SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN A FRAGILE ECONOMY
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly intensified small business challenges around the country, regardless of size, location or financial backing. Whilst many of these enterprises have unfortunately had to clos their doors , a number have found innovative ways to succeed. From expanding into new markets to find different ways to deliver their products, solutions and services.
Here we provide you with 5 tips on how to effectively keep your business on track, while while growing your operation in a tough economy.
- CREATE A BUSINESS TOOLKIT
There are many tools which are specific to certain tasks and industries. But when it comes to HR, administration, support, sales and marketing there are few tools every small business should have to achieve business goals. They can help you manage information on customers and prospects, send invoices, collect funds, encourage your employees to collaborate and effectively market your concern.
Here are a few tools you need for your business tool kit.
- Business Plan
A clear and concise business plan is the blueprint of your operation. The process of writing your business plan will highlight where your business has been, and where it is headed, ultimately giving it the best opportunity to triumph. A business plan allows you to focus on the broad operational and financial objectives, as well as the smaller details such as budgeting and marketing planning. Careful budgeting will allow you to identify opportunities for investments into your business, such as automation., where the application of technology is used to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services. Remember, viable businesses are constantly evolving. Your business plan needs to be revised to align with your new goals.
- A Marketing Plan
A marketing plan will give your company a presence in the marketplace and build a solid client base. Marketing activities such as Facebook advertising, content marketing, direct marketing campaigns, webinars, collecting and publishing testimonials will go a long way keeping your business top of mind with existing and potential clients. There is no magic marketing plan, however, to grow your business into the future you need to decide which activities to engage in and stick to them diligently.
- CRM System
A Customer Relationship Management system assists in organizing existing client contacts and records of your business transactions with them. It allows for the input of contact information on a group of prospects and facilitates the process of qualifying them as eligible candidates for your products and services. Furthermore, a robust CRM system makes it possible to create a customized proposal for prospective clients thus allowing you to close the deal.
- Cloud Collaboration
The implementation of cloud tools for your business, including cloud-based accounting software packages and management systems such as access control and time and attendance are key to streamlining financial and staff management. These cloud-based tools provide easy access to real-time , and customized reports and allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of your business. Businesses are increasingly taking advantage of cloud-based collaboration. The “anywhere-access” of ingenious cloud technologies is increasingly offering great gain across all enterprises, big and small.
- KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
Understanding your customers, past and present, and their needs is a priority in growing your business. Ask !!! Why do they use your services? Why did they leave? How can you improve your service? What is the most important aspect of your service—price, quality or the user experience? Just by listening to your customers and what they are feeding back to you and your team will give you all the information you need to meet and exceed expectations.
Take yourself through the customer’s experience and use the information you have collected to WOW them Not only will this build long-term loyalty, but it is also an excellent way to procure new clients through positive word-of-mouth. Your customers provide the gateway to creation and innovation and they are pivotal in keeping ahead of your competition.
- KNOW YOUR COMPETITION
Competition is a healthy and vital part of operating a business. It should push you to stay on top of buying trends and gives you an opportunity to keep your unique selling propositions ahead of your competitor.
The most important things you should know about your competitors are the kind of competition they are, how they position themselves in the market, their pricing, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Learning about your business in relation to your competition will expand your understanding of your target audience and industry, allowing you to improve your business strategy.
- KEEP YOUR EYE ON INTERNAL OPPORTUNITIES
You staff need to be people who share your company’s vision and mission, are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and knuckle down. The words “this is not my job” should not exist in their vocabulary and a team with a ‘can do’ attitude will go a long way in growing your business.
Create brainstorming opportunities for your team so that they may offer their insights and ideas on how to nurture and grow your business. Never underestimate the people sitting right under your nose, that might have valuable business ideas that could springboard your business into the future.
- BALANCING GROWTH AND CASHFLOW
While striving for business growth, it increases business costs, frequently putting pressure on day-to-day business expenses. Loaning money can relieve some of the pressure, but it can create risk as well.
Bu sure to manage every element of working capital carefully to maximise free cashflow during growth periods. Balance the timing and amount of funds flowing into and out of the business with effective business practices, such as credit management, stock control and inventory management, as well as supply chain management. Be prepared for shortfalls if possible and predict ebbs and flows in your cash balance by preparing practical cashflow forecasts.
Through careful planning, you are better able to anticipate the financial needs of your company and arrange suitable funding to grow your business without high risk.
Article supplied by Eezypay Management Systems which is a proud member of the NSBC (National Small Business Chamber)