10 Golden Nuggets: Small Business Tips from Business Titans
At Fora Financial, we’re dedicated to helping small businesses meet their unique goals. That’s why we’ve created this handy list of ten small business tips. These tips may be just what you need to ensure that your business grows for years to come.
How to Improve Your Business:
While there are plenty of small business tips out there, not all of them are ideal for every business. By following these small business tips, however, you can ensure success, regardless of your industry. They are universal and can help just about any business out there.
1. Make Sure To Safeguard Your Business
The reality is that many small businesses suffer when the economy is down. Therefore, it’s essential to safeguard your business from tough economic conditions. Here’s how:
- Keep your credit in tip-top shape: If you decide that you need a loan, you’ll have a better chance of qualifying for a low interest rate and favorable terms if you have good credit. So, pay your bills on time, reduce your credit utilization ratio, and dispute any errors.
- Show your employees gratitude: To ensure your employees stay in a tough economy, thank them for their hard work. While you may not be able to give them cash bonuses, handwritten notes and verbal praise can go a long way.
2. Don’t Stop Growing
Even if you’ve run a business for decades, never stop learning. Always look for opportunities to expand your industry knowledge. You can do this by attending industry events, networking, taking classes and participating in webinars.
When you make learning a priority, you stay at the forefront of industry trends. This can allow you to make appropriate changes to your operations, as well as products and services.
By creating a culture that encourages learning and growth, you can stay ahead of the competition and take your business to new heights.
3. Cultivate Your Team Around Shared Visions
A vision is an image of where you hope your business will be in the future. It’s based on your goals and aspirations. With a vision in place, your team will have a clear focus and know what to work towards. When you share your vision with your team, follow these tips:
- Explain your end goal.
- Share how your team will benefit from your vision.
- Discuss how you believe they’ll bring it to life.
Get into the habit of talking about your vision often. This can give your team the motivation they need to work hard and stay focused.
4. Look Out For Yourself
As a small business owner, it can be easy to put your employee’s needs before your own. After all, they’re the lifeblood of your business. However, while it’s important to make your team a priority, it’s just as important to look out for yourself.
Take care of your physical and mental health, even when things get stressful. In addition, you should try to take time off every now and then to avoid burnout.
Remember, you can’t be a good team leader if you’re stressed, sick, tired, or unfulfilled. Don’t be afraid to say “no” from time to time and delegate some of your duties to others.
5. Look For Inexpensive (And Online) Marketing Options
Thanks to the internet, marketing is more affordable than ever before. Not only is digital marketing budget-friendly, it’s also incredibly effective. Consider these online marketing tips for small business owners:
- Social media: Almost everyone is on social media these days. Therefore, it only makes sense to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms to promote your brand.
- Email marketing: Although direct mail may still work in some industries, email marketing has become it’s replacement. Compared to direct mail, it’s easier to implement and best of all, more affordable.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): With a strong SEO strategy in place, you can generate relevant website traffic and capture leads online.
6. Find A Mentor
You don’t know what you don’t know, which is why a mentor can open your eyes to ideas and strategies that have never crossed your mind before. Whether you’ve been in business for decades or are just starting a company, find a mentor in your industry. Even if you think you’re an expert in your business, find a mentor. Here are some places you can look for one:
- Professional networking events.
- Industry meetups.
- Online networking groups.
- Social media platforms.
- Chamber of Commerce meetings.
- Volunteer events.
You may be surprised at how much a mentor can teach you and help you grow your business.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Unfortunately, you don’t have superpowers just because you’re a small business owner. You’re a regular person, just like your employees. This means you don’t have the knowledge or time to do everything.
If you’ve hired the right people, you should be able to confidently ask for help when you need it. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s the opposite, and one of the most important tips for small business owner. Asking for help shows that you’re a strong leader who is realistic.
8. When Starting Up, Be Frugal Or Seek Funding
If you’re in the startup phase, being frugal is imperative. While it may be tempting to wipe out your savings or take out tens of thousands of dollars in loans, doing so isn’t a good idea.
Instead, make a list of the things you absolutely need to start your business. Read it several times and cross off anything that you realize is a “want” or “nice to have.” Only spend money on what you need when you start out. Then, when sales start to increase, you can invest more money into other areas of your business.
Eventually, you can use your sales numbers and other financial documents to convince lenders that you’re a strong loan candidate. With additional financing, you’ll have more funds to put towards business growth.
9. Prepare Your Business For Financial Hurdles
Even if you have the best product or service in the world, financial hurdles are bound to pop up. A competitor may come in and take many of your current or potential customers, or the economy could take a hit and lower your profits. The good news is you can make it through financial hurdles if you run a cost effective business and have a tight budget. Here are two days to do this:
- Reduce expenses: Figure out which expenses you can reduce or eliminate. The less expenses you have, the easier it’ll be to succeed when times get tough.
- Create an emergency fund: An emergency fund can be a life saver for your business when you face a financial challenge.
10. Develop A Business Plan
A business plan is a written description of your business’s future that reveals what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. With a strong business plan, you can make informed decisions and achieve both short-term and long-term goals. In addition, you can increase your chances of securing funding. The most important elements of a business plan include:
- Executive summary.
- Market analysis.
- Competitive analysis.
- Product and service breakdown.
- Marketing strategy.
- Sales strategy.
- Management team.
- Financial projections.
At Fora Financial, we strive to help small business owners succeed. Sign up for our newsletter today for more small business tips.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a vision?
A vision describes where your small business aspires to be in the future. It gives your employees a clear focus to keep top of mind as they perform their roles.
How can I prepare for financial hurdles?
All small businesses face financial hurdles at some point. To prepare for them, keep your expenses as low as possible and build a healthy emergency fund.
Why do I need a mentor?
Nobody knows everything. While you may be an expert in your industry, there are people out there who know things you don’t know. A mentor can introduce you to new concepts that can improve the way you operate.
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.