According to entrepreneur.com over 95% of businesses in the United States are small businesses (less than 100 employees). Running a business is not for the faint-of-heart. If you’re a business owner, you already know that there is a lot depending on you to keep things working smoothly. When it comes to what you should and shouldn’t be doing for your business, you need to be the expert. To help out, we’ve compiled a list of five things that could kill your business, and how you can avoid each one:
Poor management skills is a big problem because it can really hurt a small business. When you are running your own business, you are in charge of managing products/services, employees, finances, and more. That’s a lot to have on your plate! If you feel like you are lacking in the management department, try hiring someone with a good set of management skills to help you out. If you’re not in a position to hire, don’t worry! There are plenty of online and in-person management training classes and seminars you can enroll it. Try to find yourself a mentor who can give you helpful tips and advice, or look at the businesses around you and figure out what makes them succeed.
It’s important, when managing people, that you are up-front but kind. Nobody responds well to anger and feeling like they are “in trouble.” Instead, approach employee issues with respect and honesty. Show your employees how important your business is by the example you set. It’s a good idea to hold employee trainings/meetings each month to be sure everyone is on the same page.
When it comes to managing your finances and services, you are likely the one doing the bulk of the work. Don’t forget why you started your business, and be sure you’re focusing on what can be done to improve and make your business more valuable to customers. Be sure you’re staying on top of your finances and storing all of that data in an online platform that’s easily accessible, and does the work for you!
Poor Customer Service
Forbes.com says that your customers hold the keys to your business’ success, and they’re right!
Why would someone want to continue using a business where they feel they aren’t treated with fairness, honesty and friendliness? It’s absolutely necessary that you and your employees are displaying these behaviors when dealing with your customers. Poor customer service can come in many forms: obvious rudeness, lack of communication, taking too long to respond, shotty workmanship, and lack of concern. Don’t let your business fall into one of those categories just because of a bad day!
Some tips for staying on top of your customer service game, include:
- Responding within 24 hours (or sooner) of a customer reaching out to you.
- Having your employees trained on how to complete jobs in a timely and professional manner.
- Responding to customer concerns with kindness and honesty.
- Helping your customers by answering questions and keeping them in-the-know about what work is being done.
- Being friendly and charismatic with each and every customer you meet.
Poor Financial Management
This is a big one! Not everyone is an accountant, but good news— you don’t have to be! Poor financial management is a big deal when it comes to running a business. If you don’t know where your finances are going, what’s coming in, and what needs to be paid, you will really be hurting. Check out this infographic by smallbiztrends if you want to see just how detrimental poor financial management is for any business!
How can you escape the doom of poor financial management? Luckily for you, there are lots of things you can do! The first step is to use professional accounting software (like FreshLime) to help you track all of your spending and revenue data. You really cannot thrive, as a business, in today’s world without that. It’s far cheaper than hiring your own personal accountant (who would likely use that software anyway), and it really does the managing for you. That being said, don’t be afraid to seek help and advice from a tax advisor or CPA when you feel like you are really struggling with your finances. Another thing you can do to ensure that you are managing your finances correctly is to pay close attention to your budget, and stay within your means. Don’t try to grow your business too large too quickly. More likely than not, that will backfire.
No Online Presence
It’s 2017, everyone is online! Your business NEEDS to be online, too. You should have a website, Facebook page, Google+ Profile for you business, as well as other online listings and profiles. Businessknowhow.com did a whole article on this topic, letting us know that over 88% of the population of the United States regularly uses the internet. If you aren’t there, how could your business succeed? Simply put, your competitors are online, and you need to be there, too. If you aren’t sure where to start, there are plenty of free tutorials and how-tos when it comes to setting up your online presence. A website doesn’t have to be costly, either, as there are free platforms where you can get started.
If you have a marketing budget, which you really should, this would be a good place to start spending it. Hire the experts to create an SEO-optimized website for your business, and get your business listed throughout various online outlets! You won’t regret letting your business get some free advertising online, while also staying in the competition.
Inability to Show Value
You know your business is valuable, and you know that you offer a service that people likely aren’t able to do for themselves. This should be communicated! If your prices are competitive with those around you in the same industry, you won’t be able to show your value to very many consumers. Once you do book a job, be sure your work shows that you are the expert, you know what you’re doing, and you want to help make a difference for your customers. Develop an approach that nobody can compete with. Let your customers know right off the bat what sets you apart from the competition, and why they should choose you. Your business is valuable, and people need to see that!
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!