Summer Time Startup Challenges

Summer Time Startup Challenges

“Summertime, and the living is easy,” they say. For some industries like hospitality and tourism, business is in prime gear, but for some sectors and regions the summer is a time to slow down and assess previous quarters then plan for the back to school and the holiday rush. 

The summer is time for brainstorming and detailing the next direction for your brand. If there’s a new product, collection, or service you’ve considered featuring, now is when you can map out your launch. Maybe there’s a way to refresh existing offerings by adding new options and varieties. Bundles can be popular if you have several similar products that can be sold together at a discount. Or creating sampler packages containing, as example, four – four ounce jars for the same price as a sixteen ounce jar can generate excitement for your entire line.

This is also a chance to formulate your marketing strategy for the coming months. What special deals do you plan to run and how do you plan to promote this? Are you planning any big events either online or in person? If you have a new product to unveil, then a launch party is probably in order. Or perhaps you pride yourself for being an authority in your field and enjoy sharing insights, then perhaps educational workshops can be held live or recorded for purchase. Maybe your focus for boosting sales is amplifying what’s already working for you, and giving your customers an opportunity to get a little more for their money. This could mean generous sales or free trials with the purchase which allows customers to try items they don’t yet know they love.

The slower business months are also an ideal time to refresh connections with both buyers and sellers. Have an efficient CRM system in place to keep track of client information including contact info and history. Make sure your email list is current and consistently providing useful and engaging content, and not letting that powerful marketing tool sit idle. It’s also a good time to meet with suppliers and potentially negotiate better pricing, or even shop for new vendors.

If the mid-year months are a downtime for you, take it easy on yourself and definitely catch up on the rest everyone needs, but also use this as a chance to reflect and formulate. Look at the evolution of your brand and how the face of your company is growing, while still maintaining its core values and integrity. Is your mission the same or has it changed and adapted as the whole world has? Visualize the path you desire your business to go and set the intentions, using this as a guide for a flourishing season ahead.

When Is It Time To Scale Up Your Startup?

When Is It Time To Scale Up Your Startup?

As any business owner can tell you, few things involved in running a company will be fully predictable or predetermined. Gauging when it’s time to go bigger, or maybe trim down, can almost be a sixth sense. Just like knowing when to start a business, timing is never perfect but if the right factors align, and the risks are not too heavy, we jump. 

The most apparent tell-tale sign it’s time to scale up is if you find yourself unable to fulfill orders because you are too busy, understaffed, or lack inventory, and not because of debt. If you have more business than you can handle, it’s definitely time to run the numbers and consider expanding.

How strong is your returning customer base, is it consistent enough to project a portion of future revenue? What is your rate and consistency of customer acquisition? Is the rate of growing demand surpassing operating costs? How large is the margin between your best and worst days? If you decide to explore financing options, can you show potential investors a stable and profitable performance record?

Have you hit prime goals and positioned your team to set the bar higher? How high were your initial targets and are your next aims realistically within reach, without being too simplistic? Is your staff excited for the next level? When a business is apt for launching to new heights, the energy is reflected by the employees who are flourishing in an environment of creativity and new possibilities. They can see they’re work is paying off and leading somewhere valuable.

With half of all small businesses unable to survive into their fifth year, adapting your capacity in a timely and flowing manner is critical. If too much doubt lingers, with too much uncertainty of income versus overhead, then patience might be your ally until you have the justified confidence for bold moves. But if the iron is hot and the wheels are in spin, then sitting on your momentum could trip your progress and halt success. If you know you’re ready to take on more, and have the need to evaluate growth options, take time for an objective assessment of your overall progress. When the fire is there, and enough factors come together to outweigh the risks, leap forward fueled to reach unknown realms of opportunity and wealth.

Common Challenges For Small Businesses

Common Challenges For Small Businesses

It’s no secret that half of all small businesses will fail within their first five years. Rather than let those odds take anyone off course from their dreams, it’s possible to prepare for potential challenges by looking at areas that tend to be weak spots for other companies. They say that the devil hides in the details, so if your startup is on a bumpy road to success, solutions could be around the corner with a fresh outlook and just a few tweaks.

