Identifying and staying ahead of market trends

All markets in all industries will constantly be in flux and ever evolving.  As a business owner and overseer of the business it is your responsibility to stay on top of or ahead of these trends in the market and implement the necessary changes into your business model.  Your clientele will constantly be evolving as will your competition and if you no longer meet your customer’s evolved expectations or stay informed on advancements such as technology your business could be impacted negatively.

How do I stay ahead of the curve? Subscribe to alerts related to your industry and keep an eye on your competition.

Horrible hiring decisions

When it comes to people, well, they are simply your best asset, but those assets can very easily become liabilities and can lead to the death of you business before you know it.  A smart businessman somewhere once said that a person cannot be made to fit the position, the position had to be made to fit the right person.

How do I avoid hiring the wrong people?  Hire people that are strong enough to mould a position around them while being pliable enough to fit into the position.  You will make hiring mistakes and sometimes they are as simple as putting the person into another position. Small businesses may not have the ability to hire the best of the best right away so it is important to hire around the ability to be taught, willingness to learn and loyalty.

Mishandling finances

Just because you can run a business doesn’t automatically make you an accountant.  Realizing your weaknesses early on can save you a lot of trouble down the road.   Most business owners are great in their niche but terrible at the details of finances.  Some of those errors are as easy to see and control as over spending and others have far more grave consequences, like mistakes with taxes.

It is important to stay on top of your finances so that they don’t run away from you.

How do I stay on top of my finances? Unfortunately this is one of the areas where most business owners can’t just get it done and will require you bring in a professional. Do yourself a favor and bring them in sooner than later.

Not engaging with customers

Engagement with your customers isn’t only about advertising, introducing or selling new services to them, it is about asking, listening and caring about their wants and needs as well as being a problem solver and interacting on a person to person human level.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because you provide a service that perspective clients will stick around.  In today’s world, loyalty from customers is hard to hold onto, so you better be the best if you want them coming back.

How do I stay more engaged?  With social media and computers in everyone’s hands it has never been easier to communicate with your perspective clients, make sure you use all the tools at hand.

Waiting too long to get funding

A lot of business owners have a hard time realizing or are just too proud to admit when they are running dangerously low on funds.  More than 8 out of every 10 businesses that fail, due so to cash flow issues, cash flow is way more important to a company than even assets.  The job of a small business is to eat through cash flow like a growing teenage boy eats through your fridge.  It should be the goal of every business owner to scale their business to the point where cash flow and innovation is not an issue but in order to do that, the business will eat money as it grows.

Being undercapitalized or in denial as to your businesses capital needs is a very easy way to ensure that your business eats you instead.

How do I make sure I don’t run out of money? By knowing your finances you can stay informed about your cash flow and liquidity or the lack thereof.  If you get to the point where you feel uncomfortable about the state of the finances or are wondering how you will make payroll etc, it is time to start considering some outside financing options.  You can apply for an unsecured business loan and get funded very quickly with First Union Lending in order to keep your company moving forward.

Stay away from these 5 common problems in small businesses and increase your chances of long term success.  As they say, stuff happens to everyone and that includes business owners. If you find yourself in one of these situations don’t panic, just take the necessary action to resolve the issues and get your business back on the path to greatness.

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