What Can Your Business Do To Improve Cash Flow?

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One of the biggest problems that small businesses face is cash flow. If you don’t get paid on time by a customer or client, for instance, then it can mean late payments to the people that you have to pay, or it can put you out of pocket if you have staff to pay, and so on. So as a small business, having a focus on cash flow is really important as it can solve a lot of problems. So here are some of the main cash flow issues that a small business may face, and some actions that you as management can take to deal with them. It can help in many ways, and get your business on the path to success.

Cut costs

One of the simplest things that you can do to improve cash flow is looking at what costs you can look to reduce or cut completely. All businesses can spot some areas to save, and stop some of the non-essential spending, especially if you are looking hard enough to do so. You may want to move to a smaller office space, for example, as that can be a large overhead costs that can be reduced. You could also look to hire freelancers, rather than full-time staff, because staff are another massive cost to the business.

Rent rather than buy

If you are in business, then you might naturally think that it is worth buying the things that you need. For instance, if you are in a retail business, it could be considered worth buying a warehouse for your inventory, and all of the equipment that goes along with it, whether that be machine haulage or cherry pickers. And if you have enough cash, then it can be a good investment. But if cash flow is a problem, then you need to think about renting instead. The reason being, if you rent, then you only hire and pay for when the equipment is needed. So that can be a really big help for cash flow. 

Reduce the credit period offered to customers

Of course, this is something that is easier said than done. But if you want to improve cash flow, have you considered asking customers to pay for their purchases with a much quicker process? This can be a simple way to accelerate cash flow. Of course, as with anything, there is never any guarantee that customers are going to agree to what you offer. So you could think about offering discounts for early payment, for instance, as a way to encourage people to pay on time. 

Cut stocks

If you want to improve cash flow, then have you looked at reducing the amount of cash that is tied up by things like buying and holding raw materials or goods that you have for resale? This could be anything from ordering in less stock, or by giving discounts on the stock that you have in order to encourage the sale of them to clear them. If these sales are made in cash, then even better to have the money upfront.

Your Step By Step Guide to Running a Successful Small Business

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Have you been dreaming of setting up your own business and being your own boss? Making the leap from employed to self-employed can be a daunting prospect, as well as incredibly exciting. 

Launching a new small business isn’t all about becoming an overnight success; it is about building something that will stand the test of time. Taking a long term approach and breaking down the individual elements needed to make your business succeed will ensure you take care of everything you need to.

Make a Plan

Making a plan may be the last thing you want to do when you are passionate about getting started and launching your business. However, if you are in it for the long term, it is better to develop a proper business plan, before diving into the unknown. 

Pulling together a business plan doesn’t need to be boring, think of it as planning your first steps on your brand new journey. Having a business plan means that you have a tangible document to refer back to when you need it. At times, you will probably feel uncertain about your business and the direction it takes. Having a business plan means that you can monitor your progress, and reconnect with your goals to keep you on the right track.

Start it Small and Simple

Even if you are launching a business in an industry you are familiar with; it is useful to start small. Being in charge of every aspect of a company will feel entirely different from being employed, so giving yourself time to adjust is essential.

Don’t get started on the wrong foot by overextending your finances to fund your new venture. Instead, be realistic about what you can achieve while familiarizing yourself with your new role as a business owner. Putting extra stress on yourself with a sizable financial burden is going to bring considerable pressure onto both you and your fledgling business.

Take your time to establish your business, before committing to large monthly bills, and you will create a much stronger foundation to build it on.

A mistake that many business owners make is to quit their day job and take on a lease for expensive business premises, and a costly work vehicle. Both of these may feel like a great idea, but you may regret it when you are paying for lots of extra space that you aren’t using. A better solution is to let your business premises and equipment expand in line with your business. This steadier approach enables you to adapt to your business’ current needs without a substantial financial burden weighing you down.

Call in the Professionals

When you run a business, there are various practical elements to consider, and lots of paperwork to sort out too. Having the right level of insurance cover for your business is vital. No one knows what the future holds, so being prepared for anything that life throws at you, can give you some added peace of mind. Business insurance experts such as https://www.krywolt.com/ can help you to determine the right level, and type of insurance cover your small business needs.

Managing the financial side of your business so that you pay the correct taxes and keep track of your business expenditure is a must. Hiring an accountant can help you to keep your business finances in order, and gives you one less thing to worry about. 

Being busy fulfilling customer orders may mean you don’t have time to stay on top of all the admin that comes with being in charge of a company. Trying to juggle everything yourself can leave you feeling incredibly stressed. The problem many businesses face is needing extra help, but not being able to afford it. Using a virtual assistant service means that you get the benefits of someone helping with your workload, without the need to recruit an employee. Typically, virtual assistants are paid by the hour. As they are not your employee, there is no need to worry about extra costs such as holiday pay, or pension contributions.

