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It’s that time of year where you should be thinking about your business plan moving forward. What do you wish to accomplish in 2017? How are you going to expand your business?
Wasp Barcode Technologies, an American firm, recently surveyed more than a 1,000 small business and produced a report that shows some interesting challenges that many businesses are facing today. Over 50% of businesses say that hiring is their toughest challenge, followed by cash flow. One thing is for certain, and that is it’s tougher than ever before to fight against big business and overseas companies so we’ve compiled some ways to combat these difficulties.
Every person in your operation is critical. You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘you’re only as strong as your weakest link.’ It’s especially true in business. One poor performer can have major negative impact on your entire organization. That’s why it’s critical to hire amazing employees.
It’s especially important for small businesses because, while a bigger business can bare the brunt if an employee doesn’t work out, many small businesses can’t. It’s expensive to train and bring a new employee onboard.
According to some estimates, the total cost of onboarding can be up to three times the salary of the position, and it takes an average of 30 hours to find that person. With these challenges, it’s no wonder a lot of owners try to take short cuts and hire a quick fix—a person who often turns out to be wrong for the job.
It you’re planning on hiring somebody, you need to do it before it becomes critical. You don’t want to be hiring staring down the barrel of a shotgun. You should block off at least an hour a day to go through resumes, do phone screening, and interviews. The other option is to hire an outside HR consultant who can find the right person for you.
The number one reason small businesses fail is because they don’t understand cash flow. Cash flow requires adequate planning and oversight. Owners need to keep track of incoming and outgoing cash. It’s surprising that most small businesses don’t know where their money is going. To help create basic financial reporting you might consider using a program like QuickBooks, or even a simple spreadsheet is better than nothing. You should also create and examine a Profit & Losses statement. While it’s good to look in the past at sales reports, they don’t always predict future outcomes. Most businesses don’t look towards what are called Lead Measures. According to the book ‘4 Disciplines of Execution’ these are both predictive and influential goals. For example, a Lead Measure goal could be looking at your inventory and keeping a certain bestselling item in stock.
Marketing is key for any business, no matter how big or small. In 2017, it’s going to be even more crucial as competition is going to get tougher. (And you thought that wasn’t possible.) You’ll need a great brand strategy to ensure you can differentiate yourself from, say, that company in China that can do it for cheaper. We can’t emphasize this enough: you need to make it a priority. When you start your own business, there is no guidebook on how to promote your business—not that it would do you any good with the constant changing in technology. Marketing is becoming more difficult to keep up with than ever before.
However there are plenty of resources to help you. A lot of companies offer marketing training. Basic Bananas is one example of a great company that teaches you how to promote yourself. They have excellent one-day workshops to get you started.
You should also read trustworthy blogs. There are many great online resources that cater to your specific niche. Do a little digging and find out what they are.
You should also create a marketing plan that includes your target audience and measurable goals. If you can’t do it all yourself, hire a marketing company to handle your workflow for you. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment. Do your research and find an agency that fits your budget, understands your brand, and helps you achieve those goals.
As a small business owner, you face many distinct challenges that large corporations don’t. You must be on top of your business. You must be agile. Otherwise your competition will take your clients. Focus on your advantages and leverage them in ways that your competition can’t.
If you have any questions about how to market yourself, please contact us HERE