If you own a small business you may be feeling like you are working against a number of forces and no one is in your corner. Does it feel like you're paddling upstream, without an oar? if so, you're definitely not alone. These days, customers are never satisfied, most people want everything for nothing, vendors are no longer willing to work with you on payment terms, and overall you just feel disrespected. Then you have the challenges of people not wanting to shop in store, because they'd rather sit at home on their phone and shop online. Oddly enough, many consumers like living in areas with vibrant, bustling downtown small business districts, yet they simply refuse to spend money in the small businesses within them. Add to that the inherent challenges of running a sustainable small business, such as managing cash flow, stocking inventory, hiring competent help, and maintaining sufficient working capital; many small business owners these days are ready to throw in the towel. Many, already have.
First and foremost, the right financing can help your small business have the financial security you need to focus on overcoming the challenges in today's marketplace. With the current environment of difficult customers and a lack of loyalty, you will need to devote a lot of effort and attention to clearing those hurdles in your effort to succeed. Don't let your cash flow management issues hold you back from dynamic growth and success. Historic data shows that 82% of all small businesses will fail due to lack of cash flow, poor cash flow management skills, and/or poor understanding of cash flow. Historical data also shows that 70% of small business owner fail from not recognizing, or ignoring what they don’t do well, and not seeking help from those who do.
Dealing with this reality can make you feel as though your efforts are all for naught, but when you find your niche, such worries can disappear. There is a market segment that is interested in developing relationships with their service providers, but to attract a loyal clientele there are a few imperative steps. Yes, it is true that today's market is beyond cruel with so many consumers simply gunning for the lowest price, or the fastest deliver; but that doesn't have to be your reality!
Under-promise and over-deliver
Many service providers and small business owners believe that telling their customers what they want to hear is a good business model. However, studies and general common sense reveal that being upfront and honest with one's customers is the best way forward. If you are a small business owner, it is important to always meet the needs of your customers. Yes, this does sound obvious, but there are many small business owners who overpromise and then, sadly, underdeliver. When you keep your clients' expectations at a reasonable level, you are more likely to delight them and exceed their needs.
In today's ridiculous marketplace, where Amazon is undercutting everyone and wiping out entire industries by an excessive magnitude, keeping the customers who want more than the best price is essential. Once you find your performance niche, you will need to market yourself to the people who are most likely to appreciate your services and products. No one likes to be undercut, or lose customers who are chasing the lowest dollar, but when you are able to delight the customers that matter, you are more likely to grow a vibrant and thriving business.
Know your customer
The best way to develop trust with your customers is to listen. When you hear their feedback and then adapt to their needs, you will forge relationships that last a lifetime. It can often feel like you are just spinning your wheels and providing services that no one appreciates. When you feel like this, it is so easy to feel burned out and unappreciated. If you are putting your best efforts forward and striving to outperform your clients' expectations and still feel like you are coming up short, you may wonder if it's worth it. Before you throw in the towel and give up on your dream, it's important to take stock and do the research on your target customer.
When you find out what your preferred customer is looking for, it is akin to striking gold. Once you recognize who your best customers are, it behooves you to strive to meet their every need. When you are feeling like the whole world is against you, the best remedy is to reach out to the people who appreciate your products and services the most! Don't let the price shoppers get you down, focus instead on the clients that are there to appreciate and embrace your business.
Relationships are key
Once you have recognized the people who are the right fit for your small business model, the next step is to court them and encourage their loyalty. Are you offering perks for your regular clients, or expanding your product line to better suit their needs? Yes, today's consumer environment is beyond cutthroat, but that doesn't mean that there isn't room to grow your business and give your current customers a reason to keep coming back.
When you are able to attract the customers who are looking for service and not just the best price, you will begin to build trust with them. Trust is the foundation for a continuing relationship that benefits both sides for the present and the future. Relationships that are based on trust are able to withstand price fluctuations and variances in the marketplace.
When you are focused on providing the top-quality service and products that your best customers and clients expect, you will be able to rise above the penny-ante price chasing that is killing so many small businesses. If you are feeling like your market is filled with customers that are doing nothing but wasting your time, your best strategy is to rise above them and serve the customers who are worthwhile, and will help you meet your future business goals.
Get your financial house in order
If you are a small business owner and are aware of all of the pitfalls that today's business environment holds, you know that now, more than ever, it is important to have your financial house in order. If you are lacking in working capital or other business funding, it is imperative that you find a financial partner that can help you get through the tough times that almost all small business owners face. Same thing applies, as what's mentioned above, it's best to choose a real small business finance company that you can establish a long term funding relationship with, and not some fly by night lending website selling fast small business loans. When you find the right small business lending partner that is able to provide the small business loans and working capital that you need, it can feel like your worries disappear overnight.
Don't overlook the peace of mind that proper financing can provide in this cutthroat business environment. When you are a small business owner who knows that your product or service is exceptional and is ahead of the pack, the right funding can help you to reach the right customers. Don't let the typical issues that come with cash flow management when running a small business hold you back. The right financing can make the difference between stagnation and exponential growth for a small business owner.
Don't let cash flow variances get you down
Almost every small business that has been in existence for more than five years understands that there are going to be many cash flow variances from month to month that can be discouraging. It is difficult to rely on small business cash flow when there is such a strong variance from month to month. This variance is just one more challenge of owning a small business and is something that must be overcome. if you are looking to face this challenge head-on, consider a small business loan that can help you to even out these month-to-month discrepancies.
Are you a small business owner who is struggling with managing cash flow? LVRG is here to help you get the working capital you need to succeed today and well into the future. Contact LVRG today and find out more about our small business loans and how they can increase your viability!
- Guest post by: Charles Barr (Co-Founder & Director of LVRG)