Pay close attention to accurate billing, pursue leads relentless and make every cost accountable if you want to come out of the recession alive.
A tough economy often means tough times for small businesses and freelancers who may already be struggling. Even if there is no struggle, there’s always concern about encouraging income, cutting back on expenses and surviving until the situation is more favorable for business. Having run a number of small businesses before building WORK[etc], I understand this all to well.
But it is always more than just weathering the storm. You want to come out of this recession flying!
Staying ahead of the game (or at least, staying in the game!) means working harder, but it also means thinking smarter. With a calm, cool attitude and a mindset of seeing what you can do to make sure your business survives without giving into panicked worry, you’ll be there to greet new customers when the situation picks up.
Here are six ways to shore the supports of your small business so that it can weather the tough times – and make it through the storms – and I’ll be straight up here, it all loops back to using WORK[etc]. Fundamentally you need to put in place systems and work toward automating those systems.
- Pay close attention to accurate billing. When times are good, business owners often wave off small charges, round down when billing to be nice with clients, or let slip a few forgotten minutes that didn’t make the first invoice. WORK[etc] helps you easily tighten up loose operations so you can make sure that detailed timesheets are carefully filled in to capture every bit of revenue you can.
- Stay on top of your accounts payable. Don’t wait to bill clients, as they may not always be able to pay if you are lenient with payment terms. Try to implement deposit or retainer policies to avoid spending time (and wasting money) chasing late payers. Even better, with WORK[etc], you can monitor accounts payable in real time and auto generate reminder notices.
- Monitor profits and losses carefully. Sometimes taking a loss can lead to opportunities, but sometimes adjusting operations creates better profitability. Analyze project expenses as well, to see which types of projects you should focus on most (or least).
- Pursue leads – and manage them properly with a detailed CRM Software. Very often, business owners don’t pursue interested consumers effectively or often enough, and that means lost sales. Sometimes the person has a question and just the answer makes that consumer a customer.
- Help customers help themselves. The more accessible your customer support, the happier your customers will be – but you can reduce support and service costs by encouraging customers to use self-serve support so they can get fast answers and you can save money.
One last and important tip is to capture team member or employee knowledge before moving towards layoffs or downscaling. Record key account details, product information, lead tips and strategic ideas in a central location so that if people do have to take a temporary leave, their departure’s impact is only minimal and the valuable information they held is accessible.
5 6 strategies and your business will surely be in a better position to really take advantage of the good times when they come rolling around again.