Many business owners experience times when they struggle to stay afloat.
Running a business, particularly in its early days, can weigh you down with an endless stream of responsibilities and problems that require your undivided attention.
Keeping all these plates spinning can be an exhausting task, especially when it’s your livelihood at stake. When there are so many jobs to do, it can be hard to know where to start.
The constant pressure to improve and grow your business can feel overwhelming and things can get on top of you fast.
If you’re feeling like this, the best course of action is to get started on one thing.
Focus on an area that will improve your business. This will help get the ball rolling and begin the process of pushing your business back in the right direction. Once you tick one problem off the list, and then another, your path to success will start to feel less daunting.
To kickstart the process, here’s six areas where you can improve your business today.
Planning your business is a non-negotiable.
A business plan is what gives you direction and keeps you on track as your business grows.
Making sure your business plan is clear and up to date is an important step before undertaking anything else. It will help you prioritise what’s important and let you know where you should be directing your time and attention.
Has the market changed? Are you gaining customers? Will you need to hire more staff? These are all questions that need to be constantly revisited and updated along your journey.
Importantly, you will need an effective business plan in order to apply for any finance. Banks and investors want to know why they should invest in your business, so make sure your plan is thorough and impressive.
Effectively managing your cash flow is what will ultimately ensure the long term survival of your business.
Your cash flow will dictate your ability to pay expenses, hire staff and maintain the direction of your business. Many business owners fail to plan and control their cash flow which restricts their spending decisions.
The following are all ways that can boost your access to capital:
- Invoicing customers straight away
- Encouraging customers to pay as early as possible
- Examining and adjusting your current expenditure
- Selling unnecessary assets
- Reviewing your current lending structure
Accountants will be one of your most valuable resources so lean on them when you can. We will be able to work through the movement of your money and help forecast your cash flow.
If you’re feeling suffocated by a lack of funds at your disposal, revisiting your cash flow can make a huge difference.
Is the customer service you provide as good as it could possibly be?
It’s one of the most important questions every business owner needs to be asking themselves.
When a business is failing to attract new customers, they will often choose to throw money at marketing and lead generation rather than looking for internal solutions. If your existing customers aren’t fully satisfied with the experience you provide, then sourcing new ones will only be a temporary and expensive solution to the problem.
You customers are the reason you exist so give them a reason to come back.
Answering the following questions can help tell you whether your customer service needs improvement:
- Do I prioritise my clients before everything else?
- Am I present and available to all of my customers?
- Do my customers believe my product or service is good value?
- Do I offer the same level of service to every customer?
- Are all my staff trained to offer excellent customer service?
- Have I enabled constant feedback channels with my customer?
Building a foundation of happy customers is necessary for setting up the long-term success of your business.
Although tax is usually low on the agenda for business owners, it can be one of their largest expenses.
As your business grows, so will the tax you are liable to pay. Minimising your tax liabilities is an essential part of protecting your cash flow and expenditure.
Suitable tax planning strategies require careful planning, budgeting and action, so seek trusted advice when you can. This is when your accountant will do their best work.
Your accountant will work with you to forecast your future profits, expenses and tax payments to reduce your tax bill and remain compliant with the law.
In the same way that investments can increase how much you earn, tax planning is an investment on how much you save.
So many businesses have a quality product or service to offer but don’t have the money or know-how to get out there.
Even for the smallest of businesses, effective marketing should always be a priority.
Regardless of your marketing budget, there are many simple ways that you can increase the visibility of your brand. These include:
- Developing or improving your website
- Getting your brand on social media and engaging with the online community
- Starting a email marketing campaign to speak directly to current and potential customers
- Improving your Search Engine Optimisation for better performance on sites like Google
- Posting blogs, videos or other content to your online platforms
- Joining local business groups
- Offering customers incentives to recommend your business to others
Marketing for small business will take time to see results and usually requires commitment to multiple marketing strategies. Be prepared to play the long-game and invest time into maintaining positive relationships with your existing customers.
A simple way to improve the overall performance and profitability of your business is to review and adapt your current pricing structure.
Supply and demand in your market will change over time so your pricing needs to be updated accordingly.
Research and plan where you want your business to sit in the market. This will give you an indication of where you should be pricing yourself against your competition.
If your customers consider your product or service superior to other options on the market, you have every right to ask higher prices.
Equally, if you are a new business struggling to build a customer base, pricing at the cheaper end of the market could be the best way of positioning yourself.
If your feeling overwhelmed, implementing a new pricing strategy can be a great way to immediately improve the performance of your business.