Running a business is no bed of roses.
If it were that easy, everyone would be a successful businessperson. It is even more difficult to be an effective business owner, as one wrong decision, especially during tough times, can eventually impact the sustainability of the business. That is not to say that a business would not have trying times, but it is up to the capabilities of the business owner to get through these tough times.
Therefore, it is imperative that business owners possess or read up on the essential know-how to manage one’s business effectively. The downs of a business can also be a valuable learning experience and also an opportunity for business owners to thrive under pressure.
In this article, we will talk about things you can do as a business owner to weather through tough times.
- Increase sales initiatives
This is a no-brainer. It is the most logical solution but some business owners get stuck at this step. It makes perfect sense as your business needs revenue to stay afloat and sales would put food on your table. The worse thing one could do is to do nothing. Most business owners fall prey to this due to fear and this makes the situation worse.
It is time to ramp up your business and push through the hard times, as the saying goes “as the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. At times, getting new customers and clients might be easier than you think and that may make you feel better personally. It also helps in regaining your confidence in handling your business better during hard times.
In terms of scoring deals, firstly, one should not blame the economy and make it an excuse to do nothing and leave it to fate. As business owners, you should maintain a good attitude in handling the situation. Know that it is not anyone’s fault and one should swiftly adapt to these changes. You can also take this time to hone your selling skill. Instead of babbling away about what your company does and what not, focus on explaining how your products can benefit them or their situation. If your products can save money, give the exact figures. Decision-makers don’t stop making purchases; however, they do expect more in terms of value.
Don’t just sell to anyone, as that would be the same as selling to no one. What one can do is to refine one’s prospecting efforts. If you aren’t sure who your customers are, then take a good look at your existing customers and mirror their traits to look for new potential customers.
- Try new business initiatives
Firstly, stop doing something that doesn’t work. Secondly, go out of your comfort zone and try something new for your business.
The phrase “Stop doing what isn’t working” sounds logical and makes perfect sense, yet many business owners still neglect this fact. Some even continue to do things that aren’t working until their business fails. One should always be on top of their game by doing things that work and change things that don’t. Only then will you slowly improve and develop your business, and you would be clear on what does and does not work for your business.
Secondly, a business should always take risks and try new things. The world is changing and people are always chasing trends and advancement. It is the same case for your business. If your business is not relevant to today’s society, your business will slowly die out. Therefore, it is crucial to keep up with the times. New markets and trends will also rise due to hard times, so keep a lookout.
- Upgrade your business
Turbulent times also means that it’s time for a change in your business. Give it a fresh coat of paint or reinvest in your business. After all, people are attracted to novelty and new concepts from a business. If the new venture is successful, then it’s a good thing! If it does not take off as expected, then you will gain a valuable experience!
You can even start to build a web page or change the layout of your website, tout your business on a few top social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or direct people to your website by writing articles.
- Consolidate relationship with current customers
Many business owners forget about servicing their existing customers when a crisis hits, and this would do more harm than good to the business. This should not be the case as it is harder to gain new customers during tough times, and business owners would need to give more reason for current customers to choose your business and come back.
One of the ways to maintain current customers is to improve your customer service and go the extra mile. It does not necessarily mean to sell more of your products to them, but helping them and connecting them with experts in different fields, or helping them on a project and recommending other resources. Your existing customers are more likely to remember your good deeds when you do more than just sell. That would also increase the rate of word-of-mouth. In other words, giving your customers added value.
- Improve cash flow
Most of the time, a business faces difficulties due to cash flow problems. Mismanagement of funds can lead to insufficient cash flow for the business and eventually the downfall of the business if the issue is not taken care of properly.
For an in-depth view on how to improve your business’s cash flow, go here to read more: http://blog.fsbolt.com/2018/06/05/tips-to-improve-business-cash-flow/
A common solution to a cash flow problem would be to apply for a business loan, either from banks or other non-financial institutes such as FS Bolt. A bank loan would be harder to get unless your business’s financial standing is very solid and stable. For more information on the available bank loans for SME, kindly go here.
If you have been rejected for a bank loan before, you can try Singapore’s fastest mobile loan application – FS Bolt. For a quick injection of up to SGD 50,000 loan and an approval period of only 2 hours, you’ll be sure to receive your needed funds by the next day. FS Bolt requires only minimal documentation as compared to banks’ required documentation in Singapore.
Other tips aside from getting a loan to improve your business’s cash flow capacity are to make budget cuts and get paid more quickly. Budget cuts can come from things that your business can operate without. Doing this can also improve one’s confidence in regaining control of the situation. As for getting paid quickly, you can look at all your receivables and call up your customers to ask if they can pay you earlier. Do throw in a discount for early repayment as this will encourage people to pay early.
- Revisit your financial statements and reports
Going through your financial reports and statements will give you an eagle’s eye view of your business’s performance. It can quickly tell you what aspects of your business is doing well and what is not. It also allows you to make better-informed business decisions.
To avoid common financial report mistakes business owners make, go here to read more.
Other strategies you can implement to your business after reviewing your financial report are to:
– Focus on sales that give you the highest margin
– Don’t discount on low margin products and services
– Don’t discount unless you can achieve the same or better gross profit through increased sales volume
- Find a mentor
If you know someone who has ample business experience or who has dealt with a similar situation, it is best to consult them for advice. They may know how to manage a business and as a business owner, you would be able to learn from them.
They can also provide tips to improve your business or to avoid unwanted conflicts.
- Beware of who you spend your time with
You are advised to stay away from people who spread negativity, including close friends. This may seem cruel but it is for the best. One can be easily influenced by the people around them. As Jim Rohn puts it, ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’
These people only focus on what they haven’t got as opposed to what they have and they will tend to focus on the problem rather than using the time to find the solution.
Hence, one should surround themselves with positive, proactive and energetic business owners who are too busy to get caught up in the misery brigade.
This will reset your mindset to think alike with the proactive and optimistic business owners so that you may be able to better manage your business.
- Never stop marketing
This is also another mistake business owners make when facing hard times, and that is to cut off the marketing budget or stop marketing efforts. It may look viable from the outside but this is a step in the wrong direction.
Since many businesses shut off their advertising efforts during tough times, this also means that your competitors might not be advertising at this time. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to increase your marketing efforts to your competitor’s audiences. Besides, with the marketing sphere being less cluttered, your marketing efforts may stand a better chance to be noticed and exposed.
Don’t worry if your prospects are not buying from you yet, as they may not have the money to make a buying decision right now. But when you increase your visibility, you may just give them a reason to buy from you.
When one is faced with a difficult business situation, be it the economic downturn or your business is just purely not doing well, do not beat yourself up for it. Instead, focus on the root of the problem and try to solve it. Take a step back and learn from the experience. You can also ask yourself, “What would you do differently next time?” or “What can I do to be sure that I can avoid that situation?”
Being able to survive through turbulent times makes you wiser and your business stronger.
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