10 Crucial Tips For Small Business Owners
Productivity

10 Crucial Tips For Small Business Owners

By
Derek Abram
|
CEO of Prio
|
7 min read

Being a small business owner is no easy task. You may think once you’ve all the registration, licensing, and documentation in place, you’ll be ready to rake in the moolah. However, that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Unlike large enterprises, small businesses do not have the luxury of huge budgets, multiple departments, and more than ample staff. This means you as a small business owner will need to pay close attention to every aspect of running the business, all while constantly nurturing and monitoring your team, irrespective of how small that team may be.

In fact, a lot of small businesses find it easier to hire freelancers than to hire and build an in-house team. That, however, doesn’t reduce the amount of responsibility you will need to deal with.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Well, worry not, because we’re going to help you stay on top of things with these 10 crucial tips for small business owners. 

10 tips for SMB owners

With the small business tips we’ve listed below, we’re going to address some of the most important aspects that will help you streamline processes and run your SMB more efficiently.

Stay organized

Staying organized is essential to run a successful business irrespective of size, and more so when you as an SMB owner who’s responsible for practically everything.

To begin with, make sure you have all your official documents and licenses organized so that you can produce them whenever demanded. It would also be prudent for you to keep a track of every customer and transaction that takes place. 

Transaction invoices are important when the time comes for you to file your taxes, and client records can be very useful for targeted marketing efforts.

Being organized will also help you set and stick to deadlines more efficiently. You will always know what your team is working on, and what resources can be allocated to which tasks. As a result, you will be able to drive customer satisfaction.

Another important bit of small business advice is to always plan ahead. That way, whether it is to run an email campaign, plan social media advertisements or ensure project deliveries, you will not need to depend on last-minute decisions. 

A great place to start is to plan for your next day the previous night before you shut shop.

Build a strong team

Being a one-man army is impossible, even if you work yourself to the bone. There are always bound to be areas that you are not adept at. 

Earmark those areas, and hire people to handle those tasks for you. Of course, you may not be able to hire full-time employees immediately, but you could easily put together a team of freelancers, to begin with.

Once you have a team in place, be sure to impress upon them their role in the grander scheme of things, how their deliverables will affect the organization, and encourage a sense of ownership towards their responsibilities.

With time, you will find that by doing so, you will have more time to concentrate on actually building your business instead of getting bogged down by the sheer amount of work it takes to simply keep it afloat. 

Automate processes

There are plenty of redundant chores that you could automate and save a lot of money. For example, you could automate sending out simple responses to customer queries using a bot on your website. You could pre-schedule your social posts and have them go live automatically. 

An efficient HRMS tool will help you automate aspects of your hiring process, payroll management, and a lot more.

You could also automate creating invoices for your regular vendors by using Prio’s invoicing tool, which allows you to preload information, create templates and automatically have them ready for approval once you have set up a schedule.

Study your competitors

Irrespective of your industry, you are bound to have competitors that are doing better than you. Utilize this as an opportunity to dissect what they’re doing better and how they’re doing it.

For example, we all know that social media marketing is key to the success of any brand. Keep an eye on your competitors’ social media campaigns, and observe aspects like what type of content they’re putting out, how often they put out new content, if their target audience is the same as yours, and whether they are reaching their target audience organically or not.

You also ought to take a closer look at their product or service as well, and figure out what their value add or edge is if it exists at all. And finally, observe how they run their business, trying to glean what their strengths and weaknesses are.

All of this information will help you compare it to how you run your business, and make changes to improve aspects that may be lacking. 

Build a great website

While a brick-and-mortar business is just fine, an online presence is a must-have in today’s economic environment. Your business website is now no longer a novelty but is essentially the center of your business.

There are plenty of e-commerce website builders that will help get your business website up and running in no time. Here are some handy tips for you to keep in mind while building your website.

  • Spend time coming up with branding that is unique to your business. This includes your logo, fonts, and unique colors.
  • Try to avoid websites with multiple pop-ups and banner ads.
  • Invest in SEO, because you want your website to have visibility.
  • Ensure even first-time visitors to your website can easily understand the value proposition you’re offering.
  • Invest in well-written product descriptions, replete with high-quality images (steer clear of stock images), key features, product benefits, and stories, wherever possible.

Create unique content

Make sure all the content you put up on social media is unique to your business, and not something you got off the internet. 

If you run a small clothing brand, for example, your target audience will be much more convinced that you are a brand they can wear if you use your friends to model your designs, showcasing different body types and skin tones, as opposed to professional models.

Similarly, your Instagram stories and pictures ought to be about your employees, your business, and your real-life customer interactions as opposed to stock images. 

The reason for this is that people find it easier to relate to real people than to the ‘make-believe, everything’s perfect’ type of scenarios that a lot of advertisements try peddling to us.

Focus on customer experience

We’ve all seen those boards in old stores that read “The customer is king.” That holds true in a lot of ways because without paying customers, your business would not exist. 

Making sure your customers have a great experience with your brand should be a key area of focus for every SMB entrepreneur.

There are many different ways you can enhance your customer experience. Try to ensure that whenever your customer reaches out to you during business hours, they are interacting with a flesh and blood person instead of an AI bot. Personal attention goes a long way in ensuring brand recall.

Another thing that is sure to enhance your customer experience is by integrating your online store with your physical store as much as possible. For example, if a customer has a product they have in their basket online, but decides to see it in your store before making a purchase, it would help if you had the same product in stock.

Customers are also a lot more appreciative of your efforts if you give them regular updates about your progress on their projects/orders. It makes them feel more involved, and they will be more likely to be sympathetic if there are any delays.

One factor that often makes or breaks brands is the way they handle negative feedback. If you find a customer leaving you a negative review, or complaining about your product or service, listen to them, understand their point of view, and see how best you can address their problem. 

This will hold you in good stead, and may even make them a long-standing repeat customer.

Omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing goes a lot deeper than just putting out content on multiple social media channels. It deals with customizing content to fit different social media platforms, and then figuring out how to leverage each of those platforms to increase your brand’s reach.

However, while content will need to be customized according to the platform, the underlying theme, branding, and message must be consistent across all platforms. 

Track your finances

Keeping a tight rein on finances is crucial to ensure your business does not run out of money, especially during the early days of running a business. This will require you to have a baseline against which you can compare your actual expenses against forecast expenses.

The difference between the two will show you what you’re doing right or wrong with managing finances. If your actual expenses are higher, work backward and figure out what the cause was for that extra expenditure.

It may be saving money by doing something in-house that works out cheaper than using an external resource, for example, or vice versa too. You could be investing in tools that aren’t being used. You could be undertaking redundant chores that are eating into your productive hours.

Once you have discovered what the gaps are, you will need to be merciless in addressing them and saving your business money.

Network

Whether you’re looking at improving the way you run your business or at bringing in new clients, networking is the key. By interacting with your industry peers, you will have insights into best practices that drive these businesses and may lead to new business opportunities as well.

In today’s business world, the internet is the best place to network. Look for and join forums related to your industry. 

Always remember, every relationship is about giving and taking. So, if you want information, you must be ready to participate in conversations on these forums, and even offer guidance in your area of expertise whenever it is possible.

Conclusion

As the owner of a small business, things may often seem difficult to manage and you may feel like throwing in the towel. 

However, keep in mind that even the largest organizations started with a dream and a shoestring budget. 

With perseverance, good business ethics, and a little bit of luck, things will surely start looking up for you as well. In the meantime, make use of the 10 tips for small business owners we’ve listed above to keep your business on track.

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