Almost all businesses in the United States are small businesses—99.9% of them to be exact. As a small business owner, you may not have the budget for massive marketing campaigns or a huge brick-and-mortar location, but that doesn’t mean you can’t engage in a few simple measures and changes that may have a big impact on your business.
Patronize Minority Businesses
Minority businesses are those owned by women, people with disabilities, or those from ethnic groups. These businesses are almost always small, local, and involved in their community. When you do business with these minority-owned businesses, you support other local business leaders and your community as a whole. If you are a restaurant, for example, buy your produce from vendors at your local farmers’ market. Shopping local, according to Rubicon, creates more jobs and puts your business dollars to good use.
Keep an Eye on Your Finances
You know you have to maintain awareness about how much money you have in the bank and what you’re spending, but do you know the easiest way to do this? Instead of keeping an eye on your bank account every day, you can use a profit and loss template—easily downloadable or generated by your accounting software. A profit and loss (or income) statement provides a snapshot view of your business’s financial performance and profitability, enabling you to maintain a constant watch on your expenses, profits, and revenue. It also presents your entire financial picture in a more accurate way. Having this information close at hand can help you make better financial decisions that can increase your business’s cash flow and profits.
Join Your Local Chamber
Your local Chamber of Commerce serves your community in many ways. In addition to being an avenue for networking and information, chambers help with economic planning and development and engage in government relations. Being a member shows that you and your business are committed to your community. Marketing and CRM agency Womply explains that joining your chamber means you get to contribute to local economic stability, help other businesses grow and thrive, and promote a free market by working more closely with local organizations and businesses. (Learn more about the Hartford Chamber of Commerce and how to become a member.)
Encourage Work/Life Balance for Your Employees
Many business owners mistakenly believe their employees will automatically compartmentalize their work and home lives. This isn’t always the case. If you aren’t paying close enough attention to your staff, you could find that your employees are overworked, overwhelmed, and less able to stay off the clock to spend time with their loved ones and care for themselves. By encouraging work/life balance, you show your employees you care about their well-being. In turn, they are more likely to give you their very best. They’ll be happier, and that will shine through in how they treat you and your customers.
Maintain Exceptional Records
Again, staying on top of your financial records is essential—but these aren’t the only records you should prioritize. Make sure you keep customer profiles—preferences, contact information, and other pertinent data. Utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) software will help you consolidate all these in one place. This then makes it easier to locate your data, which helps with customer retention.
None of the actions listed above take an exceptional amount of time to do. However, each has benefits for your business. Take small steps each day, such as reading your profit and loss (P&L) report and encouraging work/life balance for your employees, and you’ll see that you don’t have to have a big budget to make your business better.
About the Author
Gloria Martinez is Founder of WomenLed.org, which she created to spotlight and celebrate women’s achievements.