Small business tips and tricks to help your company thrive
You might be the world’s most proficient blogger, photographer, or cupcake shop, but your small business will eventually suffer the consequences if you lack business sense. Of course, due diligence must come first. First, obtain the necessary permits and licenses, then get incorporated and provide a value-added and legitimate product or service. And just like that, you’re a business owner. At least on paper. Actually keeping a business running, making money, employing people, and succeeding – now that’s a different story.
Certainly, it won’t be easy. You’ll run into roadblocks that can create big problems for your company if you overlook critical administrative tasks like proper accounting or maintaining relationships with your best vendors and suppliers. Today, the top reasons new businesses fail include a lack of marketing strategy, having no plan for how to scale the business to meet growing demand, offering a poorly conceived product or service, and/or not reading the marketplace correctly.
Did you know that according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), approximately a fifth of all startup businesses fail within the first year? It is imperative that small business owners pay very close attention to the fundamentals. This is how they’ll not just survive but thrive. That’s why we came up with your essential small business tips and tricks guide.
1. Practice proper organization techniques
It is critically important that small business owners stay organized, especially in the current business environment. There is too much competition out there to lose market share because you aren’t properly keeping track of your books or other vital business records.
2. Ensure proper recordkeeping
Proper documentation, time management, and automating repeatable tasks can mean the difference between success and growth and contraction or bankruptcy. That’s why it is so important to keep accurate records of your business finances.
What does that mean in practice? Here is an example: Businesses conduct transactions every day. They could be customer billing transactions or transactions between the business and a vendor or partner. Each record of those transactions, no matter the type. Ensure your business accounts are separate from your personal accounts and keep a close eye on your cash flow and bottom line. Keep copies of all invoices, cash receipts and cash payments to ensure proper bookkeeping. The last thing you want to do is pay taxes you otherwise might not have to.
3. Set deadlines and plan marketing campaigns
Are you one of those people who hates not being on time? If so, then be sure to set (and keep) deadlines. Hold yourself accountable to the deadlines you set and keep your calendar clear of clutter. Stay on top of administrative tasks using project management software — this lets you set deadlines, assign tasks to employees and upload documentation to a central repository.
Also, take a moment to plan your marketing ahead. Plan your social media campaigns in advance using social media scheduling software or hire a third-party vendor who can manage them for you. Use email marketing automation to follow up with new leads. And don’t hesitate to use Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams for quick communication with your team. If something can be explained in an email, you don’t need to have a meeting about it. This is the beauty of our new remote work paradigm.
4. Automate your operation
Automating repeatable tasks saves time and ensures you aren’t wasting time on repetitive things. Did you recently meet a prospective client at a networking event? If so, consider using a CRM tool to automatically follow up with new contacts. Just make sure you do it within 24 hours or send emails to new leads who visit your website. And finally, consider accounting software to handle menial accounting tasks and use accounting software to automate your day-to-day bookkeeping so you don’t waste time on data entry.
Do you run an online store or otherwise sell your products and services on the internet? Save abandoned shopping carts by sending an automated email to nudge shoppers to complete their purchases. If you don’t use payroll software, learn how to automate payroll management in Excel. Can’t offer 24/7 customer support? Set up a chatbot on your website to respond to customer queries outside of business hours.
5. Ensure your website is clean and modern
Your website is the online representation of your business. If it does not look good, it will not reflect well on your company. If people discover your products and services on your website, then how will you sell them if your website is not adequate?
Use high-quality images instead of stock photos and hire a professional to take photos of all your products. Also, write thorough product descriptions — focus on product benefits, highlight key features and, where possible, tell a story.
Are you ready to level up your operation? Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way. Otherwise, for first-rate community banking services contact your friends at First Utah Bank.