Preparing Your Business for Success
As you are well aware, running a small business isn’t easy. Not that anyone told you it would be, but, geez, could we get a break? Pandemic, lockdowns, inflation, inventory issues, low employment pool….enough already! If you’re wondering what else the universe can throw at your small business, you’re not alone. We’ve put together a key list of things you can do to prepare yourself and your business right now. Whatever hills and valleys you may see with your business, these small actions or plans will help you be more prepared, more successful and better armed for battle. Anticipate and be ready rather than react and scramble.
Top 5 Ways to Better Manage Your Business & Be Prepared
1. Learn to Manage Your Financials or Pay Someone Else To
Financial Management is always a stressor for small business owners. Even those with an accounting background can get bogged down with the day to day frontline of running a business and the financials get dealt with when there’s time. If time, profit margins or cash flow are working against you, get help. Get help now so that you can figure out where you can save, where you can spend and how to make your business more profitable.
2. Business Plan
We’ve talked before about the importance of a Business Plan. There are a lot of business plan templates that can help you to get started. You may question why this step is so important. It may even seem like a waste of time initially. Having a plan for what your business’ long term goals and objectives are, will help keep you on track. When it comes time to diversify your inventory or services, an initial Business Plan will help you decide if these moves are in line with your initial vision and what you want your business to be.
3. Find New Customers
Finding new customers isn’t exactly a new game. But the playing field has definitely changed. Social Media and Online Presence in a very digital world are more important than ever to acquiring new customers. The first 2 items we’ve discussed can also help you to decide on a marketing budget and where you want to allocate those marketing funds. Digital marketing or old school marketing? Your business plan might help you decide where you want your customers to be. Lucky for you, Localmize can help! We are here to support your business goals. Talk to our team today about how we can help you with a digital marketing plan that includes a social media presence across multiple platforms to get your business in front of more potential customers.
4. Generate More Leads
Generating Leads ranks up there with finding new customers. How do you find more qualified leads? Streamlining your operations and improving your website are two simple ways you can make lead generation easier and more effective. What can your website be doing to generate leads for your business? Ask us how we can help!
5. Manage Your Reputation from Day 1
Your business reputation started the day you worked with your first contractor. Whether you have a storefront, a free standing location or work out of your home. The second you started working with people for your business, you were building the reputation of your business. Every action and conversation matter to a small business owner. Reputation Management for businesses has become its own entity with online reviews. It’s never been easier for customers to give you feedback, whether you like it or not. An online review can plague your business reputation for years. Localmize can help! We have a Reputation Management team specifically to protect our customers from online trolls and personal online attacks or reviews.
5 Ways to Better Manage Employees, Your Team & Train Them To be Prepared
1. Recruit Talented Employees
Small businesses have a tough time recruiting the best of the best. Name recognition, lower pay and sometimes a lack of benefits can really keep you skimming from the bottom of the candidate pool. Know what you have to offer? A personal, flexible work life balance and great environment. You can create an atmosphere of inclusivity and flexibility and a willingness to work with your employees and their needs. Create a workforce that supports each other. Whether it’s a work share situation, part time employment or full time flexibility, you set the stage for what your employees get from their employer on top of a paycheck. What do you offer that makes you a great employer?
2. Diversify Your Team
Diversifying your team isn’t just about creating an environment, it’s about creating a workforce that represents your customers. You need to think like your customers to be successful, right? Make sure you’re being representative in your team meetings. Different perspectives and personalities can be a huge benefit to a small business because it gives you the opportunity to truly listen and understand more about the people you serve. If you diversify, you are also in charge of the way the team interacts with each other. Lead with inclusivity and an eagerness to hear opinions so that your team does work with you towards success, not just for you.
3. Focus On Customer Service in Training
This goes back to that reputation management. Just like every action and conversation matters for you as the owner, your team represents your brand every time they clock in and in many cases when they’re clocked out as well. How your employees handle customers and specifically customer issues has to start in training. Don’t save this training for when you have a customer in front of you angry. Discuss your process of managing difficult customers before you’re faced with it. There are a ton of topics to research on offering the best customer service experience.
4. Track Employee Performance
This one is more of a learn by fire experience. Because, let’s face it, you’re going to hire the wrong person at some point, probably more than one wrong person. So, how do you track employee performance? There are apps that have been developed that can be researched. There are also do’s and don’ts of these apps. Research carefully if you decide to go this route. Setting your employees up for success with strong training is the best thing you can do initially. Set realistic expectations and realistic goals and together agree to those expectations and goals. Have new employees sign off on their understanding of what their job is and what those expectations are. Have continuous training opportunities as well. Don’t let your employees become stagnant. If they’re performing and doing well, talk about new goals and new expectations, agree to them and then train on how you’re going to accomplish them as a team.
5. Manage and Motivate Employee Communication & Workflow
As more and more of our workforce is working from home, employee workflow and communication has changed. There are platforms that are very easy to use for employees to keep track of communications, tasks, timesheets, workflow and even shared projects. Again, training on these platforms is key to their success. Motivating your employees will always be critical to business success. Words of affirmation and recognition are easy ways to pat someone on the back without ever spending a dime. Make sure your own communication is motivating your team and encouraging the workflow process.
A Little Grace and A Little Help
As we all find our way through a post pandemic world, give a little grace and understanding to other businesses. Understand there are businesses still struggling with filling their open employment needs. There are businesses that still don’t have full inventory of parts and products. Support each other and hold each other up. The world isn’t so big when we’re all pitching in! Let us know if you have any questions on how Localmize could better support your business goals or needs. Contact | Localmize How can we help your business grow?