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Managing a small business is no easy feat. Smaller companies have less of the resources and connections that insulate large corporations from potential problems, meaning that the stakes are never higher for a business than in their first year of operation. This can be daunting for small-business owners, but there are ample methods that can help alleviate these concerns. Here’s what you need to know.

Managing your finances. Finances are the cornerstone of all commerce, for obvious reasons. Businesses are primarily concerned with making as much money as possible in order to offset expenses and earn a profit. Doing so means coming to terms with each of these figures and how they interact. Finances can be complicated for some, and hiring an accountant is a great way to rectify that. An accountant is almost always a good idea, because it takes a certain proficiency to keep accurate and thorough financial records and make the kind of sound financial decisions that might elude the average person. For example, you’ll need to understand revenue recognition under ASC 606 in order to estimate your net worth and report your earnings.You’ll also need to know how to file your business’s taxes and how to classify your worker’s taxes in order to make sure that they have the right paperwork come tax time.

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Understanding your market. Marketing is an essential part of any business, because it is the primary means by which you can spread awareness of your business and create a loyal customer base. This means that your marketing needs to be honed to a razor’s edge, and you’ll need market research in order to make that happen. In order to know the best marketing strategies available to your business, you’ll need to get to know your audience. Your target market is defined largely by the type of business you own, as a certain kind of person is interested in, for example, skate boards. The group or groups of people that are interested in your products or services are known as your target demographics, and they are largely interconnected with your target market. However, these groups are not monolithic, and getting to know what they want from a business like yours or how they feel about the services you’ve provided requires some effort. Surveys are a time honored method of conducting market research, but social media provides a much quicker, much easier, and much cheaper alternative.

Using social media to your advantage. Social media has been a major boon to businesses, as it gives them more reach and more exposure in the digital age. Social media has a substantial, international audience, making it a prime vehicle for advertisements, and there is a framework for a traditional style of paid ads on various social media platforms. However, where social media truly excels is how it offers businesses marketing tools that are more effective and less costly. For example, you can pay to advertise to the general population of a given platform, but you can also post the same ads on your own account for free for your followers. Likewise, you can create other kinds of posts to meet different needs such as acquiring feedback on various pieces of marketing or even your business’s products, services, or business model. You can also distribute announcements akin to press releases as often as you like at no cost. Social media marketing is also an opportunity to fine tune your brand, as social media allows you to engage in a direct conversation with your customers. This means that you can curate a personality for your business by simply establishing a matching rapport with consumers online.

When it comes to managing a business, it’s the best of both worlds. While it can be a dream come true, it can also be a nightmare for those who aren’t prepared for the challenges they’ll face. That being said, there’s always a solution waiting to be discovered, and these tips will help you get started.