Small Business Saturday Blog

Friday, May 15th, 2020

12 Top Tips for Micro-businesses

On #microbizmatters day we shared 12 top tips on running your business to support their #IGave12 campaign which encourages others to give 12 to a micro business owner.Focusing on business advice, branding and marketing there are some great tips for all kinds of businesses and some helpful links to further help from our Small Business Community.Running your business

1. Get connected

Don’t feel like you have to be alone. Running your own business can be lonely and having other entrepreneurs and thought laders around you can really help to develop ideas and provide key support as well as a great sounding board for queries.The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) is a great organisation so check out @fsb_voice for more help and advice for Small Business

.2. Get social!

Today it is easier than ever to connect with peers online and join support groups and business development pages on social media. Be brave, sign up and get asking (and supporting) other small businesses. There may be someone out there that needs your expertise too!Enterprise Nation has great meet-ups and networking opportunities, search @e_nation on twitter.

3. Money matters

Make sure that you get good financial advice when setting up or running your business. Good financial planning, clear strategies/forecasting and a good accountant can save a lot of sleepless nights and heartache.If you want to find someone local to you with specific expertise, check out @ACCA_UK for your local member.

4. It’s all about me

Whether you are a sole trader or have a small team, you need to look after you. It’s tempting to take on all the roles and run yourself into the ground in order to move your business forward but as the saying goes, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’. You are the most important asset for your business, you must look after your needs in order to run a business to the best of your ability.Marketing and social media

5. Make a plan

Planning is key for a marketing strategy. Don’t create an unrealistic plan as this can be demoralising and leave you feeling defeated. Set yourself small simple goals and these can be increased as you see success. It may be a target number of followers on Facebook, a specific number of sign-ups for a newsletter or exhibiting goals.If you need help with a marketing plan, check out Marketing by Minal  @Minal2804

6. Be where your customers are

It may sound obvious but with so many social media platforms it can sometimes feel very overwhelming and like you have to be everywhere at once! Find the social media platform that most speaks to your customers, most people are on Facebook so that is an obvious start but you may consider other platforms like Instagram if your business is creative or particularly visual. Do some research and see where your customers are visiting.

7.Aim for relationships not just sales

Building strong relationships with your customers will mean that they are more likely to be a repeat customer and share their good experiences with others. Micro businesses are all about the people at the very heart of them. Be brave and put yourself, your passion for your product/service and your business into all your interactions to make sure you stick in their minds for exceptional customer service.

8. Keep in touch

Don’t be afraid to ask someone for their contact details. Mailing lists have a bad reputation but used carefully and compassionately they can be a great tool to inform your customers, advise them of great offers and let that personality shine through. Similarly, every day we come across opportunities to network (especially if you produce a wearable product), always make sure you have a supply of business cards and details you can pass on.If you need more help with your marketing, one of our fab small business community Karen Campbell could help you. Check out @k_c_marketing for some great blogs, advice and tips.Branding

9. Have a good name and logo. 

A strong brand is easily recognizable. Recognition starts with the name of your business. The name will appear on your business cards, letterhead, website, social networks, promotional materials, products, and pretty much everywhere in print and online to identify your company or your company’s products and/or services. People commonly associate brands with the brand’s logo. As you think about your logo, keep your audience and products/services in mind because you want your logo to reflect your company. A good logo builds trust and a strong logo will help to pull your brand together.

10. Find your brand voice.

What you say is important, but don’t overlook how you say it. Your company’s “voice” is the language and personality you and your employees will use to deliver your branding message and reach your customers. Successful brands speak with a unique voice. Think about the brands you admire – what makes them unique? How do they communicate with you and other customers? What do you like about their voice?

11. Deliver value for your customers.

Value doesn’t mean lowest price. You can focus on product, great customer service , delivery of service, or a combination of those things. When thinking about the value your company delivers ask what sets your product or service apart from others with similar products/services. A personable company with an excellent product are strong emotional drivers for a customer to purchase.

12. Create a personality.

When you are deciding on how to brand your company and ‘voice’ it sometimes helps to think of it as a person. Analysing that character’s beliefs, likes and dislikes, where they live and what their lifestyle is like. This will help you find your target customer and solidify your brand.One of our favourite personalities is Alison Edgar from The Entrepreneurs Godmother, go to @aliedgar13 to check her out!

