Do you want to boost your profits, grow your customer base, and increase brand awareness? Every business owner does. But many new businesses underperform and eventually fail because their owners don’t know which actions to take and why. To ensure future success, you need to manage resources well, encourage innovation, and create a powerful brand.
Develop a Compelling Brand
Unless you plan to develop a product or service that no one has yet heard of, you’re going to face intense competition before you even open your doors. Develop a compelling brand to stand out from the competition in a crowded marketplace. To be compelling and memorable, your brand and message should:
- Be clear — Use language that lets your target customer know the exact benefits of using your product or service. If your business is a convenience store, for example, a clear marketing slogan might read “Your favorite brands are just around the corner” to let your target market know they don’t have to go across town to get the products they love.
- Offer value — Instead of discounting your products and services, which may cause you to lose money, give your customers and clients more than they ask for. People love getting free stuff, so if you sell merchandise, collaborate with your vendors to get free samples to give away. If you sell a service, offer to do a little extra for your customer at no charge. Calling a customer to better understand their needs adds value to your service and makes your brand compelling in the minds of consumers.
Maintain Good Records
New businesses lose money daily by failing to maintain good records. No matter how small your business, paper receipts, invoices, sales agreements, and time sheets get lost. Using versatile cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting software ensures that you don’t lose track of your finances. Here are some ways cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting software can help your business succeed.
- Expenses — Track expenses in real time so that you’re always prepared for tax time. The QuickBooks Online mobile app even lets you photograph receipts and save them straight to your account files.
- Invoicing — Enter all customer details, job specifications, and charges into the software to send invoices on time. Cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting software can also send out reminders to clients to help you get paid on time.
- Run reports — Transfer sales data to spreadsheets that show your business’s cash flow, inventory levels, and number of clients. You can also pull reports to determine your business’s corporate income tax.
Get Cash Flowing Fast
New businesses need cash. To build up your cash reserves quickly, ask clients who buy your services for deposits upfront and final payment due on delivery. This gets operating cash in your bank account quickly so you can pay bills when they’re due. In your retail business, offer highly sought-after, high-ticket items that other retailers don’t have. Taking special orders for items not in stock for a 50 percent deposit is an effective way to boost cash flow in your first weeks in business. Selling continuity prodcuts, such as subscriptions, software, and memberships, is another way to bring money into your business fast.
Innovation moves a business forward quickly. While you might not turn your industry on its head, continual creative thinking can help you achieve breakthroughs in your own business. Ask yourself “Who’s the best person for this job?” or “Why did that customer buy that particular product?” to encourage innovative approaches to hiring staff, creating marketing materials, and even decorating your business premises.
Foster a culture of innovation that encourages your employees to use their strengths. Maintaining such a culture requires removing physical and psychological barriers that might prevent employees from approaching and sharing their ideas with you.
Using up too much of your cash on hand can put your business in jeopardy. Test everything that requires big expenditures to avoid this pitfall.
Here’s how testing works: Say you want to buy online ads, but you’re concerned that they’re too expensive. Knowing your target market is key to success. But if you haven’t opened your doors yet, you might not have your target market clearly identified.
Begin the process of honing your target market by paying small amounts of money to test ads on social media platforms among certain demographics. Your social media and website analytics should reveal which ads are successful. Once you know that, in the future, buy only those ads. Spending a small amount in testing allows you to save over the long term.
You can test potential employees as well. Offer temporary contracts of a few weeks or months at first and see how job candidates perform. Once you know which employees perform well and adapt to your company culture, you’ll make wise decisions about who should get a longer-term contract.
Business success is a marathon and not a sprint. Focusing on innovation, cash flow, and brand, as well as testing your choices, can help to ensure your company’s longevity.