According to statistics from the Small Business Administration, only a third of employer institutions survive beyond ten years or more. This is a far cry from the preceding notion 50 per cent of businesses fail in their first year, but it is obvious starting a business comes with a complex array of challenges.As as an independent contractor representing Colonial Life, I am a small business myself and I also get to talk to a lot of small businesses as part of the work that I do. Research the best financial options for you Make sure you’re aware of all of the financing options out there, the pros and cons of each, if your business will qualify and how to apply. It’s tough for smaller businesses to build credit and provide financial figures needed to secure business loans to aid growth. Consulting with a financial expert on how best to keep your books, is highly valuable as it will differ from business to business. For example; some companies will want to reduce tax liability, whereas others will want to make their income more appealing to lenders. Put your customers first For a small business, every new client is important. As time passes you will start to build a solid customer base and will need to have a clearer overview of client relations. There are plenty of digital CRM programs and software that can help you manage all facets of your company and create insightful reports to show how successful your business has become and if the goals and deadlines are met. If you wish to go down a more traditional route, another solution is to hire a customer relationship manager to specifically keep track of all customer-related information and answer any of their questions. Keep to set targets Individual projections can affect the entire budget of your business if they are not met. For example, if you miss sales targets, you can disrupt cash flow and if your expenses are larger than expected in a certain area, you may drain working capital from paying bills. To avert missed targets, run a monthly budget variance analysis to check you’re on track with your budget. This will allow you to implement immediate changes if you spot a serious problem. Creating a KPI tracking dashboard will also allow you to have complete overview of your business performance and allow you to see which projects are running the most successfully. Make marketing a must Many small businesses start with small marketing budgets and don’t always know how best to implement schemes to achieve a maximum ROI. We’ve all heard the saying, “it takes money to make money”, but not every business will be in the position to spend large sums on advertising, equipment and additional employees. A great solution for small business owners is internet marketing. Utilising online platforms and social media means you are able to compete in the same arena as larger companies, without having to spend a fortune on traditional marketing and PR tactics, which may not be right for your business yet.
Read on the next page for details on negotiation tactics and also where split resources can play a role in your operations.Image: Shutterstock
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