I am constantly balancing – balancing family, health, managing the business and ensuring clients are happy. This is the biggest challenge that I feel we face. I have therefore decided to put together some quick points (some may be obvious points), which I believe are things we should continue to remember as we navigate through our small business journey.
- Obtain/invest in good communication tools
You may or may not have employees, but if you do, ensuring that you are able to communicate with them effectively is so important – especially when it comes to delegating tasks or work. Tools such as Google Meet Ups, Slack or GoToMeeting are excellent for ensuring you can still communicate with your staff even if they are working remotely. Remote and Freelance staff are commonplace in small businesses, so it pays to have tools that enable effective communication.
- Organise and plan your time effectively
We are in the information age, but with all this information around us, it is hard to keep up and stay on top. A good planning tool will help – especially if you have employees. Check out tools such as Trello or Podio, which I personally have found really useful.
- Ensure you keep a handle on your budget
You should ensure you have enough money to cover your costs and expenses before you take out any money from your business. Having a good cash flow system will help you to manage you money and expenditure. Firstly you need a good accountant, secondly – using software such as Quickbooks, FreeAgent, Kashflow or IRIS will help to organise and manage the multitude of papers and receipts. Most of these tools also help with producing invoices for clients and tracking whether invoices have been paid or are delayed.
- Winning customers
It is such an achievement when you are able to win business. Gaining customers means your business is able to survive. However, getting to that point is one of the hardest challenges that small businesses and freelancers face. If you do not have the advantage of having customers when you start your business, you will have to gain them the hard way. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this. Relationship building and showcasing your expertise are the best ways to gain potential customers. Joining networking groups and contributing to rhetoric around your area of specialism will certainly help. Referrals and word of mouth are good opportunities. Social media tools such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook are a must as you will have the opportunity to reach an audience with no global boundaries. Snapchat and Slack are also tools which should be considered, as well as ensuring you have a mobile friendly website and blog. These may take time to set up and maintain, but tools such as Buffer, Sprout Social or Hootsuite help manage all your social media accounts in one go.
- Retaining customers