There are specialist virtual assistants available that can bring expert knowledge to your business, such as marketing, PR, and specific IT skills. Other virtual assistants are admin whizzes that will sort out your inbox, arrange your business travel, and answer the phone for you. 

Outsourcing some aspects of your work to a virtual assistant can help you to free up some time and focus on other parts of your business.

Build a Brand

One thing to bear in mind when launching your company is that you are building a brand. Your brand may not seem like an important consideration at the moment when your business is only just launching. However, now is the perfect time to start working on your brand. Building up brand recognition to create a strong brand identity takes time, so the earlier you get started, the better.

Creating a brand from scratch may seem like a daunting prospect, but it is not as complicated as it sounds. To get started, think about your brand identity, what do you want your business to stand for, and where will you position yourself in the market? Will your products represent good value, or will you be a luxury brand? Think about your unique selling proposition and how you will differentiate your brand from competing brands.

Once you have decided on your brand values and market position, you can begin thinking about the visual elements of your brand, such as your logo. 

Marketing Your Business

Very few new small businesses have a big advertising budget if any budget at all. Don’t worry if you don’t have the spare money for paid for advertising; there are plenty of other ways to get your business noticed.

Regardless of your marketing budget, having a marketing plan is a good idea. Your marketing plan will help you to establish what you need to achieve from your marketing efforts. Make sure that you set SMART goals for marketing objectives. This will give you the opportunity to measure your marketing goals and see what can be improved for the future. Your marketing priorities are likely to change over time, but for the first year of trading are likely to be focused on raising brand awareness.

Don’t forget to check out how your competitor’s market themselves. This will help you to make sure that you differentiate your brand from theirs, and don’t get lost in the crowd.

Online Presence

Think your business is too small to need a website? Think again! All companies nowadays need an online presence. You don’t need to spend thousands on a website, but it does need to be well-designed and professional. Having a website is essential, but having a bad website is worse than no website at all. Many customers make the internet their first port of call when researching a product or service. This means that your website will form their first impression of your company, so you want to get it right. People that research products online are likely also to check out your competitors too, so you will need to make your business stands out for the right reasons. Make sure that the content on your website is relevant, meaningful, and useful for visitors. Your content should be written in a tone of voice which reflects your brand personality. Doing this will ensure that your website accurately reflects your business and what it represents.

Don’t forget to use social media to heighten your online presence. Whether you love social media or hate it, it is a useful tool to connect with people when used in the right way. Using social media to promote your business can be a time-consuming process, so it is best to plan a strategy as part of your marketing plan. Consider who your target market is and then think about which social media platforms they would use the most. As with your website, make sure that the content you post is relevant and useful, and crucially, is written in a tone of voice in keeping with your brand’s personality.

Assess and Refine

Once your business is up and running, you will probably find yourself rushed off your feet, while you are busy establishing yourself. Amid the busyness of the day to day running of your company, it is useful to stop and assess your progress now and then. 

Assessing your business reasonably regularly means that you can refer back to your business plan to see how you are performing against it. This will enable you to make adjustments to the running of your company as and when needed.

Assessing your progress means examining lots of results. This includes feedback from customers, how much money you are making versus running costs, and how much footfall you are receiving. Examining and comparing this combination of data over time should help you to gain a firm understanding of your business, and how you can steer it to even greater success in the future.

Effective Storage Solutions for Your Small Business

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Increasing numbers of people are deciding to stop working for someone else and start building their own dreams instead by setting up their own small businesses. They will develop products and sell them on to the consumer market at a higher price to generate profit. But one thing that many small business owners don’t take into account when starting out is stock storage. They simply don’t consider where they will store items until they have been purchased and need to be sent. But not to worry. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you to prepare effective storage solutions that meet your small business’ needs!

Home Storage

When your business first starts out, you are likely to deal in small quantities of stock, and you may be able to cut storage costs by storing these products at home. If you have a spare room, this could prove to be ideal. Just make sure that you store your products safely. This includes storing them in a way that prevents them becoming fire hazards, and avoiding piling boxes up in a manner that means that they could topple over. If you plan to store items in a garage or similar structure, you need to make sure that it is secure (to avoid problems with theft) and well sealed (to prevent problems involving products becoming damaged by rodents, insects, or water).

Warehouses

As your business begins to expand, you are likely to find that you need to expand when it comes to storage options. You will start dealing with quantities of stock that simply cannot be contained to your own home. This is where warehouses can come in handy. A warehouse is a huge storage space where you can safely and securely keep larger quantities of items. The size of warehouse that you decide to hire out will be entirely dependent on the amount of space that you need. You should consider investing in a pallet rack, rather than simply piling your products up. This will help with organization, allowing you to source stock safely and quickly.

