According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses create 1.5 million jobs yearly, contributing up to 44% of the economic activity. Small businesses play a key role in the overall national GDP. However, the failure of startups is very high. Those that survive to become big conglomerates make it by sheer grit and tenacity, and with a bit of luck. Here are four ways Rochester businesses can brave the turbulence of the modern-day business environment to stay afloat and even thrive.
One can automate most routine tasks in a small shop. These include repetitive tasks such as creating and sending marketing emails, updating the business's social media platforms, daily bookkeeping, and having a chatbot respond to your customers when you're closed.
To automate tasks, purchase software that suits your business. Use customer relationship management software to capture individual details such as their purchasing habits, preferred ways of communication, and demographic data. You can analyze the data to establish their needs and find ways of meeting them. You can also craft personalized recommendations for repeat customers based on their shopping habits.
You can inform customers about your products and services on social media platforms. Promptly respond to their question to serve them better. Ensure your Rochester customers get their issues addressed through your social media platforms. You want them to know you'll attend to every query they raise and that you're not out of reach.
2. Offer Personalized Services
Many customers prefer small businesses because they deal with them in a human, personal way. Keep your team as reachable by customers as possible, and you can do it using voice-over-internet protocols. The beauty of VOIP is that it's free as long as you have an internet connection. Web Tribunal states that 61% of businesses switch to a VOIP system.
Whether selling food, hardware, or offering a haircare service, stay in touch with your customers. A small thank-you note goes a long way in appreciating a customer. Give them a small gift to show your thoughtfulness, and remember to say hello. Anything that keeps the conversations warm and gives them a reason to come again is worth investing in.
To stay in touch with your customers, consistently train your team on customer engagement. The customers want to see that you genuinely care, so do it from the heart. Have they visited your store several times? Offer them a discount; your thoughtfulness will warm their hearts.
3. Monitor the Cash
Your business needs cash daily to function. Send all invoices out as soon as a sale is made. Follow up on the invoices to ensure payments are made within the agreed time. To motivate your buyers, offer incentives such as discounts for early payment. Provide buyers with a payment plan for expensive products, such as in installments.
Where you need quick cash to keep the business running, consider the short-term lending options from Rochester banking institutions. Businesses can get funding options to pay back over an agreed period. A majority of businesses experience financing challenges, with only 48% able to meet their financial obligations.
4. Beware of Fraud
As you train your employees on customer retention, sensitize them on occupational fraud. Money theft is common in small businesses. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) says businesses lose approximately 5% of their revenue annually to fraud. Don't entrust every financial dealing to one person, even if you feel the business is too small.
Have a separate person to handle cash and another to handle the accounting function. Install and reinforce accounting software with online accounting tools to help automate the functions. Onboard your employees on must-follow company policies and procedures to reduce complacency and too much familiarity.
When employees are too free with each other, especially with their boss, they're likely to cross the boundaries. Formalize all work processes and document procedures. Most of all, ensure everyone meets their targets per their job terms.