By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
11 Strategies to Keep your Small Business Floating above Water
If it’s a challenge to keep your small business from drowning in the current economy, you’re not alone. Profits are problematic everywhere — from advertsing firms to tech startups.
The good news is not all small firms have cash flow issues. You can be confident in knowing that as a small businessperson, you’re an important part of the nation’s economy.
The Small Business Administration’s Web site provides some salient data about the accomplishments of small business:
- They comprise 99.7 percent of all employers
- Employ more than 50 percent of all workers
- Account for 44 percent of the private-sector payroll
- In the last 15 years, created 64 percent of the jobs
- Hired 40 percent of all high-tech employees
- 52 percent are home-based, 2 percent are franchisees
- Responsible for more than 50 percent of the nation’s nonfarm private gross domestic product
- Constitute 97.3 percent of all exporters and 30.2 percent of the dollar value
- Generate 13 times more patents than their big-business counterparts
For successful small firms, strong cash flow doesn’t just happen. They’ve got a system. They plan and swim with precision.
Here are tips to stay afloat:
- Start by writing a gratitude list. Digest and relish what’s working in your career and life. Beleaguered business owners spend too much time worrying about what’s not working. This includes little things like consistently saying thank you to your customers, vendors and employees. Forget the hackneyed phrase, “Have a nice day.” An attitude of gratitude will help brighten each day and will make you more receptive to new ideas.
- Chances are you’re feeling disorganized. Write a to-do list of day-to-day priorities. Focus on just one thing at a time. Scratch each accomplishment off the list.
- Feeling burned out is also a common symptom. Start an affirmation list of your qualities – personal and business. Daily review it and remind yourself of your qualities. No item is too small to list.
- In cash flow, practice the two Ms – monitor and manage. Take inventory of your situation. Assess where you are by performing a break-even analysis. Predict spending and what trivial expenses can be cut. Make sure, though, you don’t cut muscle – marketing and human resources. Treat your employees as human capital. And make sales and marketing an important part of every day.
- Understand how your business should profitably function with business processes, and what is truly necessary for your survival. That, of course, includes key performance indicators (KPI), setting goals and measuring results. KPIs will range from products to customer satisfaction.
- Network. Develop strategic partners to save costs and to promote your business. Be seen as a team player. Promote your industry. By building up your profession, you will help yourself. Become the go-to person in the eyes of the community and news media. Besides, it’s true that rising tides raise all boats. Do something positive when your public officials compensate for revenue decreases by creatively increasing fees and taxes, which hurt the economic climate. With like-minded businesspeople, speak out. By brightening your small-business economic environment, cash flow will turn green for everyone, including you. Picture yourself not being uptight about money – there’s enough to go around. Just look out for your industry and company.
- When feasible, use the three Rs – recycle, reuse and reduce. Unlike a large business, you don’t have big cash reserves and customer base. Leverage all the possible money-saving tools in your business and personal life.
- Stay focused. Fine-tune as you go, but in general, stick with your roadmap. Don’t panic and steer off course. There are no magical miracles or detours. If you’ve done your strategic planning, don’t engage in worry or self-doubt. Do the planned footwork.
- Look for opportunities to multiply your sources of revenue. That includes buying out competitors, especially, if you get a favorable price, terms, and valuable talent. Check with your CPA to see if a leveraged buyout is workable. You’ll save cash flow.
- Take advantage of technology. Staying current on technology will help you save time and money while increasing revenue. The more mobile you are, the more competitive you’ll become.
- Look around to help someone less fortunate than you. It will help you keep a smile on your face. Customers, vendors and employees will love it.
Use these basics, and you, too, will stay afloat. Moreover, you’ll enjoy the swim.
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s more on how to make money with four options for soaring profits.
“I don’t like money actually, but it quiets the nerves.”
-Joe E. Lewis
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.