Many small businesses are barely hanging on while others have permanently closed their doors this year. If your small business is struggling to stay afloat, you’re not alone. But there is hope.
If you’re willing to put in the hard work, there are things you can do to improve your chances of success. This article will help you identify why your business may be at stake and it will provide 13 helpful tips to keep your business going.
Small Businesses Mistakes
Before discussing the tips, it’s important to understand some of the mistakes small businesses make to acknowledge why they’re struggling. One common mistake is not having a plan. Vague goals and a lack of planning can quickly lead to problems.
Another mistake is not knowing your target market. Some small companies fail to distinguish who their ideal customers are and what they’re looking for. Hence, they had a hard time marketing their business effectively.
Not having enough working capital, inconsistent monitoring of finances, or keeping track of inventory can also put your small business in a tough spot as these can lead to cash flow problems and difficulty covering expenses.
Recognizing the problems is often the first step to fixing them. With that in mind, here are 13 helpful tips for small businesses struggling to stay afloat:
1. Keep track of your inventory and monitor your finances closely
Since small businesses start with just enough capital to get by, it’s necessary to be mindful of where you are spending your money. Keep track of your inventory to know what you have on hand and can avoid overspending. Review your expenses and see if there are any areas where you can cut back. You should also monitor your finances closely to identify potential cash flow problems early on.
Staying organized doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking. Tracking your inventory and monitoring your finances can be easy with the right tools. Check out these amazing small business project management software to get started.
2. Find ways to save money
There are many ways to save money, but it will take some time and effort to find the ones that work best for your business. One way to save money is to negotiate with vendors or suppliers. You might be able to get a better price on inventory if you’re willing to order in bulk. Another way to save money is to reduce energy costs. You can do this by investing in energy-efficient lighting or appliances. Finally, you can save money by taking advantage of government programs or tax breaks available to small businesses.
3. Think outside the traditional advertising methods
Advertising is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business, but it can also be the most expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll need to get creative with your marketing efforts. You can utilize a couple of free or low-cost marketing channels such as social media, email, and content marketing. You can also try guerilla marketing tactics, such as handing out flyers or setting up a booth at a local event.
Offering discounts and incentives must be part of your advertising plans and are also a great way to attract new customers and keep existing ones coming back. You can offer discounts on your products/services or loyalty rewards for customers who continue to do business with you. You can also award incentives for referrals, which can help you attract new customers at a lower cost.
4. Make a marketing plans
Having a well-thought-out marketing plan is especially important for small businesses. Without a solid plan, it will be hard to market your business and reach your target customers effectively.
When making your marketing plan, be sure to research your target market and identify the channels that will be most effective for reaching them. You should also set a budget and create measurable goals to track your progress over time.
5. Diversify your products or services
If your business is struggling, it might be because you’re not offering enough variety. Take a look at your product line and see if there are any areas where you could expand. You might also consider diversifying your services to reach a wider range of customers.
For example, if you own a restaurant, you could start offering catering services or delivery. Or if you own a retail store, you could start selling online. By diversifying your offerings, you’ll be able to get to a larger audience and boost your sales.
6. Build an active online presence
In today’s digital world, start-up companies should build an active online presence. It means having a website that is easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. You can maximize the use of social media platforms to create a buzz around your brand. Creating online content, such as blog posts or infographics, can also help you attract attention from potential customers.
Once visitors are on your site, it’s vital to keep them engaged with compelling content. You can also encourage them to take action, such as signing up for your email list or making a purchase. These days, potential customers are more likely to find your business online before they ever set foot in your store.
7. Focus on customer service
In today’s competitive landscape, customer service is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. Treat your customers well and resolve any issues they have promptly. Your customer service can differentiate your business from the competition and it will help you build a loyal customer base that will be more likely to do business with you in the future.
8. Motivate your employees
Your employees are one of your most valuable assets, so it’s essential to keep them happy and engaged. There are many ways to do this, such as offering competitive salaries, providing opportunities for professional development, and creating a positive work environment. You should also make sure your employees feel like they are a part of your company’s success by offering bonuses or commissions for meeting sales goals.
9. Foster a culture of innovation
Innovation is essential for any business, but it’s especially imperative for small businesses. With limited resources, you need to be creative and think of new ways to solve problems and serve your customers. Encouraging your employees to generate new ideas and think outside the box can help you foster a culture of innovation.
The world keeps changing, and you need to change with it. Stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices by attending trade shows or networking events and reading industry publications or blogs to get new ideas. Keep learning and growing to take your business to the next level.
10. Take care of yourself and focus on your strength
It may seem like an odd piece of advice, but it’s important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. This will help you be a better leader for your business. When you’re feeling burned out, take a break and recharge so you can come back to work with fresh energy and ideas.
As a small business owner, you’re likely wearing many hats. But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Play to your strengths and delegate or outsource tasks outside your area of expertise. This will free up your time and let you focus on the areas where you’re most needed.
For example, if you’re not good at accounting, hire an accountant. Or if you don’t have time to handle social media, consider hiring a virtual assistant or social media expert.
By taking care of yourself and delegating tasks, you’ll be able to run your business more effectively.
11. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance
Running a small business can be overwhelming. No one expects you to be an expert at everything. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, family member, or professional. Several resources are available to small businesses, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE, and the local Chamber of Commerce. These organizations can provide advice, mentorship, and access to future capital.
In addition, several online resources, such as articles, blog posts, and webinars, will be able to assist you with various aspects of running your business.
12. Stay flexible and be prepared to pivot
The pandemic has forced many small businesses to pivot in order to stay afloat. If you’re faced with a similar situation, it’s important to be flexible and adapt to the changes. For example, if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you may need to switch to an online format or offer delivery/curbside pickup options.
It’s also a good idea to have contingency plans in place in case something goes wrong. For example, if you’re relying on face-to-face interactions with customers, what would you do if there was another lockdown?
By being flexible, willing to pivot, and having contingency plans, you’ll be able to navigate through tough times and prepare for anything that comes your way.
13. Be patient and persevere
Starting a business is hard, and there will be bumps along the way. The important thing is to be patient and never give up on your dreams. Persevere through the tough times and keep moving forward.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a successful business. Try to reflect on your little achievements, focus on the positive, and don’t forget the reason why you started your business in the first place. This will keep you motivated and focused on your long-term goals.
Among all, have faith in yourself. Believe in your ability to succeed and everything else will follow. This and following the above tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful 2022. What are your plans for your small business? Share them with us in the comments below!