Weak Profit Margins When we start out in business we have high hopes for making money and getting lots of happy customers. While that can happen and many successful businesses have found the recipe for success, many still struggle with trying to find the right formula. Today I am going to talk about an area …View full post
Funding Issues Most small businesses start with little money and maybe a prayer. It really does not matter how good your idea is, the chances of finding success with your business are definitely limited if you don’t have proper funding. Before you even get started in your business venture you need to have a clear …View full post
Your financial numbers offer a true perspective for your business. They show the health of your business and insights into areas that need to be addressed. The snapshot that it offers in knowing the numbers concerning your business is another critical area, that if you do not know what is happening can lead to poor …View full post
It is often difficult for a business to maintains its focus. With all the regular challenges of running a business like employee issues, and other daily distractions, maintaining focus is probably not at the top of your list. As humans we only have so much capacity to handle issues that we must deal with each …View full post
People buy from people they trust. If they feel any reason not to trust you then they will take their business elsewhere. Think about who you do business with and you will see the importance of trust in your business relationships. Think about how the people you do business with build their trust with you. …View full post
Most small businesses start with little money and maybe a prayer. It really does not matter how good your idea is, the chances of finding success with your business are definitely limited if you don’t have proper funding. Before you even get started in your business venture you need to have a clear idea about how much funding you will need for that first year of operation. While most small businesses will change their plans multiple times, having at least an outline covering your expenses and any revenue projections (kept conservative) will be helpful to making sure you have enough resources to work that first year.
Once you have created this outline you can then decide if you have enough funding to run for that first year, or if you will need to seek financial help from other sources. I don’t recommend that you take your balances to zero to get your business funded. If you are cutting your finances that close then I strongly recommend you should either seek additional funding or save more money before launching your business.
Some sources of additional funding include banks, friends, family or even taking money from your 401k plan. All these options will need a clear understanding and forecast of your businesses financial operations. Going to a bank will require the most detailed plans you can create for your business. While friends and family might not be as demanding on these details it will still be helpful to have realistic financial projections. If you have money in a 401k plan from an existing or prior employer this could be a good source of funding. There are limits on money from your 401k, so make sure you have a clear understanding before taking money out of your 401k plan.
While you may have a great new business idea, making sure you have an understanding of your financials will be critical for the health of your business. I have known a number of business owners that do not spend much time looking at their numbers. Either take the time to understand the financial side of your business or hire someone to track this information for you.
In our next post we will look at profit margins and their impact on your new or even existing business. Your comments are always welcome.
It is often difficult for a business to maintains its focus. With all the regular challenges of running a business like employee issues, and other daily distractions, maintaining focus is probably not at the top of your list. As humans we only have so much capacity to handle issues that we must deal with each day.
Successful companies find a solution to this problem by keeping their operating philosophy simple. So often businesses get too many programs and systems out to their staff, and over time this has a tendency to create confusion. Maintaining a simple philosophy like “customer service” for your employees can go a long way in maintaining your organizations focus.
We must remember as we continue to get more connected through technology and media, it is easy to get caught up in the notion that this creates a solution, but in reality the technology is only a tool we can use to provide the same service and support to your customer.
Maintaining focus during challenging times can offer your company the edge that will carry it through to the next market upswing and ahead of your competitors.
People buy from people they trust. If they feel any reason not to trust you then they will take their business elsewhere. Think about who you do business with and you will see the importance of trust in your business relationships. Think about how the people you do business with build their trust with you.
Trust is about confidence and your ability to take care of the needs of your customers. If you establish that confidence, then it will go a long way in building trust. So, how do you go about building confidence and ultimately trust? Here are some steps you can take :
Always follow through with your prospects and clients
Deliver what you say you are going to do for them, then deliver a little extra (we all like a bonus)
Make sure all your touch points maintain that trust relationship and promote confidence in your organization
Monitor your front line employees to make sure they are instilling trust in their communications with clients
If you make a mistake with a customer take responsibility and then make it right with them, even if you lose money on the account. It will be much more expensive if they start posting negative comments about your company on the internet and social media sites.
Promote positive comments and feedback you have received from your customers
It can take a while to build trust initially with prospects, but eventually you can earn their business and make them long-term clients. Just remember to never take the trust relationship you have with them for granted.
Many businesses start out with a great idea, and everything goes great for a while. While you may not have given it much thought initially, at some point you will need to define your business and what, who and why it is providing your product or service. The need to understand your market is critical to your long-term success.
How do you define your market? What and where are the buyers of your product and service? Is this a one-time purchase or repeat business model? Defining your market and understanding its characteristics is a critical component of your businesses long-term success. So you need to define the business that you are in.
This process does not need to be complicated or require multiple hours of research and analysis. It would be a good idea to sit down with your managers and employees, who deal directly with your customers to gain insights concerning why they have done business with you and what differentiates you from your competitors.
Once you have defined who are your customers and prospects you will have a much clearer vision on how to reach and market to that segment. It will also help you define your message, and ways to better meet the needs of that market segment once it has been defined. Periodically review your market definitions to determine if there are changes and in what direction or adjustments need to be made. You may even uncover some modifications or improvements you can make that will keep your business growing and ahead of the competition.