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  • 19 February 2015
  • Dr Billy M.

Dip vs. dive: Will it blow over?

As an entrepreneur, starting a successful business is a big achievement. The real challenge, however, is maintaining it. Whether you operate a traditional brick-and-mortar store, sell your products through e-commerce, or run a service-based entity, your business will typically face scenarios where you must choose to "dip or dive" – to test the waters or jump in with both feet. Here are a few reasons why you should choose the latter:

In today’s online business world, increases in competition are bound to occur.

  • Planning and growth. Remember that your competitive drive is one of the reasons you started your own business, and that every challenge provides a new opportunity. To maintain profitability, you must grow. If you are going to expand and diversify, you can't sit in your office endlessly deliberating or wrapped up in your creative processes instead of venturing out and pursuing your latest goal.
  • Decision making. On occasion, your revenue may fall, driven by such factors as reduced merchandise demand, product recalls, competition, or staff productivity. You must identify the underlying factors so you are better equipped to decide if it's time to innovate and execute a new idea. Depending on your line of business, this may require reengineering your product design and packaging, replacing your suppliers, or even offering a different service. When you finally make your decision, stand by it confidently, knowing that your business is now on the right path.
  • Money management. Daily operations may leave you with little time to follow up on how money is spent, where it's coming from, and where it's going. Accountants and business managers are often a necessity, but it's important to always maintain a hand in managing your money.
  • Bookkeeping. Manual spreadsheets just don't cut it anymore. The complexity of your business's books will rise in accordance with the number of clients and employees you do business with. If you can't afford an accountant or full-time bookkeeper, try a virtual accountant with features and conveniences like cloud-based services that allow you to scan and digitize your receipts via your smartphone or desktop scanner.
  • Financing. During times when there is slow cash flow and a poor lending climate, explore the world of venture capital. Prepare a product or service demonstration to show potential investors and investigate the possibilities offered by crowdfunding.
  • Competition. In today's online business world, increases in competition are bound to occur. This is especially true these days, when customers can easily switch vendors and suppliers with the simple click of a mouse. With so many competitors and not enough differentiation, your best bet is to find a niche. Customers will typically flock to a business offering deep product knowledge coupled with a broad selection of the items they are looking for.
  • Marketing initiatives. Design marketing strategies that ensure customer loyalty. Create a customer-centric plan that solidifies your relationships with your target market through social media engagement and fulfillment of their needs in ways that exceed their expectations. At the same time, leverage the power of smartphones and other communication channels to get your content out. You must figure out the right marketing channels, the best way to approach them, and the right messages to disseminate.
  • Productivity. Employee morale is crucial to the success of your business. Devise individual motivational strategies that turn each employee into a success story. The secret to managing staff is desire. Sit down with each employee and perform a "needs analysis" and determine what really motivates them. It could be money, respect, or recognition. Show employees the path to obtaining their desires and they'll be driven to achieve their personal and career goals, and at the same time, help your business succeed.

To surmount business obstacles and other common entrepreneurial challenges, dive in don't be afraid to explore new accounting and marketing strategies, as well as nontraditional sources of cash flow. Creatively strategize how to mitigate threats from competitors and, last but not least, strive to maintain a highly motivated team.

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