Forming business relationships in this digital age

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Life as a business owner in today's digital age can be challenging, even on the best of days. It may seem like the future of small businesses is very bleak, with many independent owners closing shop due to increased internet competition, ever decreasing profit margins, and a future that seems very uncertain. While all of these negative factors are certainly true, there are still consumers who are looking for more from their shopping and services than the lowest price. Relationships are still possible, even as so many shoppers turn to the internet for their purchases and disregard all sense of loyalty as they search for the lowest possible price.

On the positive side, there are still aspects of owning a business that are based on the interaction between owner and customer, and cannot be replicated by online transactions. There are certain key foundation tenets that, once in place, can smooth the road to success and help you to stay in the black in spite of the many challenges that face small business owners today. Obviously, the rules of basic good business still apply, and when you are strategic in your planning and customer interaction, you can make progress in even the most challenging of situations. These tenets include high-quality service and products, communication, and the transfer of knowledge and expertise.

Small business owners can often feel overwhelmed by the modern sales and service environment, and feel that they are working to simply stay alive rather than succeed. From online competition to rock bottom pricing that eats into already narrow profit margins, today's independent business owners can begin to wonder how they are going to be able to squeak out a living as they juggle bills and expenses in an attempt to manage their cash flow. 

There are several important strategies that one can implement in order to rise above the limitations that are inherent in today's challenging marketplace. These tips can help you to increase your revenue and profit levels while helping you to remain true to the stated mission to serve your customers at the highest possible level of quality:

Differentiation

In today's competitive landscape, you have to give your customers a higher level of service than what they can find elsewhere. While this is basic business ownership 101, this attitude can sometimes be difficult to maintain when it feels like you are working for fewer and fewer dollars. Yes, there is a massive trend these days for consumers to chase after the lowest available price and disregard other more emotional and experiential factors. However, if you consistently provide top-level service and delight your customers time and again, you will gain a reputation that will serve you well with shoppers who consider more than price when making their purchase decisions. 

It may not seem like it, but many consumers do prefer to engage with purveyors and service providers with whom they have established a meaningful relationship. Take advantage of this reality and do more to reach the type of consumer that will be a loyal customer today and well into the future.

Relationships

Even as it seems like the buying public is simply searching for the lowest price available, and no one cares anymore about customer service or building a relationship with their vendor or service provider, there are still niches where that personal touch can make a significant and positive difference.

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If you are in the service sector, whether you own a salon or a restaurant, you have the chance to make a difference in your customers' everyday lives. Listening and responding to your clients' needs is an effective way to become a trusted provider and build a loyal clientele that will continue to come back again and again. Have you tried special "regulars only" pricing or creating loyalty rewards programs? Even providing your regular customers with special perks that are not part of a dedicated rewards program can help them to feel appreciated and part of a larger community.

Organic growth

As your business moves through the different growth stages of the business cycle, from start-up to established endeavor, it can be difficult to maintain organic growth, especially as profit margins can become razor thin. When you are properly capitalized and actively managing your cash flow, you will begin to see trends in your sales and profit margins, as well as areas for organic growth. By recognizing the areas where you are seeing the highest profit levels, you will be able to steer your business into those niches. Organic growth hinges on the pursuit of expanding known successes in a targeted manner, rather than taking a scattershot approach to your business. Constant analysis of your successes and failures will provide the necessary insight to discern the direction to steer your business for even greater success. 

Sufficient capital

LVRG provides business funding and small business loans to independent owners who are an established entity and are in a continuous growth mode. It is clear that in today's market, continuous growth is a necessity. Maintaining a healthy small business with a vibrant cash flow can be the difference between success and failure, whether your business is in year five or year seven. If you aren't actively managing your cash flow, your working capital is likely to be too low to maintain the continued growth approach that is necessary for success. 

Knowing when it is time for a capital infusion can mean the difference between stagnation and success, and as small business owners, if you aren't moving forward it is only a matter of time before you begin to slide backward. Concentrating on the business lines and products with the healthiest profit margins is one way to keep your revenues growing. Another is to expand onto the internet and offer your clients both a virtual and a real-world experience.

If you are an established business owner and are feeling like you are constantly treading water, the team at LVRG can help you to determine if additional capital funding is the right move to enable the future success of your business. We work extensively with frontline vendors and service providers, such as nail and hair salon owners, boutique owners and clothing designers, restauranteurs, craft brewers, and bar owners. Yes, it is easy to feel dismayed when members of your regular clientele continue to flock to the online marketplace seeking the cheapest price, but it is still possible to survive in these rough waters.

Contact LVRG today and learn more about our passion for helping independent and small business owners to succeed. We can address your capital shortfalls and help you manage your cash flow more profitably.

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Author: Charles Barr, Co-Founder & Director of LVRG Funding. Charles is highly dedicated to the genesis of professional development, social networking and civic engagement, with a passion for cultivating creativity, entrepreneurship and a spirit of community.