Growth is a top priority for small business owners,Disclosure 1 and a growing business depends on its owner’s full engagement to meet sales, operations, and financing demands.
Businesses count on an owner’s leadership to produce growth and staying focused on the tasks that have the greatest impact can keep businesses growing. But business challenges can sidetrack owners and zap their productivity. Cash crises are particularly crippling and can lead to slowed production and lost sales while adding the stress of raising cash and repairing damaged owner credit.Disclosure 1
Focus on where you can make the biggest difference.
As the best salespeople for their companies—accounting for an average of 25% of sales—owners are naturally drawn into day-to-day selling.Disclosure 1 Yet this consumes an average of 20% of an owners’ time.Disclosure 1
Leaving sales to the sales team and only jumping in selectively frees up an owner’s time for critical issues, like company strategy and finding funding for growth.
Top growth actionsDisclosure 1
To keep owners focused on work that will bring the highest return for the business:
- Segment and target the most promising opportunities – Sell more efficiently by understanding your market and customers so you can accurately target products and services. Finding profitable niche markets and unmet needs can create a competitive advantage and increase sales.
- Build skills and lead the team to market and sell – Lack of marketing skills means an owner may take more time to close sales. Hiring experienced sales and marketing staff will pay for itself as sales numbers increase, growth goals are met, and leaders are able to take on more strategic initiatives.
- Add digital and social capabilities – The last year saw small owners turning to digital platforms and social media to promote their businesses, and they continue to see these strategies as a top priority.Disclosure 1 Embracing today’s digital trend expands a company’s reach, establishes positive brand awareness, and creates a broader buying audience.
Crises, diversions, and business practices that soak up time can deprive your business of energy. This year more than half of small business owners expect to revise their business plans, rethink long-term goals, or plan for expansion. To stay focused where your business needs you means guarding your time and boosting your personal efficiency.
Business cash crises can leave you facing the prospect of using personal cash, forgoing owner salary, or taking out a personal loan—86% of business owners say a cash crisis affected their personal finances.Disclosure 1 A few simple-to-implement actions can help alleviate the stress of a cash shortfall.
- Start cash flow planning – Monitoring and forecasting cash is one of the most important strategies cited by small business owners to alleviate the stress of cash flow management.Disclosure 1 Regularly review cash flow statements that track money coming in and going out. You can use online banking to improve account reconciliation and provide easier access to up-to-the-minute cash levels.
- Increase profits with operating efficiencies – Controlling costs is a key strategy for increasing both profits and cash flow. Boost your inflow of cash by reducing your overhead (rent, utilities, travel, entertainment, etc.), fine tuning the balance of full-time and outsourced staff, and using technology that increases productivity.
- Control working capital levels – Actively managing receivables and payables means more control over cash inflows and outflows. Making electronic payments, offering alternate customer payment methods [Truist link], and managing vendor payment trade terms are all tactics that can help reduce your working capital needs.
- Build reserves – Turning extra cash flow into cash reserves creates a cushion for your business, eliminating the need to use personal funds or other credit sources to meet unexpected cash needs.