After a recent survey from over 1,000 participants including small business owners, executives and senior management, only 57 percent of businesses expect revenue growth for 2015. This was the number one challenge facing business owners along with hiring employees and increasing profit. Tied for fourth was government regulation, employment healthcare and cash flow.
Below are strategies that address these concerns and offer solutions to help reduce the stress associated with these challenges.
1) Building relationships
Improving the customer experience and retention can increase revenue growth according to 56 percent of business owners surveyed. Others said getting new customers and entering new markets would benefit their revenue as well. To retain customers and deepen relationships, we suggest you focus on creating relationships with a large amount of clients in your company instead of just a select few large accounts. Focusing only on your large clients is risky because if the relationship changes and you have not been cultivating relationships with other clients or potential clients, your bottom line could be severely affected. Also, get to know your target market; where are they and what do they desire? If you want to be on social media, choose the channels that will best represent where your target market is, instead of focusing your time on too many unneeded platforms.
2) Hiring employees
Only 38 percent of business owners expected to hire new employees in 2015. Managing overhead while anticipating growth is a huge challenge for small businesses. Remember when hiring that 70 percent of the entire workforce is passive talent, which means they currently have a job and are not actively looking, but would consider switching jobs given the chance. Evaluate what your company has to offer potential employees and be well-versed in communicating those points. 66 percent of the workforce uses personal connections and online platforms when looking for a new job. Online job boards and social media are the other two top methods people use to search for jobs. Having a company presence where people look for jobs is important. 56 percent of the workforce is looking for a better benefit and compensation package along with a better work/life balance and a better place to work. Does your company offer any of these?
3) Increasing profit
To increase profit, try creating a business plan. Time is the most important part of any business and having a plan creates a process that any employee can use to all reach the same goal. The next step is also to make sure your products are priced accordingly to increase your cash flow. Check and see how your competition is pricing their products and if you are competitive. Remember, it is always easier to decrease your pricing than increase your pricing. Raising your prices slowly makes it more agreeable to your clients, as well.
As a small business, challenges are always presenting themselves, however the more you understand and maintain your business in the face of these changes, determines your level of resilience, profitability and success.