If you’re a small business owner, good news: you’re a hero. According to a study from Forbes, small businesses have generated over 65% of new jobs since 1995, and employ over 120 million working individuals. That’s great news for the economy – and your bank account. But running a successful business isn’t a walk in the park. Owning a company can be a taxing and often thankless job. For many small business owners, these three challenges are top of mind:
- Retaining customers
- Remaining financially solvent
- Expanding and diversifying your business
That’s a lot for tiny teams to tackle, and one of the reasons why small business owners have to be tenacious. Since owners have the biggest stake in their company, they have to be two steps ahead to ensure growth and sustainability.
Here’s how you can step up and conquer your biggest challenges as a small business owner:
1. Put customers first to improve retention
The customer isn’t always right – but they should always be your biggest priority. Technology is making customer service simpler and more intuitive than it used to be – and it just keeps getting better. You can use the readily available data at your fingertips to take a more customer oriented approach to business.
All companies should work hard to keep their client’s personal information private – but they can also use it to their advantage. Offering birthday discounts, personalized emails, and other human touches can make people feel special, and earn their loyalty. Going the extra mile for your customers could be the difference between them choosing your company – or another one.
2. Take charge of your finances to stay ahead
Do you dread looking into your business finances? Don’t ignore the numbers. It can be exhausting to stay on top of that profit and loss statement, but having organized books is well worth the effort.
This is an area where getting help is truly better than doing it yourself. A qualified professional can show you how to set up your accounts, and what to look out for. Once you’re headed in the right direction, you’ll have someone to call on for guidance when you need it.
For ongoing help with your accounts, look to smart cloud services that save time and automate manual processes. For instance, Concur Business Intelligence allows you to see credit card spending, travel costs, and expenses all in one place.
3. Make a smart plan for the future to keep growing
Once you’ve tackled customer service and are in charge of your finances, make a plan for continual growth. Know where you want to be, and be strategic about how you’ll get there. Since satisfied customers drive growth, take the time to understand them better. What are their pain points? What motivates them?
Ask questions to see how you can improve your current product. Gather feedback from customers, partners, and employees. The more you know, the more you can develop solutions and services that people need and want.
Stick with it – the rewards are worth it
Making a business successful can feel like an impossible task, but with the right tools, it can be done. A recent study from the University of Phoenix shows that the hard work pays off. Up to 96% of small business owners surveyed say they’re glad they started their business, even though 39% of them had their current business come close to failing – and 13% owned a previous business that failed.
As you experience success and failure in your own business, you continue to learn what works and what doesn’t. And that’s valuable wisdom you’ll carry with you forever. By focusing on your customers, getting your finances in order, and carefully planning your next steps forward, you can get closer to your dream of seeing your ideas and sweat equity pay off.