There are more than 32 million small to medium-sized businesses in the United States. Unfortunately, 20% of all small businesses close by the first year. You’ll also find that 50% of these businesses fail to reach year five. There are several reasons why these businesses fail. One of the main contributing factors is stagnation. If you are looking to make it as part of the small fraction of businesses that will still be operating by year five, you need to dedicate yourself to persistent improvement efforts. For instance, lots of small businesses don’t think about things like small business health insurance services. To set yourself apart and appeal to the best talent, these are things you should think about. Here are some of the best business practices for small business owners.
Protect Your Focus and Vision
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to communicate the company’s vision to clients and employees. This is one of the best business practices for small business owners. The majority of entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of waking up and working. As such, you find that if you are not careful, you will start each business day with a scramble of activity. Instead of doing this, you need to take time to properly set your goals for the day. Your brain is a very powerful tool. However, it needs rest if you need it to function best. To achieve this, your day-to-day routine must optimize your thinking instead of your work.
You must prioritize time for reflection each morning, so you can establish your most important goals for that morning. There are lots of project management software options that you can use to help track down your priorities. Such tools also help you to break down big projects and make them smaller, more manageable steps. If you are working with a team, project management software enables you to easily assign tasks to different team members. You will also be able to communicate easily through the process.
Sell Your Value, Not Your Time
As a small business owner, your goal should be to sell solutions, not your time. When you start offering your services based on hourly rates, this limits your ability to scale your business. For instance, when you pitch to your clients, you should emphasize a complete outcome. That way, you can price the required time accordingly. If you highlight the problem you are solving instead of the amount of time it takes to solve it, you will get faster at delivering the solutions. What that does is give you more time, and that time can be dedicated to more productive tasks.
As the leader of your team, you can lead better if you are more mindful of how you use your time. The first thing you need to do is figure out how you are currently using your time. This can be done by performing a time audit of your weekly activities. You should log each major chunk of the time you spend each business day. Once that’s done, you can then group your actions into about five to ten different tasks. These tasks should be scored according to importance to business success, ease of execution, and enjoyment. This will enable you to see what your team hates to do. Once you figure this out, you should consider automating these dreaded tasks. You can also affordably outsource them.
Shorten Your Meetings and Eliminate Unnecessary Ones
Meetings can be a time sink if you are not careful. As such, you should evaluate your meetings to see if they are necessary. This is one of the best business practices for small business owners. Each meeting you hold should have a clearly defined agenda. You should also eliminate any unnecessary and unproductive mandatory recurring meetings. Even with the productive ones, you should be able to make them shorter somehow. If you have too many unnecessary meetings, apart from wasting time, a lot of money will go to corporate catering services. There are several tools you can use to shorten standard hourly or 30-minute meetings. Both Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar feature settings that allow you to shorten meetings by various durations.
When it comes to running a business, time is a resource that you can never re-create. Once you start seeing that you can never get some time back, you should start doing everything you can to maximize the time you have left.
This is very important if you want your business to stick around for longer. Having proper time management, documentation, and automating repeatable tasks can be the difference between boom and buts. These are some of the best business practices for small business owners. As a business owner, you should keep accurate records of all your business financial transactions. Recording everything, including customer billings and all vendor payments. These should be listed in their proper accounts at least once a week. That will allow you to keep an eye on the bottom line. You should also remember to keep all copies of your invoices, cash payments, and cash receipts for your local tax service, tax training programs, and bookkeeping purposes.
Part of being organized as a small business owner is to set and keep deadlines. You should stay on top of your administrative tasks. This becomes easier if you use project management software. It lets you assign tasks, set deadlines, and upload your documentation to the company’s central repository. This allows you to plan ahead. As part of planning ahead, you need to plan your social media campaigns ahead of time. There are several social media scheduling tools that you can use for this. Apart from that, you must also use email marketing to automate and follow up with your new leads. For communication with your team, use tools like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. This enables you to communicate quickly. If you can send some information in an email, don’t have a meeting about it.
The business space is always changing. If you want to keep up and stay ahead of your competition, you need to be agile. That allows you to pivot quickly in response to the ever-changing market conditions. Slow movers in business always struggle, and they end up being obsolete. If you want to stay flexible, you need to lean into your data. This is one of the best business practices for small business owners. You must also be willing to change course if that’s what the data suggests you should do. Learn to listen to customer feedback and try not to be wedded to your own opinions.
For instance, if you conduct interviews with prospective customers and you find that your product isn’t received well by the market or that the market for it is too small. Instead of clinging to that business idea, even if the data says it won’t float, you should be willing to change your model or pricing strategy. Sticking with an approach that’s not working will lead to losses. Apart from that, if your website is not giving you the traffic you need, you should consider ditching it and investing in a more responsive design. All this is part of being flexible.
