Keeping your little startup open is easier said than done. And in fact, 80% of new businesses fail within 5 years. But many of these failures result from poor business practices, inefficiencies, and bad preparation. If you have a new business in the works, or if you have been in operation for just a little while, these few tips can help you keep things rolling for many years to come.
1. Keep track of your money. Real business owners will appreciate this, perhaps, more than the general public, but here it is: business accounting is often a mess. If your finances are a mess, or are on their way to becoming a mess, small business accounting software can help pull you out of the mire.
It’ll help you automate payroll, client communications, payments, deliveries, inventory decisions, investments, and many other applications. You’ll be able to really see where your money is going, and where hidden inefficiencies lie.
Many small businesses don’t use a dedicated accounting app because they don’t feel they’ve grown big enough yet to warrant it. This is a mistake. Poor accounting may be what’s keeping you small!
You don’t want to spend resources on what cannot be accounted for. It pays to track your spending and you are better off as a business with a keen eye on your finances. Keeping track of your finances as a business is one of the most important things you should be doing to have a shot at success.
2. Work harder on keeping the customers you have than on trying to get new ones. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true: customers are harder to win than they are to lose. At first blush, it would seem that this is license to ignore customers you already have in your fold and, indeed, this seems to be what many business owners think.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Because you already have a customer, fight to keep them happy. They are what is keeping you in business. You’ll expend a lot less resources and energy focused on their satisfaction than you ever will shilling for new business.
A satisfied customer can spread your customer service story to a lot of people who could end up becoming your customers too. Don’t compromise on your customer service. No comment is not an option.
Deliver your best service because your business depends on it. Respond to every customer concern like you genuinely care. And people know when you care. Show the personal side of your business and connect with your existing customers like never before.
3. Take advantage of savings opportunities. There are many inspired ways to save money. But inspiration takes energy. A lot of business owners are too harried to do the homework it takes to save big. But there are lots of opportunities. Talk to your clients about savings you can get by making payments early.
Maybe only 1 in 10 offers this, but if you save on paying each one of them each month, you’ll save thousands of dollars a year. Do your research on tax savings, talk to your finance professional about how, and you’ll save hundreds of dollars, at least. Identifying these little tidbits can take some digging.
That’s why more people don’t take advantage of them. But in saving hundreds and thousands of dollars, you’ll make your small business last a lot longer, and give it the chance to grow into a bigger business.
These are just three suggestions, but each of them touches on a principle of focus and awareness. A lot of people expend a lot of energy keeping their businesses together, but they don’t look close enough, or from great enough a distance.
If you dig in to see the details of your operation, and take the time to step back and see it from a broad scale, you won’t find the inefficiencies that close small businesses like yours every day.