Small Business Saturday provides help and support for all Small Businesses throughout the year by providing workshops, webinars and informative content.Small Business Saturday UK also highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

Source: https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/blog/12-Top-Tips-for-Micro-businesses

8 Financial Tips for Entrepreneurs Launching a Startup

Friday, May 15th, 2020

I’m not a legal or financial professional . . . I’ve just started and bootstrapped a lot of businesses. Building a company from the ground up is one of the most difficult things I have done.

If you are thinking of launching a startup, my hat goes off to you because it’s far from easy. Here are eight tips to help you avoid some of the common financial mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting a new business.

1. Cash flow management is key.

Most startups fail for a variety of reasons, but one is far more common than others — running out of money. You need to know where every single dollar is coming from and where every single dollar is going.

If you don’t stay on top of your cash flow, you are going to put your business in a very dangerous position. It doesn’t matter how good your idea might be when you run out of money you hit a brick wall. Establish a budget and stick to it.

Related: No Money to Start a Business? No Problem. Try These 5 Options.

2. Track and monitor all spending.

With a new startup, there are going to be expenses coming at you from every direction. Hiring a full-time staffer to handle the books in the beginning isn’t very budget-friendly, so use accounting software to remain organized.

Not only will this help with cash flow management, but it also makes it much easier when tax time rolls around every year. As you grow and the accounting becomes more complex, you will need to consider hiring a professional. 

3. Limit your fixed expenses in the beginning.

In the beginning stages of a startup, keeping your expenses low is the key to longevity. You don’t need a huge elaborate office in the heart of your city or fully catered meals three times a day.

Operate thin so you can allocate the majority of your capital to growth, which will enable you to one day implement any perk you want. Too many startups focus on the wrong things — like fancy offices and over-the-top amenities — and forget that generating revenue should be their top priority.

4. Remain optimistic but prepare for the worst.

You never know what can happen when starting a business, so it is best to prepare yourself for the worst possible situation. Don’t quit your job and eliminate your main source of income until your business can replace that income.

Keep reserves — both personal and business — in an emergency savings account. You can never be too prepared for bad situations. Sadly, they do happen, often when you least expect them. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for your retirement, so when you start making money consider things like a Roth IRA and some investments, even small ones. Anything is better than nothing — consider micro-investing opportunities or allocating funds on a monthly basis to an online platform like E*TRADE. I found their fees to be on the low side.

Related: The Secret to Building a Successful Startup? Finding the Right Team.

5. Every minute of your time has monetary value.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet: time is money.

Nothing has more monetary value than your time. You only get so much of it every day, so take that into consideration when you are planning your schedule and day-to-day duties. Every second you spend doing something unrelated to your business is time (and money) wasted.

6. Focus on customer acquisition.

Without customers, you have no business. The sooner you figure out how to acquire customers and scale, the greater the chances are of your company making it. Once you identify different acquisition channels, work on optimization to lower your costs.

It’s impossible to test every possible acquisition channel at first, both in terms of time required and cost, so focus on the most lucrative opportunities. Once you successfully scale those, you’ll have the financial capability to explore other channels.

Related: The Golden Rule of Startup Capital: Don’t Waste Money

7. Make sure you pay yourself.

Your hard work and dedication to your business alone isn’t going to put food on your table — you need to pay yourself. While you don’t need to compensate yourself with a big fat salary in the beginning, make sure you pay yourself enough to live.

Give yourself enough to live comfortably and focus on building your business. When you eliminate personal financial stress, it allows you to stay ultra-focused on your business. You can’t eat ramen noodles forever. Give yourself some padding and comfort.

8. Establish financial goals.

Rather than just say, “I want to build a multi-million dollar company,” you need to break financial goals down into reachable and measurable ones. 

Monthly, weekly or even daily revenue goals allow you to stay on track and make the adjustments necessary for constant growth. You can even set milestones to hit along the way, giving you a lot of smaller goals to constantly hit. Knocking out little goals can give you the confidence needed to keep powering through the entrepreneurial journey.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/290617

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