Security

It’s important to remember that security can be compromised in any area that stores your products. Not only could members of the general public break in and steal your goods, but immoral staff members may take advantage of their easy access to products and steal some too. So, make sure to take security measures to prevent this. Install security cameras in any stockroom or warehouse. This will monitor behavior and help to identify culprits of theft. This may seem excessive, but you don’t want to make losses due to stolen stock.

These are just a few steps that you can take to ensure that your stock is always safely and securely stored away until it is sold. Incorporate them into your business plan as soon as possible!

Should Your Business Be Aspirational or Relatable?

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For the most part, businesses fall into one of two categories: aspirational, or relatable.

Aspirational businesses seek to sell an idea to the general public. They sell a lifestyle; their entire focus is tempting, somewhat luxurious. Their products or services are sold in a way that makes customers want to buy, rather than customers seeking them out because they need to buy.

Relatable businesses are almost the exact opposite. They sell their products and services based on need. They relate to their customers’ existing lives rather than trying to sell them a better, brighter life; they seek improvement rather than replacing.

Almost any product or service can be sold in an aspirational or relatable way.. For example, if you sell luxury soap:

  • Aspirational: “You deserve this soap. Your skin, and your life, will be better if you use this soap. This soap will grant you a touch of luxury during an everyday routine. It’s a treat, a way to care for yourself.”
  • Relatable: “Your life is tough, and it’s nice to have to have a little luxury to cheer you up after a hard day. This soap can be a ray of sunshine that powers you through, ensures your hands are clean, and is kind to your skin at the same time.”

The above text has been somewhat embellished to make the point, but the basic idea is the same: anything can be aspirational or relatable.

Which is better: aspirational or relatable?

Here’s the thing: there is no “right” answer to this question. Both aspirational and relatable services can be incredibly successful; they just represent different approaches.

So why does the decision matter?

If both types of approach can produce a successful business, it’s natural to wonder why you have to ponder this question at all. The answer is simple: the aspirational/relatable choice influences nearly every decision you will make over the course of running your business. For example:

  • As mentioned, marketing choices you make are most influenced by the aspirational/relatable choice. The wording you use, the images, what you’re trying to sell to your customers – they are all governed by this decision. When you have a strong relatable or aspirational vision to take to professional marketing services from Third Angle and similar companies, you will be able to achieve a cohesive campaign that genuinely benefits your company.
  • If you sell products, the packaging you choose is influenced by the aspirational/relatable choice also. For aspirational products, you would use high-end packaging that looks good in a cupboard or on a dressing table; for relatable, you’d keep things more basic and friendly.
  • Your brand’s voice is highly affected by this decision also, encompassing everything from product labelling to how you communicate with customers on social media.

The above areas are just the most obvious areas that are governed by this choice, and are in and of themselves highly significant to the success of your business. While there is no right or wrong decision when contemplating this choice, the fact that you have to make a choice is undeniable.

Whichever you choose, be sure to continually adhere to the same principle throughout every business area. Not only will this help ensure that your business is cohesive across its presentation, but it will also allow you to make quick, concise, on-brand decisions every time.

The Impact Your Business Has On The Environment

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When it comes to running a business, the environment and your carbon footprint may be a big priority for you. Where you are now focusing on the difference your business can make and how you may be planning to implement different processes to help with the impact your business could behaving on the environment. Whether you are a small business that operates from a home environment, a business that has some sort of retail premises, or a larger corporation where you have a bigger responsibility there are plenty of what’s you can measure the impact your business is having on the environment.

Think about the impact your staff will be having

If you find yourself being a little larger than the business that operates from home then you may have employees and staff that you are responsible for. Which often means that their actions impact you as a business, so ensuring you do what you can to encourage good eco-friendly processes will be essential. Things like encouraging people to car share or bike to work, offering different incentives for that, as well as ensuring that they have good habits in the workplace. This might include switching technology off at the end of the day and ensuring that lights are not left on all not. Simple yet effective techniques that can be incorporated across the board.

Think about the impact of any manufacture operation you have

It is often said that controlling the actions of people is far harder than making changes to production lines and manufacturing, as you have the health and safety policies in place as well as ensuring that frequent risk assessments take place. So when it comes to ensuring that the manufacturer operation is making the right sort of impact on the environment relevant checks such as precise scientific measurements with a pipette down to the amount of energy you are using to keep things going will all be ways that you can manage this more effectively.

