Posts

Protecting Your Small Business: How to Cover the Basics

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleThe market offers a lot of opportunities for small businesses to thrive at the moment. There are more chances to expand than ever before, despite many market uncertainties. You have the internet turning the world into one global market and allowing you to tap into more potential customers.

Rapid growth, however, should never blind you from establishing a strong foundation for your small business. As tempting as growing at an incredibly pace may be, your business will not survive market challenges when it doesn’t have the basics covered properly. You need to protect your small business and there are several things you can do to get started.

Understand the Laws

One of the first things you need to do when you want to establish a strong foundation for your small business is understanding the laws. We’re not just talking about the local laws that govern the city you are in. You need to take the time to understand the laws in different markets you are operating in.

There are several things you want to dig into. First, you need to understand the employment law of the city you are in and other areas in which you plan to hire employees. You also want to get yourself accustomed to the financial laws.

Once you have these two basics covered, venture into other areas of the law that also affect your business, including marketing and advertising law and intellectual property law. These regulations affect how you can protect and market your products and services in different markets.

Understanding the law isn’t always easy. There may be jargon and specific regulations that you cannot understand even when you try. This is where having a good business lawyer comes in handy. Your lawyer can help draft the contracts you make and keep your business in compliance with the law at all times.

Protect Your Assets

Next, you need to start thinking about protecting your assets. Assets are valuable resources that every small business leans on at different times. The office you use, the office equipment you bought when you first started your business, the cash and financing options you have, employees filling key roles, and other assets of your business are equally important and are worth protecting.

For most tangible assets, you have insurance options to look into. A building insurance plan can help protect your investments and equipment. Business insurance offers coverage against interruptions, allowing your small business to remain healthy even in bad situations.

Other insurance policies protect the business against liabilities. Workers insurance, for example, is designed to not only keep employees covered but also to protect the business from financial risks associated with workplace accidents. You can even go a step further and provide additional insurance coverage for employees.

Speaking of going a step further, many small businesses now take active steps towards protecting their key employees. While business lawyers help protect your business from legal matters, you can have a team of lawyers on the side of your employees when they face their own legal problems. Advocates like the experts you can find on this website are worth retaining.

Work on Your Cash Flow

Cash flow is king. The only way your small business can grow is by maintaining a healthy cash flow at all times; well, at most times at least. Cash flow dictates how you handle expenses and income. When you have a healthy cash flow, you can keep up with expenses without an issue. An unhealthy cash flow, on the other hand, often leads to bigger financial issues for the small business.

Market uncertainties certainly make creating and maintaining good cash flow harder, but it is not an impossible thing to do. You just have to be smart about balancing your expenses with your income.

Timing is everything. Earning $20,000 from a project is great, but the amount isn’t as useful when you have $15,000 worth of expenses to pay before your invoice for that project clears. You will end up with $15,000 worth of expenses that you cannot cover, causing a serious disruption to your business cash flow.

Fortunately, you also have more financing options to utilize these days. Short-term loans, long-term financing, and project-based advances are some of the financial instruments you can use to keep your business running smoothly while you wait for the big invoices to clear.

Diversify Whenever Possible

Another thing you want to do to further strengthen the business is diversifying. Relying on a single source of income isn’t how you survive a competitive market. You need to find additional revenue streams so that the business can continue to operate smoothly in different situations.

Additional revenue streams don’t need to come from a separate business entity or another operation. Adding a product that is aimed at different market segments is a good start. Diversifying is also achievable when you cater to online and offline customers. These two groups of customers behave differently and complement each other.

Some small business owners even go as far as developing passive revenue sources for their businesses. Similar to financing options, you also have more investment instruments to add to your portfolio. For instance, you can rent out a portion of your office that you don’t need to other businesses. You are basically generating passive revenue on your asset.

Proceed with Care

Running a small business means taking a lot of risks along the way. When that big order comes in, your instinct will tell you to grab it right away. This is a good mindset to be in, but that doesn’t mean you should make reckless decisions.

With every decision you make, be sure to calculate your risks and explore ways to manage them. You need to be extra careful with every step you take, even when you are certain that the step is good for the business.

Risk management is a natural part of running a small business. When you know how to manage your risks properly, implementing the tips we covered in this article and turning your small business into a big success is easy to do.

Tips For Running A More Efficient Business

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution ArticleThe less time and energy you waste on a daily basis, the more smoothly your business will run and the more you’ll get done. Run a more efficient business when you pay attention to a few aspects in particular and are proactive about making changes to how you’re currently functioning.

You’ll thank yourself down the road for the hard work you put in now to increase productivity and create a better working environment. You’ll likely be able to retain staff for a longer period of time and satisfy your clients more when you focus on this very important part of running a business.

Identify the Gaps & What Isn’t Working

You can’t improve your company if you’re unsure of what is and isn’t working as it currently stands. Take time to identify the gaps and pinpoint exactly what needs tweaking and where you’re falling short. For example, it could be that you don’t offer proper training for your employees or customers are complaining about the service and support you’re providing. Run a more efficient business when you can tackle critical initiatives and do a better job delivering on your promise.

Learn How to Delegate

It can be difficult to want to give up the control when you’re a business owner, but it’s necessary if you want to grow and develop over the years. You have to learn how to delegate and remove some responsibilities off your plate if you want to have time to focus on your business objectives. For instance, hire a company such as Tax Return to step in and take care of your taxes when the time rolls around for completing this task. Also, hire an assistant who you can count on to take care of items on your to-do list that take up a lot of time.

