As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we wear many hats and have many responsibilities. This often creates an overwhelming feeling that causes us to try to do everything in the fastest way possible, which can negatively affect our businesses.
On top of that, it leads to stress that ultimately keeps us up and night and affects our work-life balance. At Sound Business Services (SBS), our #1 goal is for our clients to be able to live happy and healthy lives through the powerful solutions we provide. With this in mind, here are three things that keep us up at night, along with some strategies and tips to empower you to tackle these challenges and improve your business.
1. Finding and Retaining Good Employees
I discovered long ago that I could not run my business by myself and certainly could not be everywhere at once. That meant finding staff who not only did the right thing every time by our clients, but was also capable of getting our clients the solutions they need, while treating them with respect and integrity.
More than a decade later, I am truly blessed to say that I have the best staff I could ever hope for. That said – as many of you may know – finding great staff, or “team members” as I like to call them, is only half the battle. Retaining them for the long haul is a major key to success, as well as keeping your clients or customers happy.
Here are some tips on how to retain great employees:
- Get to know each team member and meet regularly. Whether your team is virtual or local, meeting on a regular basis is very important. It builds rapport, and creates better collaboration, communication and respect. Make an effort to ask about their personal lives. In our team meetings, we ask each person to share something about themselves, such as a recent trip or how their family is doing. We then allot time to pray for each other’s needs. In meeting deadlines and growing our businesses, it’s easy to forget to show genuine interest and care in each team member; that can distance us from the team and potentially lead them to join a competitor.
- Practice what you preach. If you expect your team to show up and work hard for you every day, you should, too, as the owner. In other words, lead by example. By showing staff that you are present and ready to work toward a common goal, they are likely to be more motivated and willing to join you. This builds team togetherness and unity, and they will develop faith in you and your mission. It’s a two-way street – don’t forget that!
- Constantly train your team. Finding great employees isn’t always about seeking out people with the most impressive credentials or experience. Those who are willing to learn, work hard, carry out your message and goals, and care for your clients and their needs, are invaluable. Remember, you can always train your team on the technical side and how you want them to represent your business.
- Own up to your mistakes and take ownership. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. If you are at fault or if your team is facing issues, simply admit to the mistake or take responsibility, and work out a solution. Your team will respect you more for doing so, and learn how to make sure the problem doesn’t escalate or happen again.
- Reward your staff. Sometimes, all your staff wants is to feel appreciated. After all, they’ve put in hard work and helped your business flourish. A gift or raise in pay is welcome, but a one-on-one sit-down thanking them for all they do goes a long way as well. You’d be surprised how much a simple gesture of kindness will mean to your team members.
2. Cash Flow Issues
Many small business owners don’t understand cash flow, or simply don’t take the time to strategize for it. Don’t worry – SBS is here to help!
Your cash flow is everything. It’s not just how you survive, but how you thrive as a business. Cash flow is all about knowing if you are truly making money, and being able to invest that money in your business for long-term growth and prosperity. It also involves doing projections, creating a budget and knowing your key performance indicators – key data that allows us to get a vision of the key drivers that decide your company’s success.
3. Finding My Next Job
As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we are always trying to drum up new business to grow our companies. Depending on the type of business, this can be more challenging for some than others. Nevertheless, we all must continue to find ways to get new business.
Here are some strategies that we’ve found successful that we hope will work for you, too.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. You may naturally be hesitant to ask a client to do something, afraid that it might put them out of their comfort zone. When it comes to landing referrals, that’s a big no-no! You must be willing to ask your customers for referrals to grow your business. And, if you have proven your value to your customers, they will be happy to do so more than you might think. Start with those customers you feel are the best and most loyal, as they’re the likeliest to go to bat for you.
- Work on your value proposition. A value proposition is about being able to illustrate what differentiates you and your business. With competition literally just around the corner (phone call, internet or car ride), you must stand out by showing prospects and customers why you are the one to do business with. Whether it’s a certain niche, the quality and delivery of your product or service, the performance of your staff, or a combination of all these things and more, your audience must be able to connect with you and be motivated to choose you. Make sure your value proposition is clear and compelling, and that your staff is fully behind its message.
- Market, market, market! A strategic marketing effort is a must for attracting others to give you new business. At SBS, we constantly work on this. It’s a big time commitment, but extremely worth it if you go about it the right way. For us, this meant building a website that is eye appealing and informative, writing blogs and newsletters each month, and putting all these things on our social media channels to build awareness, traffic and engagement. It is an ongoing effort, and we’d be more than happy to discuss this more in-depth and come up with solutions and strategies to help you market your businesses.
Let us Know How we Can Help!
While this list could go on forever, we feel these are three key areas that many business owners struggle with. At SBS, we know how valuable your time is and how important it is to provide you solutions that take your business to the next level.
Feel free to contact us today if you have any questions or comments, or are ready to get started. We’d love to hear what keeps you up at night and strive to find solutions to those issues.