Need Help Solving Common Business Problems?
Solutions to Solving Common Business Problems
After a combined nearly 25 years in business, the team at ProStrategix, have seen it all. Successes, failures, and everything in between. We’ve seen them and we’ve helped them. We know we can help you too.
Just Starting Out
Small businesses and entrepreneurs face many challenges when they are first starting out and may need help solving common business problems. Luckily, there are many resources available to avoid the most common pitfalls and to increase your chances of success.
Establishing the Business
The most important step is to establish the business as an entity. This limits liability & protects personal assets. The choice of business entity varies. The most typical are limited liability corporations (LLC) and S-corporations (S-Corps). These are pass through entities, meaning any profit you make passes directly to the owners/partners as income. There are specific tax implications for each depending on your industry.
Validate Your Market
It’s important to demonstrate that your service is seen as valuable to your customers. This is a common mistake many businesses make. They believe so strongly in their idea or service that they are certain others will feel the same. This may not be the case. Providing the product or service for free or at a significant discount can entice customers to try it. Obtaining their feedback on satisfaction, pricing, value, etc. is extremely important.
Understand Resources Needs
It’s important to understand and to articulate clearly both the capital and talent required to successfully run the business. What do you need in terms of money? People? When and for what will it be needed? Now is the best time to write your business plan. The business plan is a great tool both to articulate the need and to provide the justification to yourself and to potential employees and financiers.
There are a number of approaches when looking to fund capital needs. How you fund your capital needs will depend on a number of factors. When it comes to seeking capital, there is not one ‘correct’ approach. It’s very dependent on each individual company’s circumstances. See our Fundraising Assistance section for more information.
When it comes to building scale, each case is unique. If you think you are ready for expansion, please check out our Expansion Assistance section for more advice.
The one area that we have noticed over the years is that many start-ups fail to put enough effort into their marketing plan. The marketing plan is the engine that drives sales. Scroll down to learn more about marketing.
If your small business is trying to make an impact in the current landscape, you aren’t alone. It isn’t easy to come up with great ideas
When you look at the data, more than ½ of all small businesses fail in 4 to 5 years. It’s the unfortunate truth of owning a
Veteran Facing Challenges?
When you get stuck, it’s often helpful to go back to the basics to find out what might need to be fixed.
What is the Market?
When a business struggles, it’s helpful to go back and validate the size of the market opportunity? Is there a big enough market for what we do? Have we identified the right customers? Are there niches that we missed?
Are We Reaching Them?
Assuming the answers for those questions are all “yes,” then we have to examine how effective we are at reaching an audience so they know you exist. If they don’t know the right things about us, how can we reach them?
Interested in Buying
Once we know we are reaching the right people, how can we convince them to buy from us instead of someone else?
What’s Our Message?
How do we convince people? We need to craft an effective pitch or message. How do we do that? We do that by really understanding what they need and want. Then, we show how we provide it in a unique way.
How Well Do We Serve Them?
Once they reach us, how do we treat them? Is it a positive experience they’ll remember and want to share with their friends?
What’s it Cost to Serve Them?
Many businesses forget to measure the cost to service, but it is a very important cost to measure. If it’s costing you more to serve the customer than you make, we either have the wrong customer or we’re over serving them.
What are Our Costs?
How much does it cost to keep the lights on? Pay our employees? Pay ourselves? Pay our bills?
Are We Charging Enough?
We need to make sure that our customers will be willing to pay enough to cover both our variable and our fixed costs. Many times we forget to factor fixed costs into our pricing, and that’s a costly mistake.
How Are We Paid?
How long does it take us to get paid? Is it longer than our payroll period? rent? etc? If so, we have inherent cash flow imbalance that we will need to manage.
You can still be profitable but be low on cash, especially if you are a seasonal business or work with customers with long payment terms. In this case, having enough cash to cover the gap is important.
Do We Track Performance?
If all we are doing is reconciling bank statements at the end of the month, we’re not doing enough. We should have metrics for each of the steps we’ve already covered.
What’s Our Plan?
If we don’t have a plan, how can we know where we’re going? If you don’t have a business plan, that can cause problems. Even if you have a plan but never look at it, that’s just as problematic.
Getting More Customers
When facing a dip in sales or hitting a plateau, it’s usually good to take a step back and do a full assessment of your marketing to see if it is as effective as you would like it to be. If not, here’s some tools on how to fix it.
The single most important thing a business can do is to identify and define a distinct and reachable target. The better defined and distinct the target is, the tighter–and likely more motivating–the message will be. If the target is too big, you risk not being relevant. Conversely, if it’s too small, you’ll run out of them. Since the target definition drives all of your marketing efforts, it is very important to get it right.
Positioning focuses on how the business views itself within its competitive market. It identifies and articulates how the business is unique, and how it distinguishes itself from its competition. It’s an important step for any business. Investing time in developing a strong positioning will likely increase the effectiveness of both the business and marketing strategies. It clearly defines your place in market & why you are different.
Branding creates a unique place within your customer’s mind. It leverages the use of your name, symbol, and/or message to distinguish your business within the market. Most small businesses struggle with branding. Branding is a mental tool to get into the minds of your customers. It symbolizes you in their memory. It provides instant recognition and links you to a set of benefits without saying a word.
The elements of a persuasive message are the insight, the benefits, and the rationale. Of the three, the insight is the most important. People are motivated by emotions. An insight taps into those emotions needs.
The benefit is how we uniquely solve our customer’s emotional needs. Each business is different, but if you can be seen as solving an emotional need of a customer. A lasting bond can be formed.
How you deliver the message is sometimes as important as the message itself. Picking the right channel ensures that right message isn’t delivered to the wrong person.
We need to figure out if the message was delivered to the right person and if some action was taken. All the work above is for naught if we don’t see some change in behavior.
If you feel like you’re in the process of solving common business problems but need help, contact us.
Let’s talk about Louisa’s Lemons. I know it sounds corny but bear with me. Louisa was a client of ours struggling to break through as a green cleaning service in New York