Could you be making physical changes to the working environment

Possibly one of the easiest ways you can ensure your business I making the right choices when it comes to the environment, there may be physical changes you can make to the working environment. This might be in the way of adding solar panels to use solar energy, or it may be more simple changes like changing the light bulbs in the building you work in. Even things like recycling old technology can ensure that your business is making the right choices when it comes to the environment.

What about the working environment?

Finally, smaller changes but yet still making a different could be to encourage more generalized recycling in the working environment. Having certain areas where Hulu can get be rid of paper, tins or plastic materials. This could be especially important in offices or recreational areas in the business you work in,

I hope you are feeling more informed when it comes to the impact your business could be having on the environment.

How Entrepreneurs Can Come Up With A Truly Unique Concept

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Are you struggling to come up with new product ideas for your small business? Do you worry that your company will fail because you can’t bring anything new to the table? Then it makes sense to read the information on this page and use it to your advantage. Today, this post will offer some tips and tricks that should help to point all small business owners in the right direction and ensure they know how to spot a gap in the market and capitalize. Coming up with truly unique products is much easier than most people think, and in many instances, you just have to follow the guide below.

Take a look at the world around you

Sometimes it is difficult to find inspiration for a new product if you spend your entire working day sat in the same office. If you want to come up with something truly unique; you need to take yourself out of that environment and into the world. Spend a few days walking around your local city and watching the people who pass by. Try to work out what motivates those people and what disheartens them. Look for issues right on the street that annoy people or delay them, and try to come up with potential solutions. That is often the best way to come up with an item that will have mass appeal.

Speak to your target market

If you have a pre-existing business; you have access to lots of customers who can give you their opinions or let you know about their lives. Start asking people to complete a survey at your checkout, and offer them a small discount for taking part. That should be enough to encourage lots of people to let you know their thoughts and feelings. When all’s said and done; you want to sell truly unique products to these people, and so asking them what they want is always going to be the best course of action.

Employ some professional assistance

Believe it or not, there are professional companies out there that focus their efforts on helping innovators like yourself with product engineering. That is the process of designing, manufacturing, and testing any new products you want to bring to the marketplace. People working for those firms deal with new concepts every day, and so they are in the perfect position to let you know if you’re about the strike gold. You will also benefit from their expertise in many other areas, and so it is sensible to consider that option if you can afford to pay for their services.

Use the information and advice from this article to ensure you can come up with truly unique product concepts in the future that will propel your company into the mainstream and create a fortune in profit. If you play your cards right, this next design could make millions and help to take your brand to the next level. You’ll be selling overseas before you know it, and you’ll never look back.

The Recruitment Tips That Could Save Small Businesses

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Did you know that the recruitment process is one of the most expensive processes a business has to face? That’s because it requires the company owner to spend time away from their usual duties and responsibilities trying to find the perfect candidate to fill their open positions. After sifting through all the resumes and covering letters, and then going through a couple of interview rounds, they could end up losing a lot of time in their usual line of work. As a result, the whole process of recruiting new hires can be very expensive indeed.

Are you sick of recruitment being a huge burden on your company? Here are a few tips that could make it easier for you. Who knows, they might just save your small business!

Outsource It

If you are really struggling to take care of your company’s recruitment all on your own, there is no reason to continue the struggle. Why not outsource it? There are lots of recruitment firms out there that can help take this load off your shoulders. You just need to give them your job advert and candidate specification and they will do the rest. From posting the advert on job boards, to whittling down all the applicants, there is nothing they won’t do for you!

Automate It

Some of you might prefer to keep your recruitment process in house, especially if you have a very tight budget at the minute. Thankfully, that’s still not a reason to struggle with the pressure of organizing your own recruitment efforts. You could automate it! One way to do  that is to use an applicant tracking system so that you don’t run the risk of losing track of anyone. You might also want to use a software or computer program that can help you organize and sort through all of your received applications a lot quicker.

Organize Some Assessment Tests

Don’t have much time to carry out interviews? No problem; you could ask your candidates to do an assessment test instead. Most employers decide to only do one round of interviews alongside this test, as it saves them a lot of time that would usually be spent on the second set of interviews. During the test, all the applicants will need to demonstrate their skills and knowledge to show exactly why they would be the best individual for the role.

Consider Focusing On Freelancer Recruitment

Recruiting full-time employees will take a lot of effort, as it is always crucial that you employ the best person for the job every time. If you don’t, you will only have to go through the expensive recruitment process all over again. There is one way around this – you could just consider recruiting freelancers. They will be quicker to hire, and you will only have to pay them for the work they carry out. Plus, you aren’t legally obliged to offer them benefits.

Hopefully, all of these tips can save your small business when it is time to recruit again!