How our economy is doing right now depends on who you talk to, and that’s probably truer than ever before. Ours is a nation divided and, whatever you believe about our current successes and failures, small businesses are more prone to market upsets and fluctuations. At the same time, owning a small business can be one of the most rewarding experiences, especially if you’re one of those people who really doesn’t enjoy working for “the man”. So how do you stay afloat? Read on for tips on how to keep your small business thriving this year.
Outshine and Outsmart the Competition
This is Business Survival 101. While there are surely going to be periods in which there is room for the both of you in the marketplace, there are inevitably going to be times when there aren’t. 2018 is going to be all about getting ahead, so you need to diligently research your competitors. Take note of what they’re doing right and wrong, analyze this, and use this information to make their customers your customers.
Keep the Customers You Have
Just like snagging customers from your competition, you want to ensure your own customers don’t make the leap. Don’t put all your eggs into the basket of getting new customers. To keep sales on the rise, you need them to be dedicated to your business. From offering loyalty programs and top notch customer service, to prompt response times and unbeatable pricing, the ways to retain a customer are seemingly endless.
Continue to Leverage Social Media
Marketing costs money and, although it’s often money well spent, it’s usually the first thing to go when times get lean. If you are trying to make some cuts and Marketing is one area that is about to get leaner, then you need to arm yourself with the knowledge of how to handle your own social media. Without it, you will lose—it’s that simple. You don’t have to be a social media guru but you do need to create a consistent calendar (or have someone else do this) that follows the best practices for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. It’s an incredibly inexpensive way to reach followers with information about the company, your offers, and your industry. You might think that providing informative articles and blog posts isn’t your job, but adding value to the users’ lives is what will keep them coming back.
Keep the Cash Flowing
The fact that you need cash to keep your business afloat is a no-brainer, but keeping that cash flowing isn’t the easiest thing to do. As this article By TheBalance.com notes, the best ways to do this are: using cash flow management tools, renegotiating contracts, taking action to expedite payment, extending payment terms with suppliers to keep the cash in your own pipeline longer, reviewing the credit histories of clients, and staying on top of cash flow projections.
Once you’ve spent a good amount of time setting your goals, you should work on branding. This isn’t just for large corporations. Find out what your company stands for and how you want to portray it. From that point forward, everything you put out by way of emails, social media posts, and other marketing materials should reflect and further this brand. While you are always welcome to add new skill sets and products, these should be consistent with what you’ve already presented. It’s okay to diversify as long as you don’t stray too far outside your core competencies.
Be Meticulous with Your Company Records
Not only will keeping flawless records enable you to analyze your successes and failures, but it will also help you present these records if/when you need to. Hire a company like Community Tax during the tax season so you’re fully taking advantage of the current laws that are in favor of your small business. File all the receipts you’ll need so your tax professional can maximize your deductions.
There’s no denying that what 2018 will bring for business is a bit uncertain. Follow these tips on how to keep your small company thriving and you’ll be able to weather whatever the future has in store.