Guide To Running a Small Business
As you know, running a successful small business from the ground up is one of the most difficult things you will ever do with your life. Between finding and catering to customers, hiring and paying your employees and staying up to date with local, state and federal laws, all while trying to stay in the black, it may seem impossible to find success without three clones of yourself running on a 28-hour-a-day clock. While there are some growing pains that just have to be endured, you don’t have to face every adversity alone.
Here at Company.com, we know the obstacles every small business owner faces — we’ve been there ourselves. We want to help you overcome these prevalent struggles, and perhaps avoid them altogether. In general, there are 5 major issues small business owners face, which we can help you with.
1. Human Resources
Human resources is considered one of the most complex departments of any business, whether you have one employee or 1,000. Between hiring, firing, training, payroll and other tasks, you may find yourself spending over 40 percent of your time dealing with HR issues. That leaves you very little time to actually run your business. What is it specifically that takes up so many resources? The three main culprits are recruiting, hiring/firing and payroll.
The three main culprits are recruiting, hiring/firing and payroll. Human resourcing begins with recruiting. Finding the right employees to help your business succeed is paramount. Bad recruiting can impact your bottom line, from lower productivity to greater employee turnover. While recruiting is stressful, finding the right employees can be made easier with clearer job descriptions and using the right software to weed out candidates that don’t match your company. Doing so optimizes hiring, minimizes firing and cuts down on employee turnover.
Once you have the right employees, you have to deal with payroll. Making even a small mistake in the paperwork can cost you a fortune in fees and fines. It becomes even more complex when you have employees and contractors across state lines. Now you have multiple sets of regulations and taxes to remember. The right software organizes all of that for you and automatically sets up payroll in compliance with federal and state codes eliminates much of the headache and worry so you can instead focus on helping your business thrive. Visit our Human Resources page to learn more.
The first step to starting any small business is securing financing for it. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about 75 percent of small businesses secured financing in the past year. Depending on the business, owners secured financing of anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 and beyond. Though personal savings are often where initial capital is drawn from, loans, credit cards and other forms of lending are also common. In general, this capital is used to start a business, expand a business, purchase equipment and inventory and/or strengthen a business’s financial foundation.
Whether you need a point-of-sale system or a fleet of bulldozers, securing financing for equipment is crucial for getting your small business off the ground. Depending on the nature of your company, you may want to lease your equipment. Doing so gives you greater value, especially if you do not need to own the equipment forever. Usually, the cost of the equipment itself, as well as shipping, installation, service and maintenance costs are all included and spread out across the term of the lease. Whether for equipment or other needs, securing startup capital becomes easier — and cheaper — with a team of experts by your side.
Of course, there is more to finance than just securing capital. It also includes ways of accepting payment from customers and clients. Having a secure way to accept cards, contactless payments, cash and gift cards either in-store or on the go makes purchases that much easier for your customers. However, some system providers require long-term contracts that are riddled with hidden fees. Save money by installing a system built specifically for small businesses, without the hassle of contracts and fees. Visit our Payments page to learn more.
There are few quicker killers for a small business than an unproductive staff. Every minute of the workday counts, and in today’s global economy, productivity is a major aspect to a company’s success. While productivity issues are often blamed on laziness or distraction, the truth is there are bigger culprits in the mix. These problems can be simplified into one big mistake: Running your small business as if it were a large corporation.
In today’s world, “Millennials” make up the largest demographic in the workforce today. They have been raised to think for themselves, and are constantly introducing new ideas into the workplace. Though often labeled as lazy, this young generation strives to work smarter, and more collaboratively. Encouraging such a mindset throughout your small business by encouraging breaks and alternate work environments can provide a meaningful uptick in productivity.
In order to encourage collaboration, silos must be torn down. Allowing and encouraging — even rewarding — interdepartmental teamwork allows for ideas to be spread more easily and goals to be achieved more efficiently. Eliminating the silo mindset starts at the top. Once management is on board, employees will follow. Encourage this new “us instead of me” philosophy by implementing a company social network to make simplify communication between departments. Visit our Productivity page to learn more.
4. Tech Services
From a strong website to preventing security breaches, having a strong technical services team is paramount to the success of your company. Yet, small business owners often overlook these factors, thinking they can’t afford such services. Doing so can spell ruin for your company if your systems crash or your customer data is breached. Since not being online and connected is simply not an option in today’s market, it’s important to be confident in your business’s website and cybersecurity.
Little more than a decade ago, building an effective website meant being a expert in coding, or handsomely paying someone who did. Now, there are dozens of different platforms on which to easily build a site. Few technical skills are required, and on some platforms, you don’t even need an eye for design — it will be completely built for you. However, there is some skill needed for hosting a domain and handling any technical issues. We can help. Learn more on our Website page.
Data security is vital if you will be conducting any of your business online or using the cloud. There’s a great chance hackers will attempt to get into your system, and depending on the attack method they use, you could go broke trying to repair the damage. However, there are a few ways you can boost your security and potentially prevent such attacks. Using secure internet connections and only storing data if you need to can make you less of a target for cyber-criminals. Having a strong IT team behind you can also be highly beneficial. Visit our Cybersecurity page for more information.
Marketing is often thought of as buying some airtime, or maybe an online banner ad, and seeing what happens. But in today’s digital world, finding your audience is half the battle; the other half is getting them to see your ad. In addition, you also have to figure out how to rank for certain keywords on search engines like Google. With so many venues for marketing dollars to be spent, there are a few key ideas to keep in mind.
The two major components of digital marketing are pay-per-click ads (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). PPC is exactly what it sounds like. Every time someone clicks on your ad, hosted by search engines, you pay a fee. SEO, on the other hand, relies on organic search results — that is, results search engines pull up for certain keywords. Having both done professionally costs money, so which is better? Looking at costs and other statistics, SEO is more beneficial in the long run.
So how do you rank for SEO? One of the most important factors is content. Having quality content on your site that keeps visitors engaged converts more sales while also satisfying requirements from Google. In addition, catering to “micro-moments,” those quick queries from smartphones (like “How do I change a tire?”), can boost your rankings by demonstrating you are an authority in your industry. Finally, focusing on local directories instead of following fads can give you long-term results instead of instant ones that quickly fade. Learn more about each of these tactics on our Marketing page.