If you’ve decided to start – or are already running – a small business, you should be commended on your bravery and drive. Doing so is a big commitment and everyone is very aware of the intimidating success/fail ratio for new businesses. With that said, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of specific things causing a problem for your business either in the near future of further down the track. Here are five of them.
1. IT Malfunctions
A computer playing up here and there isn’t a disaster. But your network regularly going offline definitely would cause long-term problems for your business, e.g. leaving you unable to process payments or communicate with customers. To ensure that technology mishaps never cause irreversible damage to your business, you should hire a managed IT services company like Keyspace to efficiently take care of any problems you encounter with your devices and connections.
2. Social Media and Public Opinion
Before social media, an unhappy customer wasn’t too big a problem; they would complain to their family and friends, but it wouldn’t go much further than that. Today, when they complain, their entire network of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of online connections will hear about the problem they have with your business, and this will negatively affect your reputation. To keep on top of this, it’s important to do two things: 1) have strong customer relations in general; and 2) carefully monitor social media for mentions of your business and quickly remedy any issues that arise.
3. A Disgruntled Employee
When you’re a large company, a single employee can’t do too much to damage business. But you’re not a large company; you’re running a small business. This means a dissatisfied employee, whether they’ve been fired or just feel mistreated, can cause serious strife if they wish to. To reduce the risk of this occurring, it makes sense to be an approachable and reasonable boss, but also to take steps to protect your business in case a staff member decides to try and damage your reputation.
4. Neglecting Your Financial Records
Whether it’s poor planning leading to insufficient funds, or getting in trouble with the ATO, neglecting your financial records is a sure-fire way towards trouble for your business. Budgeting and goal-setting is crucial to keep your business financially on track, so be sure to make time for this. Meanwhile, even if your intentions are right, an honest mistake is still a mistake – especially when it comes to tax reporting. Either do enough research to be able to manage this yourself properly or, if you’re short of time, hire a bookkeeper to manage your records for you.
5. Not Knowing Your Market
Expert marketers and successful business people will tell you: money invested into developing a product or service is wasted unless you have research to show that what you’re making is in demand. Never assume that the broader community will pay for something just because your friends said they would. Research is the key to knowing what your business should strive for.
Running a small business in hard work and often very stressful. There are a lot of risks to be wary of and obstacles to navigate, but – if you get it right – it can also be an immensely rewarding and satisfying experience. So don’t give up; follow the above advice and pursue success.