Your business is moving forward, successfully making the transition from one season to the next. Yet, you do have some concerns on where you are headed and how best to respond. Let’s take a look at some of the chief concerns of today’s small business owners.
1. The Competition
Every business has competition. For you, your competitors may be larger or smaller than you or rival your business’ size. Your larger competitors may dominate the market, but chances are they cannot recalibrate as fast as you can. That’s an advantage you must maintain and promote to your customers.
Where a competitor becomes a real problem is when they begin to take market share and away from you directly. Here, you have to examine your strategies and devise a plan to counter those efforts. You may need to slash prices, improve services or provide some other edge that will keep your customers in the fold as well as help you attract new business.
2. Your Employees
Your company lives or dies based on your employees. Okay, this statement may seem a bit dramatic, but isn’t it true that you rely on your employees to help shape and advance your business? Therefore, it is reasonable that you maintain concern over the people you hire and how to keep them.
Retention is important for all businesses, but particularly so with a small enterprise. Whereas a big company can move on if a key individual leaves, the small business can suffer immensely if they lose a top employee. Endeavor to keep your best employees happy. Furthermore, articulate the advantages of working with a small company when seeking new employees. You should hire only those people who are a good fit for your company.
3. Paying Bills
It would be great if your bills came in just as your cash flow was at its peak. Trouble is, most small business operators struggle with paying what they owe.
It is important that you establish a line of credit, one that can be tapped when the cash flow eases. If you wait until you really need the money, then you can be denied credit.
4. New and Current Customers
Just as you are concerned about what your competition is doing, you are need to keep tabs with your customers directly. It is important that you show appreciation for their patronage and work tirelessly to meet their expectations, even exceeding them.
Winning new customers is important too. However, this approach must be consistent with your values and target the needs of customers individually. A carefully constructed and executed marketing plan to reach new customers is always wise.
5. Employee Benefits
A key part of employee retention is providing benefits. You cannot possibly match the benefits packages offered by large corporations, but you must find ways to maintain a compensation strategy that works for you.
Unfortunately, gumming up the works is health care, a requirement for certain sized businesses. Even if a health benefit is not required, you need to find a way to provide some type of assistance to keep your employees around. If health care is not required, but it is something you want to offer, then you must shop for a plan that you can afford.
This means negotiating carefully with providers to find a plan that you can afford. Furthermore, you can shop the healthcare exchange to find potential providers. Another option is to not offer a plan, encouraging your employees to obtain individual plans through the health care exchange. Here, you might reimburse your employees to pay for that expense.
Clearly, managing a small business today takes much work. To make it work, you have to think ahead, craft carefully considered plans and execute them accordingly. Then, you may have to do it all over again.