Making sure your small business succeeds in a competitive market or during an economic downturn can be challenging, but there are several things you can do to keep things on track. Small businesses across all industries face many challenges when the economic climate changes, when new competitors move into the market, or when there are few resources available.
As a small business owner, I’ve found that one of the keys to success is to create a financial plan and project revenue at the beginning of each quarter. Planning ahead makes it much easier to meet or exceed my revenue goals, and also helps me make effective decisions when problems arise.
Use these five tips to ensure your small business succeeds no matter what challenges you face each quarter:
1. Know your market. Take the time to learn – really learn – about your target market and what your customers want. Your target market’s core needs and wants will help you create effective and impactful marketing campaigns, and also help you develop a solid advertising strategy that gets results.
2. Keep track of your expenses. Make sure your monthly and quarterly expenses are within your budget so that running out of money doesn’t become a problem for you. Not tracking your expenses accurately, and not planning for larger purchases can put you in debt very quickly and make it very difficult to recover. Keep close tabs on all of your expenditures so that you always have plenty of financial resources available.
3. Hire quality people. Unless you’re running a business on your own, you’ll need to build a team that is aligned with your goals. Make sure that every person you hire is a quality candidate and has a lot to contribute to your business. Don’t hire people that will just “do the job” because they probably won’t last very long in the position. Focus on hiring the person who is ready to go above and beyond their standard job duties.
4. Build a solid business plan. No matter what type of business you’re running, it can be very helpful to develop a solid business plan. Your business plan will serve as a guide or blueprint as you make key decisions and continue to grow. The business plan needs to include your mission statement, information about your target market, details about the competition, and your revenue projections and goals.
5. Get a good mentor. Working with a mentor will help you resolve common problems you’ll face as a small business owner and can even inspire you when things get tough. If you don’t have the resources to hire a mentor, turn to local entrepreneurial organizations or your area SCORE office for help.