Automate As Much As You Can
Are you looking for ways to save time as one of the best business practices for small business? One of the best ways to do this is to automate repeatable tasks. This ensures that small things don’t end up falling through the cracks. For instance, if you meet clients at a networking event, you can use a CRM tool to follow up with new contacts automatically. This tool can help you get in touch with your new contacts via email. You can also use the same tools to end emails to new website visitors. Apart from that, have you tried using accounting software to automate your repetitive bookkeeping tasks? That way, you won’t waste time and resources on data entry.
Did you know that you can salvage abandoned shopping carts? All you need to do is send an automated email to nudge your shoppers to complete their purchases. How about automating payroll management in excel? This is a great way to save time as well. Because of how technology keeps moving, you can also automate your customer support now. It’s possible to set up a chatbot on your website. This will enable you to respond to your customer’s queries even if there is no one at your workplace. For instance, this is quite helpful if you run a platform where people can shop 24/7.
Maintain a Personal Touch
One of the biggest advantages of small businesses is that they are uniquely positioned to offer a personal touch. This is especially true if you have a small team. You can do things like writing handwritten thank notes. You can also include simple gifts alongside each customer’s purchase. How about offering freebies in exchange for some nice reviews? All these things are great when it comes to making your customers feel like you are personally catering to their needs, which is a great way to foster loyalty.
Your CRM tool can enable you to make notes of the personal details of each of your customers. That way, you can off high-touch personalizations. For instance, if you are a jeweler who recently sold an engagement ring to one of your customers, you can send them a simple wedding gift after they get married. This ensures that they never forget you.
Have a Professional Website
Because most individuals now prefer interacting with businesses online, it helps to ensure that you have a beautifully designed website. Keep in mind that your website is the first thing that new leads see when they discover your products. And unless you have a brick-and-mortar store, it is probably the only way for people to buy from you. The general idea is to treat your site like a sacrosanct. You should keep its design clean and simple. Try to limit banner ads, colors, and unnecessary pop-ups. You should also invest a lot of time and resources in proper search engine optimization. Before you craft a website, you should take a lot of time to consider how you will brand it. Branding is one of the easiest ways to build trust. It also differentiates you from your competitors, making it one of the best business practices for small business.
When people visit your website, the first thing they should see is your brand’s value proposition. That way, even first-time visitors can easily understand your offer. You can learn a thing or two from the brand DuckDuckGo. Their homepage simply states: “Search the web without being tracked.” This will appeal to anyone who is concerned about data privacy. Apart from that, you should also use high-quality images on your website. Even if you are tempted to go for stock images, don’t do it. They will not help you build trust. Instead, hire a professional photographer to take photos of all the products you have. You should also take time to craft convincing product descriptions. When writing a product description, focus on product benefits. You must also highlight all the key features and, if possible, tell a story.
A digital marketing agency can help you come up with a killer website. If you are a tax CPA or an investment lending service, you can find website designers and digital marketing companies with experience working with other businesses like yours.
Study Your Competition
One of the best business practices for small business owners it to study your competitors. At any given point, your competitors know some things that you don’t, and vice versa. Studying your competitors helps you define your competitive edge. It also helps you to identify your weaknesses relative to your competition. Look at what their tagline says, their products, services, and their unique value proposition.
You must also look at your competitor’s digital marketing strategy. Visit their websites and social media platforms. Can you see how they generate leads? Do they post on social media a lot? And if yes, what do they post? If your competitors overlap with your target market, you should also go ahead and study their strengths and weaknesses regarding similar product or service offerings. Finding out where they excel and can let you know what you can do better.
Take Care of Your Premises
As a small business owner, you must ensure that your premises are presentable. This means your pavements, parking lots, and driveways should be in good shape. If you don’t want to forget when it’s time to maintain these features, you can arrange to schedule maintenance with commercial concrete services. You should also ensure that your commercial electric systems are in shape. If anything is dysfunctional, you need to fix it as soon as you can. This also goes for commercial elevator repair. You don’t want to end up with customers stuck in the elevator.
These are some of the best business practices for small business owners. The only way your business can survive is if you ensure that it keeps growing. This means you need to take time to find out what you are excelling at and the area you are struggling with. Once you realize your strengths and weaknesses, you can start looking at ways to amplify your strengths and deal with your weaknesses. A great way to find out what you are doing wrong is to ask your customers. You can ask them to leave reviews, or you can conduct surveys.