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As a small business owner, what are some of the challenges or problems your business might face during the pandemic?

1.  CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT 

  • The challenge: Cash flow is essential for small businesses to survive, and yet, many entrepreneurs are struggling to pay the bills while they themselves are waiting for checks to arrive. A part of the problem stems from delayed invoicing, which is common in the entrepreneurial world. You perform a job, send an invoice, and then get paid (hopefully) 30 days later. In the meantime, you have to pay everything from your employees or contractors to your mortgage to your grocery bill. Waiting to get paid can make it difficult to get by — and when a customer doesn’t pay, you can risk everything.
  • The solution: Proper budgeting and planning is critical to maintaining cash flow, but even these won’t always save you from stressing over bills. One way to improve cash flow is to require a down payment for your products and services. Your down payment should cover all expenses associated with a given project or sale as well as some profit for you. By requiring a down payment, you can at least rest assured you won’t be left paying others’ bills; by padding the down payment with some profit, you can pay your own.

 

  • Another strategy for improving cash flow is to require faster invoice payments. Invoice clients within 15 days, which is half the typical invoice period. This means if a customer is late with a payment, you have two weeks to address it and get paid before the next month’s bills are due. In addition, more and more companies are requiring immediate payment upon project completion — and in our digital age when customers can pay invoices right from their mobile phones, it’s not a stretch to request immediate payment.

2. REFUSING TO ADAPT AN EVOLVE

  • The Challenges: For boomers, especially elderly people, it will be hard for them to learn new tools, especially related to social media. We all live for our businesses each day, but staying educated on the world around us helps shape what happens in our own line of work. 

  • The solution: If you have a wide enough budget for marketing, you can also employ agencies such as ours to assist you in formulating marketing strategies, handle social media platforms, as well as designing posters and ads. Moreover, self-learning is also important too. Trends keep on changing. For example, the younger generations might prefer Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook or Tik Tok and so on. Hence, you need some exposure to online platforms because social media can give you the news you need in 140 characters or less, but can help you stay educated. Other than that, people will be more aware of your brand or product.

3. STRUGGLE TO BUILD WITH DIGITAL RELATIONSHIP 

  • The challenges: Creating new partnerships using online platforms or sustaining digital relationships with clients (who are trying to save some of their investments), and a lack of tech knowledge. Other than that, with generation Z’s propensity to communicate through means other than face-to-face, relationship building will become harder to do on a personal level.
  • The Solution: If you sell products or services, you need to collaborate with an influencer or agency that can handle the online platforms for you. Gen Z will make up 30% of the workforce this year and we need to go to where they are. Gen Z prefers digital communication over voice or in person, making us find solutions to building relationships with a digital persona-  Eg. Lisa Box, WP Engine, Inc.

4. KEEPING UP WITH THE ONLINE TOOLS 

  • The challenges: Ever-changing technology is something that creates challenges for business development leaders. They need to understand the newest technology, but not consume all their time and energy keeping up with it. 
  • The solution:  If you do not have time to handle your online platforms or create content for your platforms, you can hire an agency that is good with digital platforms such as like Winning Media Communication, since we’ve been creating and handling digital platforms including advertisement through television and online as well. Previously, we have also worked with JKNN and Cosmoderm (Skincare Company) to provide their advertising as well marketing strategies. Therefore, we can provide services that save your time, money and do all the digital content for you

"Leaders cannot spend time on every single new social media platform, but they do not want to miss being early on the next top platform."

Alex Kowtun, Monkey In Paradise Vodka Tweet

5. TIME MANAGEMENT (WORKING FROM HOME)

  • The challenge: Interruptions from family members, kids or pets. If one of your co-workers are married then they will get disturbed by their own kids or pets who demand to play with you or cook lunch for them which will take up much of your time to finish your work or reply to clients’ email. Time management might be the biggest problem faced by entrepreneurs, who wear many (and all) hats. If you only had more time, you could accomplish so much more!
  • The solution: Make time or create a schedule for your family members to cook lunch or take care of the kids, or even ask whether your kids can join you as well.  Like money, time doesn’t grow on trees, so of course you have to be smart in how you spend it. Here’s how:
  • Create goal lists: You should have a list of lifetime goals, broken down into annual goals, broken down into monthly goals, and then broken down into weekly goals. Your weekly goals, then will be broken down into specific tasks by day. In this manner, what is on your task list on any given day is all you need to do to stay on track with your lifetime goals

> If any tasks do not absolutely have to be completed by you, give them

> Always ask yourself: “Is what I’m doing right now the absolute best use of my time?”

