How to Overcome Five Common Business Challenges
Previously, SMB Group identified the most pressing concerns for small business owners last year. Focusing on the top five challenges, we have used advice from Sage and other sources to outline essential strategies to keep your small business profitable and coping with ever-changing market demands.
1. Attracting new customers
Most business owners understand their target market. Yet, with so many marketing options – from traditional media – like radio and billboards, to social media promotion campaigns – it can be a struggle to understand how to advertise a business, and in-turn attract more customers.
To start, examine what your competitors are doing. They have done the research and learned the advertising methods which give them the biggest return on investment, so use their techniques to access the same customers.
Getting patrons to your store or website is only half the battle. You need them to stay and consider making a purchase. Customers want convenience and accessibility, with more preferring to be able to contact business owners with queries via social media. To offer your customers this convenience, ensure that your business has a profile on major social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter. In addition, you should make sure that your website is responsive and user-friendly for different devices, while utilizing your business’s branding to help accentuate the customer experience. We also suggest that you register for any relevant business directories, so that customers can find your contact information there, too.
2. Growing revenue
One of the dangers small businesses face is that they don’t have the manpower or the capital to invest in alternative ventures as a means of expanding their income. Instead of focusing on one venture, consider how partnerships can give your business new opportunities.
Partnering with non-competitive businesses with whom you share a target market allows you to organize a profitable arrangement without much additional investment. For instance, remember when Starbucks partnered with Spotify? With each company offering their customers points for the other’s services with every purchase, both businesses saw their loyalty memberships grow. If your business can find a promising partnership, you might be surprised at how much your sales sky rocket.
3. Maintaining profitability
Sustaining success requires an understanding of current market trends and technologies which might serve to reduce costs, improve productivity, or increase client engagement. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to predict which trends will emerge and affect these factors.
Despite free material being available in blogs, podcasts and web articles, there is too much information for one person to consume. Instead, business owners should instruct their teams to research upcoming trends. Instead, business owners should have their teams research upcoming trends. Instruct employees to regularly investigate specific business strategies, competitor movements, or automated technologies, and report back regularly. By doing this, you can take advantage of the latest trends that will enable you to sustain profitability.
4. Improving cash flow
Many business owners struggle to responsibly manage their cash flow, which can negatively affect the future of their operations. Luckily, smart applications are becoming cheaper and more accessible to businesses, making financial management much easier.
For example, Net30 automates delivery of invoices to building contractors’ clients, making it easier to complete payments. This allows business owners to spend less time chasing money owed to them.
Another tool that can help you manage your cash flow is Pegg – a chatbot that allows you to record expenses in real-time. Instead of keeping paper receipts, you can manage your finances through the Pegg chatbot. Plus, the more that you use the application, you’ll receive recommendations for your business.
These are just a few examples of financial management tools; to discover more, check out this list.
5. Improving customer experience and retention
Repeat customers are essential to the long-term success of a business. As many as 61 percent of small businesses receive more than half their revenue from repeat customers. Thus, if you can’t earn consistent business from repeat customers, your business’s future could be in jeopardy.
Again, utilizing technology can come in handy here. To improve customer service, there are numerous ways that you can use technology to your advantage. Implement a CRM software, where you log customer complaints, utilize social media to respond to customer questions, or create a user-friendly app. By giving your customers ample options to connect with you, you’ll increase future retention rates.
Running a small business can be incredibly demanding, but if you’re strategic in tackling these challenges, you’ll be able to overcome them. If you have other suggestions for handling common business challenges, we want to hear from you! Let us know in the comment section below.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.