Things That a New Small Business Owner Must Expect

Many people dream about starting their own business, but very few are actually able to live their dreams by executing them, and even fewer make it past the first five years. This is mainly because a large number of times, some business owner don’t really know what to expect.

There are no words to describe what it feels like but in simple terms; it’s fun but scary at the same time. A large number of small businesses fail because of an inability to successfully make it past year one.

Many business gurus believe that with the right knowledge of what to expect, a new small business owner will know how to prepare for upcoming challenges. Here are a few things that any new small business owner should expect.

Be Ready to Hustle When You’re Tired

Isn’t that what being a small business owner is about? You may be thinking that as a small business owner, you can take a day off when you feel like it but that’s not the case. As the brains behind the entire operation, you need to hustle even when you feel like you’ve done enough. That’s the difference between being an employee and a business owner; you’ve never done enough.

There will always be paperwork that you need to sign, orders that you need to make and customers whom you need to talk to, especially in the first year. Just like in every other phase of life or an industry, the initial period is always make-or-break, and the end result highly depends upon how much work you put in.

You can spend each second checking and rechecking your plans and improving them, working on ideas and developing new strategies. After all, there’s so much on your plate (marketing, product development, vendor contracts and employee training)

You Can’t Make Every Customer Happy

It’s true that as a business owner, you need to retain a sense of balance in everything you do but when it comes to satisfaction, you can’t make everyone happy. As a small business owner, you’re bound to make quite a few customers unhappy and the truth is, you don’t really need to make everyone happy, either.

It’s important that you remember that the key is to have a consistent customer service policy and handling complaints carefully. If your product doesn’t impress a customer all that much, then the way you handle a complaint is sure to make them a loyal customer.

A major factor that differentiates your small business from that of a larger conglomerate’s is that you, as the owner, can give customers the attention they want, which is why they are likely to approach your brand in the first place.

Be the Master of All Trades

When you first thought of starting a business, you may have guessed that you’d only have to sign things and the wheels of your business would turn themselves. Wrong. In year one, you should expect to be able to do everything and know how every process works.

Along the way, you’ll think ‘they didn’t teach me this at business school’ as you try to find a good web hosting company for your company website or take aesthetic pictures of your products so you can post them on a social media account. You don’t learn everything about starting a business; you have to experience it hands-on.

From managing office operations during the day to writing content for your website at night, you’ll have to do most of it in the first year. You’ll be lucky to have friends or family who’ll be willing to help around but in year one, you can’t afford to hire many employees. In addition, even when you do get people on-board, you’ll have to know how to do things yourself before teaching them the basics.

Be Familiar with Laws

No this is where it gets interesting. Staring a small business will require you to be familiar with laws about hiring and taxes so that your business will genuinely be able to help people in the community by offering employment.

There are a number of regulations, laws, and licenses you need to know about before you can officially carry out operations as a business. In the beginning, you should expect to hire a lawyer for such needs because it’s impossible for you to know all the complex regulations that surround the startup of a small business.

This is crucial because no matter how hard you work on your business, it’s likely that even a small detail or legality can be held against you. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by investing in proper legal advice and obtaining all the licenses you require. Nevertheless, legal counsel isn’t cheap so you should expect to have enough financial resources.

There Will Be Some Bumps along the Road

Failure, no matter how big or small, is an inevitable part of running any business, whether big or small. You could make a product that doesn’t turn out as successful as you thought, your marketing strategy may backfire or worst-case scenario, you get a wave of negative feedback.

The first year won’t be failure-free but that doesn’t lessen your chances of reaching success. To keep yourself prepared for these situations, business experts advise that before you should quit your job, you need to have some savings. To be more specific, you should have enough money to support yourself for a year.

You need enough savings because no matter how well you plan the first year of your business, you can’t predict the future so there is always a chance that you might fail. There’s nothing wrong in preparing yourself for the worst-case scenario while planning for the best.

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Seasonable Business Cash Flow – Big Problem But With a Solution

It can be quite the hassle as a seasonable business. No matter how well you plan the year, you always seem to be struggling a while after the profitable season ends. Cash flow is somehow always a problem, but it’s not impossible to manage. Sure, it’ll take some effort and organization on your part, but it’s nothing that a dedicated business owner can’t handle.

