It can take years for a small business toturn a profit. If you have crossed this crucial milestone, you deserve some credit. But now is not the time to rest on your laurels. You need to create a sound plan to protect your profits and keep your business going strong on its upward trajectory. To help you along the way, I’ve assembled a few tips designed to keep your ledgers in the black for years to come.
1. Keep Improving Your Margins
Now that you’re free from the pressure of negative cash flow, you have some time available to look hard at your income and expenses. Try to find areas where you can cut costs without sacrificing quality. There may be a less costly vendor for office supplies, for example, or perhaps you could shave $ 100 or so off monthly expenses by going with a different waste management company. Seemingly small things can add up into an even more favorable financial picture for your business.
On the income side, take a hard look at your profit margins for various goods and services. This is a good way to identify areas to focus on in the future. By reducing or eliminating low margin items and promoting those at the upper end of the scale, you’re creating a formula for enduring business growth.
2. Develop Your Staff
Your employees are the face of your business. Their attitude, demeanor, and general helpfulness (or lack thereof) represent your company to customers and clients. It is for that reason that employee training and development is so critical to the continued success of your business. You may want to invest some of your profits in training programs that help your employees grow in their careers. You’ll not only improve customer service, but also build a pool of young talent loyal to your business and brand.
3. Invest in Marketing
Now that you’re busy and profitable, you may think it’s time to back off the marketing budget a bit. On the contrary, now may be the time to hit the gas. Good marketing brings in quality leads and builds a loyal following for your business. This in turn can help you be more selective with the clients and customers you take on. With time, you may be able to shed your lowest paying clients for higher paying clients, creating a virtuous cycle that keeps your business growing.
Building a marketing plan does not have to be expensive, but it does take time. Here are some simple steps that you can take right away to better market your business.
- Attend trade shows and networking events
- Send out an email newsletter
- Create a consistent brand design among all of your marketing collateral (i.e. letterhead, website, signage, etc.)
- Get active on social media
Depending upon the size of your business, hiring a professional marketing firm may be a wise investment. The unique design and content options that these firms offer can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
4. Limit Your Liability
An icy sidewalk, a greasy floor, an upturned floor, what do all of these things have in common? They’re all workplace safety hazards just waiting to disrupt your business. All it takes is one slip to land your business in a lengthy and costly lawsuit. Small businesses in particular are especially vulnerable; a personal injury lawsuit could wipe out your profits for years to come.
What can be done to prevent these hazards? Start with the following steps.
- Clear the sidewalks: In the winter, keep sidewalks and outdoor walkways free from snow and ice, even on days when your business is closed.
- Keep things tidy: Move boxes out of walkways, and keep floors clean and dry.
- Train your employees: Keep a workplace safety handbook and ensure that your employees are properly trained on its contents.
Additionally, you may want to get a safety audit from a professional. A safety inspector can review your business and recommend key improvements.
5. Install a Robust Security System
If you are like most small businesses, the majority of your most valuable assets are located within the few hundred square feet of your storefront. This leaves your business and your profits vulnerable to theft and other security threats.
Fortunately, security systems for small businesses don’t have to be costly or complicated. There are online resources available to help you compare pricing of different systems and read reviews from other business owners. By doing your research, you can find a system that keeps your small business protected without breaking the bank.
Remember, profits give you the freedom to help your business live up to its fullest potential. With your newfound flexibility and financial resources, you can protect what you have already gained, and invest in opportunities to reach unforeseen heights.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community