by Sarah Small (no it’s not a play on words there!)

Now please don’t take this personally.  It pretty much applies to all small businesses who want to keep costs down. You do what you have to do, you do it all yourself, and you put sticking plasters over what is starting to be a pretty big gash.  And then, it gets too late to fix, and the cracks start to show.  By that time, the costs are much higher and the stakes are more fragile because you didn’t do what you needed to do in the first place.

Now we know that it’s hard to part with your well earned cash, especially when starting out, but the benefits of asking for help can be huge.  You may well not need to have an all singing and dancing website, and you may consider not investing in a costly CRM, but by addressing some of these things when they first pop up, may save you time, effort and money in the long run.

Another big mistake that small businesses often make is ignoring the need to attract customers even whilst they are busy. Barry Moltz, recognised speaker and business consultant says, “Too many small business owners are stuck in a boom-and-bust cycle” – what he calls the “double-helix trap. What that means is that they ignore their sales and marketing activity whilst they are busy, and when the busy period ends they are scrambling in the dust with nothing else in the pipeline.  Instead, he says, you need to develop a strategy to “stay in touch with people over a long period of time,” whether it’s through e-newsletters, social media, or other channels. “Customers want to be educated now; they don’t want to be sold to.”

We wouldn’t recommend that you overload on discount offers when you need to bring in the money, but build relationships with your ideal customers over a period of time, providing information to them, so that when they are ready, they will come straight to you.

There is nothing wrong with being a small company, small usually means personal, and comfortable, knowing you aren’t going to get lost in the lift up to the 63rd floor, so use that as a marker of your strengths.

Learn how to do things you might not have know how to do and prioritise a handful of really important tasks each day to do first, before you check your emails, as I’ve talked about before.  But equally, outsource the things that are taking up your time, such as scheduling meetings, responding to emails, creating mailshots and managing your social media, freeing you up to do what you need to do to bring in the cash.

There are many things that you can outsource with no commitment, and we’d be happy to talk to you to discuss this in more detail.  Remember, you can be ANYTHING, but you can’t be EVERYTHING……!



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