There are a number of seasonal businesses, from farming to tourism and all the way to event planning. Although the nature of these trades is different, managing cash flow will be similar because of their seasonal characteristic. Here is what you have to do.

Know Your Seasons

You may think this is basic knowledge for any seasonal business owner. However, in a majority of cases, business owners horribly overestimate their peak season. Moreover, they underestimate the costs of operating during off-seasons. When you know the exact timings of your season, you’re able to derive accurate conclusions that set apart fact from fiction.

If you run a new business, you’ll have to start taking detailed notes from year one. Conduct research based on other seasonal companies but if you’re established, it’s time to bring out the records. Once you figure out your business’ periods of maximum revenue and expenditure and vice versa, you can plan on a forecasting strategy.

Forecast Your Business

By forecasting your cash flow throughout the year, you’re able to evaluate how much funding you have, in response to the costs. You should analyze your records to form a plan with regard to spending and sales, and how much cash flow you can retain after peak season.

You should form an analysis of sales and spending forecasts based on the factors that drive it. This includes product lines, channels, and units. Then, you should check whether your evaluation matches the accounting records.

When you’re forecasting cash flow for your business, ensure that it manages any references to sales on account, inventory management, asset replenishment and repayment of debts, which are sensitive to cash flow. When you keep track of all these things together, you won’t have to think about why unknown costs keep popping up despite the effort.

Maintain Forecasts with Concentration and Money

Making a record of forecasts once isn’t enough and never will be. The market and economy can shift within a second, so you must not fail to keep the changes reviewed and revised. This theory of development ensures that you know what’s happening, so you can adopt a new strategy next time.

Know the Expected Expenses

In a business, there are always some recurring expenses that remain fairly constant over time. You should account for these so that you can accurately forecast expenses during off-peak seasons. These costs include the price of utilities and rent but some that won’t come to mind. To know those, you’ll need to break into the account books.

In the end, you’ll be left with a somewhat expected figure as to how much you’ll have to pay in quarterly taxes and business insurance premiums. You should add these to your forecast because planning for them will be helpful during seasons with low business.

Address Changes

Sometimes, it’s enough to simply know when your business becomes vulnerable. Even if you can’t manage things yourself, you can still ask for some help. Instead of worrying about what terrors the off-season can bring to your business, think about what you can do to calmly face the inevitable. Surely, you’ll run out of capital no matter how well you manage cash flow so what does one do? You take a loan.

Think of it this way, taking an emergency loan just days before making your employees’ payroll will be very different from applying for a bridge loan months before off-season starts. For starters, you’ll get a good interest rate, and you’ll develop a good relationship with the bank.

A misconception is that well-run seasonal businesses shouldn’t need loans to generate cash flow during the off-season but this isn’t true. It’s much more achievable for a seasonal business to anticipate extra costs beforehand and take a special loan as one sees fit. Investors and bankers will show a positive response to good planning and anticipation so you shouldn’t forget to tell them about your business’ seasonality.

Restructure Some Expenses

As a seasonal business, you’ll need to pull some strings here and there to make sure that you get through the rest of the year until you’re back in peak season. One of the things you can do is to structure certain expenses in a way that they match the revenue you have in the current season.

For instance, if you make handcrafted products and deal with vendors for materials, you can form an agreement with them so they demand bigger payments in peak season while making off-season payments smaller.

Empty Your Shelves

In today’s world of consumers, quite a lot of people don’t shop during the season. This could be due to a number of reasons; they’re trying to avoid the crowd or they simply don’t want to pay the higher price. They’re waiting for an off-season sale to stock up, and as a good business owner, you should provide.

Empty out any leftover inventory from peak-season by selling products at a fair discount. This will help you generate extra revenue, as well as a pool of off-season customers. Not to mention, you’ll also be reducing the expenses of storing items.

Improve Your Line of Expertise

This is the final piece of advice that any seasonal business can get and it has more to do with becoming a multi-seasonal business. Experts suggest that seasonal businesses expand their line of work by offering different services during the off-season.

For instance, roofing companies take up jobs like snow removal during the winter. Your business can do something similar and boost cash flow throughout the rest of the year.

Conclusion

These are some of the solutions a seasonal business can adopt to improve their cash flow during the off-seasons of the year. Now, there’s no reason to do everything simultaneously. However, consistency is key. By slowly working towards a successful off-season period, seasonal businesses can improve strategies and boost peak-season practices.

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