by Devin Partida
Small business owners all have seen issues arise while running their retail operation. They must navigate and overcome obstacles at every level, from retaining customers to collecting debts. However, challenges can be opportunities in disguise when handled correctly.
Here are some common problems small business owners might encounter and how to overcome them:
- Capturing Leads
- Debt Collection
- Owner Dependence
- Customer Retention
- Maintaining Quality
- Client Dependence
The first step in the sales funnel is getting the customer’s attention. You can advertise to your intended audience on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube with targeted ads. Video advertisements are more likely to attract attention rather than text-based ads.
Use search engine optimization to boost your website’s rankings, contact forms to gather customer information, and demos to show your product or service. Retailers should always be changing things up to keep new shoppers coming through your door.
If your clients are not paying on time, it is up to you to collect their debts. This can be a real challenge for small and medium-sized businesses. It is important to watch for patterns from clients who often make late payments to see if you can find a mutually beneficial solution. Make sure your invoices clearly outline how much your customers owe, how they can pay you back, the due date, and what you are charging them for.
It is important to show compassion toward your clients, but remember that you are also trying to make a profit. To simplify the process, you can also work with a debt collector who specializes in collecting unpaid balances for small businesses.
One of the challenges your small retail business may encounter is owner dependence. You are the expert on your own brand — you founded it, after all — but your company should be able to run smoothly without you. This means that you need to delegate some of your responsibilities to other employees and train workers to operate independently of you. You will burn out if you keep trying to do everything, so it is worth it in the end to have employees help you with your workload. This also makes your business more valuable if you ever decide to sell it.
While it is essential to gain new customers, it is even more important to keep the ones you already have. After all, acquiring new clients is more expensive than retaining current ones. Engage shoppers by sending follow-up emails with interesting content or sales, having a solid social media presence, or offering loyalty programs that reward repeat business.
Maintaining the quality of your products and services that attracted customers to your brand in the first place will help your business continue to grow. For example, you may expand your coffee shop to new locations, but you should still take time to visit each one and personally get to know your employees. Strike a balance between quality and quantity.
Even though it is great to nurture the relationships you have with current consumers, try to diversify your customer base instead of focusing on one or two entities. That way, if one of them falls through, you will have a safety net. Placing your eggs in several baskets can help you to accomplish this, and you can also try asking current customers to refer others who may need your service. Offering new products or trying different marketing strategies, such as advertising on social media or billboards, can also help to expand your customer base.
Passion led you to start a small retail business in the first place, but it can be hard to maintain over time, especially when dealing with paperwork and long hours. The types of driven, ambitious entrepreneurs who run companies often burn themselves out with that same obsessive mentality.
This is why it is important to take a break. Ensure your business will run smoothly without you, step back, and then enjoy a well-deserved rest. When you are feeling recharged, remember why you wanted to start your company. Despite these challenges, seeing your business grow can be extremely rewarding.