If you end up coming upon problems that keep repeating, it might be time to ask yourself if you’ve been listening to the feedback of others. Some improvements could come from their perspectives, and they could hold information that would better inform future strategies. Ask your employees regularly what can make their workflow more fluid and what consumes the most wasted energy. If there are systems that can be automated, weigh in with your team about the possible benefits.

Hiring stellar talent is significant. To have the most advanced products, innovative concepts, and shining public relations, you need to put effort into bringing the best possible candidates on board. The hiring process is extremely cumbersome and costly, be discerning in your choices and then cultivate a supportive working environment to ensure you retain those valuable team players for years to come.

As much as you appreciate a good worker, you also appreciate a good customer. Even if you don’t have a budget for huge discounts and major benefits, reward your customers however you can. More importantly, have the best customer service in town. Your buyers will understand you are trying to make it as a business, and if they believe in your product they’ll be proud to support you. As long as they see their support is genuinely appreciated, and they don’t just feel like “a number.”

Engage customers with thoughtful and substantive content on industry related topics they care about; keep them informed. Engaging on social media will also help better identify and understand your target demographic. The better you know who your buyers are and what they want, the better you’ll be able to exceed their expectations. Producing regular blogs and sharing them across media platforms will draw constant interest. Developing a readership will cultivate a profound connection for existing and potential clients, while elevating your brand to expert level. Informative videos are another outlet for building that subscriber list and achieving brand awareness.

Attracting new business from a cold start is expensive, but bringing people in through immersive content will not only build your company as an authority, you’ll be more likely to retain loyalty. Giving the option to subscribe to an email list is a simple was to generate leads and then further nurture those relationships as your business grows. Email marketing proves to be the most efficient promotional tool and it gives the most in return. Each promo you run should have its own landing page on your website with a sign-up box for your mailing list.

Make sure also that you’re financial plan is sound. Your records, too, are organized clearly so regular reports can be made to have a constant monitor on the fiscal health of your company. Be realistic about scaling and what you’re able to actually accomplish with current resources. Don’t put the cart before the horse, or shoot yourself in the foot, by making promises you’re not sure you can keep. When starting out as a young name in the market, your word is often all you have to offer until you can prove yourself on the record.

Starting out in the business world is thrilling and scary at the same time. Have patience and an optimistic approach when encountering setbacks. Look at the basics, as the answers you’re missing might be hidden in plain sight.

Filing Taxes As A Small Business

Filing Taxes As A Small Business

With almost enough time into the new year for recovering from the holiday season, Tax Day fast approaches. No matter if you’re a new startup or a neighborhood fixture, there’s never a wrong time to establish good practices for record-keeping that will have you prepared to get the most from your fiscal year. When it’s time to file you’ll be ready for the task ahead, which is confusing enough. In addition to your listed expenses and organized receipts these guidelines will make filing as painless as possible.

Make sure to keep track of important dates and be certain of deadlines; these vary for different kinds of business structures. Additional types of tax payments, like payroll, have more frequent due dates.

If filing yourself, know the correct forms you need for your business, on top of your personal 1040. Sole proprietors report profit and loss on a Schedule C. Partnerships report income, losses, and expenses on a Schedule K-1, which is usually filed with a Form 1065. Corporations show gains, losses, income, deductions, and credits on Form 1120 or 1120S. You may also need special forms for specific situations, like a home-based business or self-employment tax.

As you become a record-keeping ninja, it’ll be much easier to gather the information you’ll need to file accurately and make the most of your deductions. Knowing what documents you’ll need is also helpful. Prepare in advance all income statements, payroll sheets, bank and credit statements, depreciation schedules, receipts for expenses and large purchases.

If you’ve been freelancing, even part-time, your income is taxable. The IRS expects you to pay roughly 30% of your wages (after deductible expenses) to be estimated and paid quarterly.

Operating or taking your business across state lines will affect your filing, and you’ll need to file for the states you’ve lived and have worked in. Different states have different rules but you should almost always be ready to pay sales, payroll, and property taxes. Additionally, whether or not certain types of debt forgiveness are taxable, as income, will also change by state.

In many cases tax filing can be straightforward enough to handle on your own, especially with good organization and preparation. But it may be worth hiring a reputable tax pro simply for the peace of mind in knowing that not only are your bases covered, but also you’ve exhausted every deduction and retained all that you’re entitled to.