6. ASSIGNING TASKS & MONITORING 

  • The challenge: You know you need to be delegate or outsource tasks, but it seems like every time you do, something gets messed up and you have to redo it anyway.
  • The solution:  Find good employees (see above) and good outsourced contract/digital marketing agency, for starters. You might have to pay a little more for it, but the time saved (and the resulting earning potential) can more than make up for it. Next, be ultra-specific as to what you want done. You need write down detailed steps listing exactly what you want your help to do. Don’t make assumptions, and don’t assume your help will be able to think for themselves (they can, but they will complete the job verbatim because that’s what they’re trained to do).

7. CHOOSING WHAT TO SELL 

  • The challenge: You know you could make a lot of money if you just knew what products and services to sell. You’re just unsure how to pick a niche (which category of business). It’s about knowing how your products and services that you provide for your clients are unique, or how you are uniquely able to solve their problems. For example, right now people are demanding online delivery services for products such as food, services or health.
  • The solution: Admit that you’re weak in identifying prosperous niches, and give the task to someone who is strong in this area. You don’t have to hire a huge, expensive marketing firm; rather, recruit a freelance researcher who has experience in whatever type of field you’re considering entering (retail e-commerce, service industry, publishing, etc.).
  • Have them conduct market research and create a report with suggested niches, backed by potential profit margins and a complete SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This isn’t to say you should have someone else decide for you; however, if you’re not good at identifying niches it’s a good idea to have someone who is there to make suggestions. You can then analyse the suggestions for yourself to determine if you agree. Taking this step now can save you a lot of time, money and hassles later — and it can save your entire business and livelihood.

8. SETTING UP THE BEST MARKETING STRATEGY

  • The challenge:  You probably do not know the best way to market your products and services, i.e. printing, online and mobile advertising, etc. You want to maximize your return on investment with efficient, targeted marketing that gets results.
  • The solution: Again, if you’re not adept at creating marketing plans and placing ads, it’s a good idea to outsource your marketing strategy to someone who is. At this point, all you need is a core marketing plan: what marketing activities will you undertake to motivate purchases? Give your planner a budget and tell them to craft a plan that efficiently uses that budget to produce profits.
  • This is not the time for experimentation. You can do that later, on your own or with the advice of your marketing strategist, after you’ve established a baseline that works.

9. SHORTAGE OF RUNNING CAPITAL 

  • The challenge: You want to start or grow your business, but you have too little capital to do it.
  • The solution: There are many ways to earn funding, from traditional bank loans to family and friends to Kickstarter campaigns. You can choose these routes, certainly, but we prefer the self-fuelled growth model in which you fund your own business endeavours. Focus on your initial core customers. Continually work to find new customers, of course, but consistently strive to be remarkable to those customers you already serve.
  • Word-of-mouth will spread, and more customers will come looking for you. As they do, develop systems and business processes that allow you to delegate tasks without sacrificing quality. Your business will grow slow and steady, and you’ll be able to solve problems while they’re small.
  • Think about where you want to be five years from now. Can you get there without help, even if you have to delay growth a bit while you’re doing it? This is the best strategy to adopt for small business entrepreneurs. If you do feel you need funding, however, be sure to consult an attorney to make sure you’re not giving up too much of your business to get it.

10. STAYING MOTIVATED DURING CRISIS. ” FIGHT FOR IT OR FLIGHT”

  • The challenge: An entrepreneur’s life is not privileged, at least in the beginning. It’s extremely easy to get discouraged when something goes wrong or when you’re not growing as fast as you’d like. Self-doubt creeps in, and you feel like giving up.
  • The solution: Being able to overcome self-doubt is a necessary trait for entrepreneurs. Having a good support system will help: family and friends who know your goals and support your plight, as well as an advisory board of other entrepreneurs who can objectively opine as to the direction of your business.
  • One of the best ways to deal with self-doubt is to work on your goals and tasks lists. When you’re down and lack motivation, look at your lists and know that the tasks you do today are contributing to your lifetime goals. By doing them, you’re one step closer, and you can rest assured that you are, indeed, on the path to business success.
  • Entrepreneurs face many challenges, and volumes have been written about how to overcome them. Persistence and intelligence are your strength; use them to your advantage to keep working toward your goals. Understand that you’re not the first to struggle. Because of that, there are many resources available to help you get through your darkest days as an entrepreneur, so you can reap the immeasurable rewards that come with building your own successful business.
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