Episode 92 “Business Owners Biggest Challenges Series 2 of 3”
BOM Call Episode 91 – Business Owners Biggest Challenges Series
2 of 3
Over the last few months I have taken the time to interview business owners and find out the biggest challenges they face today. Last week I discussed cash flow issues, having too much overhead and finding and retaining customers, so you have enough not only to have a very successful business but enough personal finances as well!
WELCOME to Business Owner Challanges call series 2 of 3. I am going to share my expertise and skills to address challenges, and provide you with the best possible outcomes.
We live in rapidly changing times, especially for businesses. Consider that, in a single generation, businesses have had to adapt to entirely new marketing channels (web and social), decide how to invest in and utilize new technologies, and compete on a global stage.
Let’s Get to Work! Here are the top 6 challenges business owners are facing today and ideas how to tackle them:
1. Cash Flow Issues (Disussed in Series 1)
Money problems in their various forms are top of most lists of company woes, and for small businesses the major worries are clients stalling payments, unexpected outgoings, and outstanding bills that won’t wait to be paid.
There are some tried and tested money management tools that can help you to manage cashflow, multi-talented apps that can create budgets, automate bill payments, alert you to unusual outgoings and provide a free credit score.
Using online invoices and reminders is also a powerful way to persuade reluctant clients to part with money. There is great software out there that can do this for you, including Hiveage, which provides free invoicing and can accept payments and automatically charge clients.
2. Tiredness or Burnout (I will be going over this on 11/1 Tuesday’s call)
It’s tempting to try to do everything if you’re a small business owner, and long hours add pressure. Fatigue can leave you disorganised, forgetful and in a bad mood, not paying as much attention to clients as you should, and making mistakes.
Business owners have to pace themselves, which includes embracing strategic delegation, something that for any highly motivated individual isn’t an easy ask. Start by identifying business elements that don’t require your expertise, such as mailing, and take on an assistant, even part-time, to help out – after all, it’s an investment that frees you up to do what you do best!
You could also consider delegating tasks that are outside your skillset to specialists, such as accountants or legal experts – the results will likely be more professional and can save you endless headaches.
You could also invest in automation of simple functions, for instance by using customer service apps like Zendesk, or financial management solutions like NetSuite.
It’s important to get on top of these things, because taking time out is critical for your health and wellbeing, not to mention family relationships. Get into the habit of segmenting your day – analyze when and how you work best, the time you’d like to put into leisure or family, and create schedules that identify key activities and how long they’re likely to take.
3. Finding and Retaining Profitable Customers (Discussed on last BOM call – REMEMBER YOUR BEST REVENUE WILL COME FROM ALREADY ESTABLISHED CLIENTS)!!!
There is a business adage that you need customers with a problem only you can solve, and it’s for you to identify that unique selling point and communicate it clearly to your would-be customers.
You can start by researching your customer base, and identifying the characteristics of your existing best customers (those with the highest volume of sales, and the most repeat custom). Make sure you integrate into this analysis any costs associated with particular customers, so you have a clear view of their net value to you.
Once you’ve done this you can focus your energies on attracting new clients from your most profitable segment, carefully differentiating your offer to ensure it appeals directly to this type of customer.
To understand what customers want, you can ask for feedback from current best clients, which also counts as part of your follow-up engagement – another ‘must do’ when you’re looking at keeping valued partners. Find out what forums or other types of social media these customers use, and make sure you’re in there and taking notes.
4. Motivating Employees (Tune in to this Tuesday, 11/1 call, I will be providing your tips on how to have the BEST employees)!!!
Employee buy-in is very important for small businesses in particular, as there tend to be fewer of them and apathy has a greater impact. There’s a real need to understand what employees want (other than a million pound paycheck), and there are a few possibilities to boost employee engagement for when this isn’t an option.
Ensuring employees are happy and productive means communicating clearly, and being approachable. Good companies foster a relaxed atmosphere where staff feel able to talk to management. Perks like free tea and coffee, free biscuits or fruit, and staff Christmas parties cost relatively little and can really help create a favourable impression.
You should also ask for employee feedback on their needs – this is not an option, it’s a must. Too many businesses don’t look at what their employees want, assume everything is fine, then wonder why they have a high staff turnover.
5. Having Too Many Overheads
Overheads are a big small business issue, and excessive overheads have driven many otherwise good companies to the wall.
Resolving them involves paying close attention to what customers actually want and providing products or services sharply tailored to suit. This means working out what customers need and trimming back gold plating or unnecessary services, or elements of products that they won’t use or aren’t interested in. Analyzing your transactions and asking existing customers what they want is helpful.
Where you add value, make sure that it doesn’t increase overheads (for example through well-judged deals on less-popular products, or other offers that benefit both you and the customer). And don’t forget to ask yourself hard questions, such as whether you need that new car or printer, or whether it’s just for show…
6. Staying Current
Small business owners can be so busy they forget to keep up with what’s current in their sector. It takes so much time just to keep on top of the work that blue-sky thinking can seem an unnecessary burden. Nevertheless, you need to keep up.
When you’re scheduling your week, don’t forget to allocate time to track competitors and undertake awareness-raising activities such as reading (or writing) blog posts. Create Google Alerts, use Twitter hashtags to keep up with what’s trending, and mine the wealth of free, and very targeted online information out there on sites like newsnow.
If you can schedule days out to go to sector conferences and exhibitions, the payback in terms of contacts and potential sales can be massive. Research events thoroughly to make sure that their target audience is precisely your target client group. If an event is really important, you could also investigate becoming a speaker, positioning yourself as a thought leader among your peers.
In conclusion, overcoming the main challenges that small businesses face involves a number of key actions:
1. Use software to manage your cashflow and keep money rolling in
2. Delegate, automate, and set aside time for yourself
3. Target your most profitable customers to maximize your returns
4. Work hard to create employee satisfaction
5. Ruthlessly cut back your overheads
6. Keep your finger firmly on the pulse of your sector
With forethought and tenacity, there’s no issue that can’t be overcome. As a business entrepreneur you already have these skills in abundance, and applying them to boost your business should come naturally.
Please email my assistant Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org what other challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?
WHO IS JOHN PYRON “THE SALES DOCTOR”?
John is an International Business & Sales Expert and is the CEO of John Pyron Coaching , which has trained thousands of people across 10 countries in business and sales principles. Through his Front-of-the-Room Talks, Webinars, Conference Calls, One-on-One Coaching, Corporate Sales Training, and His Coveted 10x Mastermind Groups, You can tap into John’s 25 years of actual real-world experience as a PROVEN Entrepreneur and Master Sales Trainer, to create an environment that capitalizes on YOUR unique gifts and talents, so YOU can live the life YOU are MEANT to live.
On September 24, 2010, John was featured as the center page spotlight business for the Sacramento Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies list, primary because he built a company from $0 to $1Million in annual sales during the largest economic crash since the Great Depression (2006-2009). John sold this company to a national investor on June 1, 2013 to pursue his life’s passion of helping Small Business Owner’s achieve their Business Dreams and Goals.