problem that clients pay you after the service? — Maybe you can change the terms to 50% upfront and 50% after the service to balance your cash flow.
- Is it a staffing problem? — If you are understaffed, you can hire part-timers or pay overtime for your current employees in case getting new people is a problem. It is an extra expense, but it will enable you to do the job that you would otherwise fail to complete.
#2 Getting New Clients
Competition drives small businesses to “fight” for every single client, and you may be on the losing side of that fight. When your current client base is insufficient to keep you afloat, it’s time to get actionable.
If you are currently only relying on word of mouth to spread the word about your business and keep new clients coming, you are putting all your eggs in one basket. What if someone is advertising their business better than you?
- Make a website. Maybe your current clients aren’t going on their computers to find a landscaper, but your new ones are. You can’t get new leads if you yourself aren’t doing something new.
- Make profiles in online directories.
- Consider turning to an online advertising company. Service packages don’t usually cost much but can bring many new leads every day.
#3 Diversifying Your Client Base
Take a good look at your clients. Make a list if you don’t have one already. If there are one or two clients who are responsible for more than half of your income, you are in trouble. Imagine these clients suddenly decide to go to some other company. You will find yourself struggling to make ends meet.
- Find new clients (as discussed above).
- Offer better deals to your other existing clients.
- Discuss long-term commitment with the big client/s. You can negotiate longer contracts with better conditions, so you can have peace of mind they won’t drop you in the next year or so.
#4 Finding New Employees
Unless you are a solopreneur or a home-run business (or both), you will need to hire people to work for you. It is a common problem in the U.S. today that small businesses face many challenges when hiring people. The cost of hiring someone new keeps rising. Those costs can be things like equipment, taxes, benefits, bonuses, office space, training, the list is long. Basically, everything that this employee will need to do their job.
And then comes the problem of finding the right employees.
- Keep your costs per employee optimized by keeping track of the expenses and how they can be minimized.
- Make sure you hire people when necessary. Expanding your business starts with a business plan. Chaotically taking in new people and then starting to plan and organize the expansion is the wrong order of doing things.
- Ask for referrals. When it’s time to hire new employees, reach out to your colleagues in the industry, as well as people you know and trust who may refer possible workers. Picking up the phone and asking for advice will cost you nothing, and it can save you so much time and money.
- Spread the news through your social media and website.
- Post job openings online.
- Turn to a recruitment company if all else fails. We say “if” as this is a paid service, and it still doesn’t promise great results, but it is an option nonetheless.
#5 Staying Passionate
Many say you should love what you do. That is not always possible, but you should at least be passionate about it. It is more crucial than ever these days to put heart as well as labor into your product/service. Otherwise, the quality of your offering suffers, and it can inspire your clients to seek other businesses.
Passion sometimes comes from knowing your trade better than others and constantly looking for ways to improve. Keep track of what’s happening in the industry and apply it to your product/service.
It’s no secret that small businesses have many pain points in the present day. Increased competition, picky clients, and delayed payments are just some of them. When it comes to finding new clients and increasing your profits, you may find it easier to turn to a professional online marketing team. They have the experience and know-how to bring the leads right to your doorstep!
What are you still waiting for?
Advertising your business online is a must if you want to stay competitive.