Being small business owners can be exciting, nerve wracking and challenging. Navigating the shifts in the global and local economy, from changes in product and consumer trends to currency fluctuations and financial insecurities is a tricky and time-consuming task. Seartec takes a look at some of the biggest challenges small business owners face today –and makes a few suggestions on how to overcome them.
Balancing quality with growth
Business growth can mean a better return on investment, better profits and more security. However, growing too quickly can be a burden and not a blessing. It can result in more complex day-to-day operations, a strain on resources and over-promising and under-delivering. As small business owners, customer relationship management is crucial and building a reputation can be compromised if your growth results in compromised service delivery or the quality of your product. You can manage growth by having a solid framework for how to manage growth: examine what resources would be needed to maintain your current standards and when/how these can be acquired; consider the regulatory and tax implications of growing your business; and be prepared to disengage from the day-to-day processes in order to manage the business more effectively as a whole, which means employing the correct people to fill in the gaps.
Building customer loyalty
The cornerstone of any successful business, small or large, is the ability to not only attract, but retain customers. Consistently delivering a high quality product or service is important but in an increasingly competitive environment, you cannot rely on that to retain your customer base. Do research on who your clients are, and what they are looking for. Whether it is an innovative rewards programme, added convenience in the form of home deliveries or extended hours, or comprehensive after-sales service, there are value-adds that you can identify and provide to keep your customers coming back to your business.
Finding the right people
As small business owners, knowing that the right staff members are invested in your business, understand your vision and are committed to making it work is a very important aspect. Finding people like this, who can be trusted with the valuable task of helping your business to thrive, is not an easy task. Take extra care when hiring and carefully evaluate potential employees. Once employed, nurture staff members and provide them with strong guidance and mentorship so that they feel empowered to perform their roles effectively. A good strategy is to put a solid and comprehensive HR policy in place so that problems can be managed if they do arise.
Money will always be the biggest consideration and concern for a small business owner. Being able to maintain cash flow while making purchases to equip and run the business can be extremely difficult. Plan for the worst case scenario and have enough in reserve to weather the lean times. When making purchasing decisions do the research. Compare prices and specifications, as well as looking at functionality and quality. A cheaper piece of technology that under-performs or needs to be replaced soon is a false economy – investing in better quality may be a sounder decision in the long run. Don’t be afraid to negotiate contract terms with sales consultants as they may be able to give you a good package deal or competitive finance options to help preserve cash flow. Seartec has a number of leading-edge Sharp products available that suit the requirements and budget of a small business owner. From basic cash registers to more sophisticated point of sale systems that can make controlling sales and inventory easier and more accurate, to multi-function copiers and printer that function as the hub of an office by copying, printing, faxing and scanning, Seartec can recommend products that are right for your business. Seartec will also take an individualised approach to your business needs and offers flexible rental and finance options.
Running a small business may be challenging, but with the right partners and a good strategy, as well as a level head, there is plenty of opportunity for businesses to prosper and succeed.
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