14 Mar Avoid the Madness of March: Keep Your Business in the Game
March Madness—employees updating their brackets on company time, watching the games on some device (there’s an app for that). Only one issue or obstacle to attaining and maintaining a productive workplace. However, the madness of March will eventually end, but obstacles to maximum productivity and business success will remain. Most obstacles can be avoided as they result often from managerial mistakes, outdated ways of thinking, a lack of the latest in technology, and bad habits. Below are a few of the issues—including the ones listed here—facing small businesses today and how to avoid them so you stay in the game, ultimately defeating the competition without dropping the ball.
Tips on How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner
Being an established small-business owner, or an entrepreneur starting a new business takes focus and perseverance. However, there are many obstacles that a business owner will face, as well as important decisions that can make or break a business. Here are a few tips to consider before taking the leap into entrepreneurship.
Ignore the Buzz Stompers
Seems like when you are enthusiastic about making a major life change such as starting your own business, instead of receiving encouragement, most people want to point out all the reasons you can fail. Often this is a reflection of their own fear of failing if they were you. But they aren’t you. You need to stay positive, motivated, and sure of yourself, and keep your distance from those individuals who want to stomp on your entrepreneurial buzz.
Listen With Your Brain and Your Gut
You’ve made it through the first obstacle, i.e., getting past the naysayers, believing in yourself, and establishing your business. Now it is time to focus on the process of building your business. The first obstacle is finding the right people to work with you. Say someone looks good on paper, but when you meet them, what do you feel? Choosing the right people is crucial so recognizing your “feelings” should be taken into account. Some entrepreneurs often hire because of friendship, or a desire to work with buddies you’ve worked with in the past. As you begin the task of starting your business, it’s easy to ignore that little voice that says “don’t do it!” when making a decision on who to fill positions. Perhaps they don’t have the skills you need, or lack experience, or they are just plain not interested in being part of your team. Don’t let questionable hiring criteria be an obstacle to your success. And remember; you are building a team, and it must be functional. So consider how who you hire will fit in with existing staff. It only takes one dysfunctional person to destroy the team.
Don’t let questionable hiring
criteria be an obstacle to your success.
Keep Up With Technology to Improve Marketing
Staying up-to-date with the rapid innovations in technology is enough to drive you mad, and not only in March. But doing so is critical to success. The last thing you want is the other team using new methods to hit the basket every time. There are tactics and strategies to grow a business that have been around for a long time, but don’t work in the digital age. Don’t cling with a white-knuckled grip to outmoded marketing tactics. Consider inbound marketing, HubSpot’s way of thinking that advocates using a range of technological strategies to maximize marketing. These include blogs, podcasts, videos, social media, and content marketing. They essentially replace old-school cold calling, and things like spam—all things annoying to all people. Focus on maintaining an up-to-date website, create meaningful content, and get the help of a professional to ensure that you are optimizing all avenues of marketing. A good marketing strategy will be one that makes a potential customer wanting more. Once they listen to what you have to offer and you take them on as a client, retaining their loyalty is important. Keeping the customer happy is not a serious obstacle if you focus on your customer’s needs and make sure you meet them.
Focus on maintaining an
up-to-date website, create
meaningful content, and get the
help of a professional to
ensure that you are
optimizing all avenues of marketing.
Be Frugal But Know When to Spend
Implementing new technology and maintaining it, along with other business expenses, can be costly. Avoid the temptation to overspend. In fact, keep a small company attitude even as you grow. Say you have a good month, with receivables far exceeding expenditures. Guess what—the next month may not show the same profitability. Always think “save” in case any unexpected situations arise that require a significant capital outlay. Overspending need not pose a problem, or obstacle to growth, if managed properly, particularly if you prioritize spending. Spend on what is necessary to grow in the short- and long term, while maintaining liquidity in case emergency funds are required.
Don’t Let Emotions Dictate Your Pricing
Small business owners often face the obstacle of pricing. On the one hand, you don’t want to charge too much in case you price yourself out of the market. On the other hand, if you charge to little, you might as well pack up and go home. Don’t let your emotions determine what you charge. Keep an eye on the competition and the market. If you are consistently losing potential clients, you need to take a hard look at what may be the problem, which could be you are simply charging too much for what you offer. And, ironically, if you charge too little, many shoppers think what your product or service isn’t worth it because it’s “cheap.” Perhaps asking for feedback from your existing customers could help you determine what needs to be addressed to improve sales. Whatever you do, price with your head, not your heart.
Know Your Business From a Distance
You started your business so you should obviously “know” it better than anyone. However, as your company grows, you will be taking on staff, implementing new procedures, perhaps outsourcing many of your business needs. At some point, you must delegate. It is a big obstacle to overcome for many business owners. They simply can’t hand over some business functions to others. This is also part of hiring the right people. If you manage to put a motivated, talented, and functional staff together, then delegating doesn’t present such a barrier to growth. If you successfully delegate tasks and focus on management and business development and growth, that doesn’t mean you sit in your ivory tower and lose track of what’s happening in the trenches. Micromanaging is a motivational killer; your employees need to feel that they are personally contributing to the business. They need to feel they have their own little empire, running it without the boss looking over their shoulder. Overcome the obstacle of micromanaging, stay on top of the business operations, ensure staff are performing, but stay focused on your responsibility which is to grow the business.
March Madness may come and go, but overcoming obstacles to business growth will always be necessary to keep your business in the game. You can win every time!