Running a small business can be challenging in any environment, but it can be particularly difficult when you do business in a highly competitive industry. Large competitors have bigger budgets and more resources to help them weather market fluctuations and changes in consumer demand. As a small business owner, you must work strategically to compete with larger businesses.
Some Tips to Help Make Sure Your Business Remains Viable in a Competitive Environment:
1) Work with freelancers and consultants to take care of business tasks. Hiring freelancers allows you to pay for quality without having to provide work space, benefits, payroll administration, and other standard expenses that come with retaining in-house staff members. You can use consultants and freelancers to handle tasks such as accounting, marketing, business development, graphic design, and online content creation.
2) Automate a portion of your marketing tasks. Having professionals handle all of your marketing tasks manually can be a costly and cumbersome proposition. Marketing software can help streamline and automate marketing messages sent to leads and current customers. Automated marketing software can also take the headaches out of qualifying leads so that you don’t spend time and money marketing to people who don’t need or want your services and products.
3) Monitor sales to maintain your inventory. You should review sales on a monthly basis to make sure you have the right amount of inventory to meet consumer demand. Excess inventory ties up operating capital and increases storage costs. Insufficient inventory can cause fulfillment delays, which can lead to negative consumer reviews and discourage repeat business.
4) Keep a close eye on receivables. When possible, send invoices on the same day you deliver products to consumers. Carefully monitor outstanding invoices to make sure customers send payments promptly. If a customer consistently pays late, consider whether it is appropriate to continue a business relationship with the customer. Late payments deprive your business of capital that you could use to meet operating expenses.
5) Negotiate with providers to lower operating expenses. For example, you might be able to negotiate with your business communications provider to obtain a lower rate. If you cannot lower your expenses with the same provider, it might be time to start shopping around.
Although staying competitive can be a challenge for small business owners, these tips can help ensure that you can maintain viability and continue to grow your business.