Tips To Keep Your Small Business Up, Running, and Ahead

By Gloria Martinez

Image via Pexels 

If you’re a small business owner looking for ways to keep your business afloat, you are not alone. The current state of the world has left many of us scrambling to keep the doors open. But things are finally starting to stabilize, and there are many ways to keep your business up and running — and even help you get ahead. Here are a few examples.

Network all the time.
Networking is crucial for small business owners. Joining the Oak Forest-Crestwood Area Chamber of Commerce is a great way to grow your network and establish relationships within your community that can have reciprocal benefits for you and other business owners.

In addition to your local chamber, you can join network organizations in your industry. A few examples would be the American Association of Travel Agents, American Association of Advertising Agencies, and Professional Photographers of America. You can also look online at sites like Eventbrite for networking events in your area that could benefit your business.

Keep a check on dollars and cents.
Owning a small business means prioritizing your bottom line. One of the best ways to do this is to keep a close eye on your financials. This includes knowing what you have coming in and going out. Your company’s income statement (or, profit and loss statement) should be one of the primary financial documents you reference regularly to understand cash flow and profitability.

If you’ve never looked at this information before, using an online profit and loss statement sample  template is a great place to start. Choose a template that is customizable and integrates easily with your spreadsheet software of choice. This allows you to keep up with your money situation in realtime and, in turn, have an accurate sense of where to cut expenses, opportunities to increase revenue, and more.

Train your employees.
Training your employees means more than just showing them how to do their job. To be the best business you can be, your team must understand how to provide top-notch customer service — even if they are not in a customer-facing role. eLearning Industry explains that customer service training skills include everything from product knowledge to soft skills, such as active listening and communication.

 

Keep your technology up to date.
There are many best business practices that will help keep your business afloat. One of these is to maintain updated company software. Your software will protect you against cyber attacks, which all-to-often target small businesses that don’t have a well-developed cybersecurity protocol in place. As a rule, take a multi-layer approach to protect your systems and networks. This should include firewalls, two-step verification, and teaching your staff how to avoid phishing schemes.

Always tell the truth.
Most consumers expect that businesses will always puff up the truth in their advertisements. After all, cereal isn’t really magically delicious, and we know that. But when it comes to flat out lying, you’ll never get ahead.

Sales expert Ian Brodie illustrates this by pointing out that there are many accounting firms  claiming co-authorship of a book on accounting. While this is not illegal, the truth is that these firms did not contribute to the said book and, therefore, may not have the expertise presented within its pages. This is problematic, and telling even a little white lie opens up ample opportunities for your customers to expose your dishonesty. This can have a major impact on your reputation, which you may or may not recover from.

From understanding how to read a profit and loss statement to keeping your employees up-to-date on best practices, every action you take matters to your bottom line. The above tips are things you may have overlooked, but they are simple steps to ensure your continued success. Remember that your business is more than just the products and services you sell — it’s the sum of all you do and the integrity you put behind these actions.

Oak Forest – Crestwood Area Chamber of Commerce strives to be the most valuable resource for the local business community. Find out how membership benefits you.