How to Run Your Small Business Like a Tight Ship

New business owners are full of enthusiasm and energy when their entrepreneurial dream comes true. To ensure your P&L statements stay profitable, make a commitment to learn all you can about marketing and advertising, controlling expenses, hiring the right team and turning to experts for help.

The Secret of Marketing and Advertising

Seek Help from Experts

Image via Flickr thetaxhaven

If it seems like competitors are leaps and bounds ahead of you, it’s time to review and stick to the real secret behind marketing and advertising campaigns. What’s the secret? It’s all about building a brand and achieving brand loyalty.

A brand is not just the company name or logo—or the products or services you sell. A brand is everything about a business from the business plan to the vision and mission to corporate values to customer service. A brand encompasses everything about your business and in order to find your brand identity, you need to market, advertise and promote consistently to gain consumer interest.

All promotional materials from letterhead to websites to social media pages to print and newspaper ads and uniforms should follow similar themes. You’ve achieved a brand identity when consumers resonate with your corporate colors, slogans and customer service—and refer others.

How to Control Expenses

From the first day a business is open and sales are made, new entrepreneurs immediately think about spending money on business improvements like furniture, fixtures and new technology and equipment.

Live with the old for a while and give the business a chance to grow. If you immediately spend money on the unneeded, you’ll soon find your P&L in the red or applying for business loans and that means more debt. The best way to control expenses includes:

  • Forecast revenues and expenses and compare predictions to actual numbers.
  • Adjust cash flow performance based on comparisons—if expenses are high, cut where you can. If sales are low, revisit price points and marketing and branding campaigns.
  • Make a commitment to keep accounts receivables current—this is cash you need to cover expenses.
  • Review annual business must-haves including liability insurance, health care and employee benefit packages to find the most affordable.
  • Apply sound inventory control management; obsolete or non-selling inventory are wasted assets.
  • Don’t apply for business loans for the sole purpose of getting out of debt.

Do review expenses monthly, quarterly and annually.

Hire the Right People

The old saying if you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys is very true. Make a list of positions you need to fill and write job descriptions. Hire dedicated employees by:

  • Offering competitive salaries with benefit packages.
  • Reward your employees on a regular basis.
  • Engage your employees to keep them motivated.
  • Write clear employee procedures and policies and make sure they are applied equally from entry level employees to managers and supervisors.

Seek Help from Experts

The Secret of Marketing and Advertising

Image via Flickr cgabc

There is a lot business owners can learn from free resources like the SBA or locally. Economic development centers can be found in your area. Most offer helpful tools including:

  • Business workshops and seminars
  • Area market trends by industry
  • Mentoring programs
  • Guidance on funding your business
  • Community groups and roundtable events

Using the experts closest to you guarantees useful insights whether offered by trained economic industry professionals or local business owners. Implement strategies you learn to help grow your business.

Owning a business is exciting and challenging. Learn to deal with challenges by following these tips and turning to experts when needed to succeed.