Define Roles & Responsibilities

When your staff is confused about what they should be doing at work each day your business will suffer. Run a more efficient business by clearly defining and communicating specific roles and responsibilities that each person is in charge of handling. Create teams and departments and assign leaders and managers to help you keep track of various projects and make sure you’re always hitting your deadlines.

Take Advantage of Technology

Refusing to get onboard with technology is only hindering your company progress and keeping you from reaching your full potential. Take advantage of the recent advancements in technology to help you bring your assignments online so you can file share and work remotely. Also, use it to allow you to test out new products and services and innovate, so you’re able to keep up with and even surpass your competition.

Conclusion

Efficiency matters a great deal when it comes to running a better business. Use these suggestions as a starting point for how you can get more done each day and keep your employees and clients happy. It’s a challenge you can overcome if you stay focused and are willing to adopt new habits for how you work.

Make a Small Business Feel Much Bigger

So you own a small business. And when you say “small business”, you mean small. Real small. Small enough to be intimidated by the much larger business sharks out there. Maybe you’re just a small group of people working from home on the same project. Maybe you’re even one or two people running the entire thing from a bedroom! However small your small business is, there are things you can do to increase your stature.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of David Mulder via flickr

Just because you’re not a massive company with vast riches, it doesn’t mean you can’t sit at the same table. You can get many of the same opportunities if you play your cards right. The best thing to do, if you’re a little anxious about the size of your company, is to make it look bigger. It’s true that some prospective clients or partners will be reluctant to work with really small businesses. So here are some tips that will help your company seem much bigger than it is.

Build an amazing website

A surefire way of detecting a really small business is by looking at their website. If the design is basic, haphazard or messy, then it can be a dead giveaway. The fact is that your website is how many people are going to be introduced to your business. It can’t look like something a newbie to Geocities or Freewebs might have come with.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Look at the websites that bigger companies are using. They’re sleek, modern, easy-to-use, innovative. You want to spend time on them just because they’re a pleasure to visit. Consider working with a web design agency to ensure a professional look.

Get a prestigious address

A company that works in the heart of big business city is going to look more attractive to potential customers. If your office address is in the middle of some suburb on the outskirts of town, then people will know you’re pretty small fry. That, of course, shouldn’t reflect on the quality of your service. But people may make their judgements nonetheless. This is why you should consider working with commercial movers such as myBekins. If you can get your business into the big commercial cities of your country, then you’re going to have a lot more prestige to work with!

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Dun.can via flickr

If you don’t have the resources for a direct move, you can use a virtual address. This is an address in a desired business location that you can use as your official address.

Become incorporated

Incorporation is the process of officially forming a company with the government. Of course, you will have had to have declared yourself as a company to your national revenue service in order to get taxed correctly. This isn’t all there is to do, though.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

If you get your company registered officially as a limited company, this can make all the difference. You will officially be a company, with the ‘LTD’ tag and everything! This can help your business look a lot stronger on your website and other relevant copy. This can affect the amount of tax you’re paying, though. It will usually affect it for the better, but you might want to consult an accountant before taking this step.

When You’re Faced With A Frustrating Business Problem, There’s Always A Solution

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pexels

No matter how good we are in our business, or how well we can do our jobs, there are sometimes problems that we’re faced with. Some will be easy to remedy, but others will be much harder. Then, when you’re faced with a frustrating business problem, you can feel like it’s impossible to solve, or that you’re never going to get the time to tackle it head on. But, don’t let that put you off. When it comes to overcoming your business obstacles, there are easy solutions to most – you just have to know how to handle them. So, take some of these solutions and see if they work for you.

Not Having Enough Hands

Firstly, you may find that you just don’t have enough hands to get all of your business tasks done. This can definitely be the case when you provide a service to customers, and you spend a lot of your day with customers or clients. But, there is a way that you can gain more hands – or more time. And that would be to start outsourcing tasks to a virtual assistant, so they can get them done for you. Whether it’s admin, emails or processing invoices, you can have a lot of work done for you.

Losing Custom

Then, there is the kind of problems you face when you lose customers. Now, you may not always know why it’s happening, but that’s your first fault. To find a solution, you have to be able to figure out why you are losing them to get them back, or gain new ones. Sometimes you need to be able to improve your customer service or even the quality of your product or service. And then there’s also the option of pushing your marketing efforts too.

Not Being In The Office 24/7

When you can’t be in the office all day every day (because you do have to go home and have a social life too), it can be frustrating. If you’re missing calls, it can drive you crazy. But, instead of spending time playing catch up, you should look into options for answering calls after hours to save the frustrations. You should do the same for an online chat service or answer emails if you get a lot of contact via those two methods too.

Falling Behind

Sometimes, when you’re business, you realize that you’re starting to fall behind. It can be tough because you’re not sure how you’re going to find the time to keep up. But, just like outsourcing your admin tasks, you may need to look into innovative business options that can keep on top of things for you. You may find that automated online process means that you never fall behind the business trends.

Struggling To Find Investors

And finally, it can be super frustrating when you want to grow your business, and your business is ready to expand, but you just need the cash. So, you’re on the look out for investors, but how do you find them? You may find that you can pitch to different investors using online platforms, as well as considering selling stocks in the traditional route, to give you lots of options.