Statistics vary by +- 5% on the number business failures within the SME community in the UK, however all statistics in the UK agree that up 60% of small and medium businesses fail within the first year and a further 30% within three years. It’s been proven that part of the reasons for business failures is lack of proper business planning, understanding business finance, cash flow challenges or lack of business support, either prior to the business starting or during the business operation. However, this does not have to be your fate. Benjamin Franklin says, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
To avoid such a pitfall, I’ll be sharing five very brief tips to turn your business around or in some cases, how to avoid failure altogether.
1. Knowing your business objective is key. This is probably the stage at which you have to be true to yourself. You should be asking yourself Soul-searching questions, such as “why am I in this business and what do I seek to achieve”? This will probably lead to other related questions such as, ’Am I in this more for the money than anything else?’’ Do I enjoy this?’ If the answer to the first is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the second, you are either in the wrong business or job role or lost your passion for it. Or you may be in the right business, but performing the wrong role within the business. Who says you have to be the CEO because you started it. Maybe you are better at being the Head Chef. This could be where you are most productive, rather than leading the organisation as a whole and administering the business. What do you do if this is the case? Business Consultants at RBSS are here to assist you in thinking through and putting systems and procedures in place to achieve your business objectives. Let’s help you with a full business valuation, performance and health check.
2. Take action as soon as possible! When things start to go wrong in a business, the signs are always there. Sometimes we hope they get better and hold on for too long or take the wrong action when we do take action. The more you procrastinate, the fewer options you leave open to save your business. This could lead you down the path of making decisions out of frustration as opposed to wise and calculated ones. One of the most crucial steps would be to get in touch and be open with your accountant if you have one. You certainly do NOT want a court making the final decision for you! If you are not sure where to start, RBSS is there to give you unbiased advice.
3. If the stumbling block is mainly financial or a cash flow problem and you have the luxury of borrowing money off friends and family, then you can do so. However, the reality is, not everyone has that option. That’s where RBSS can step in. We can help you explore various finance options and secure finance that suits your business circumstances. We work closely with UK’s leading innovative business finance providers and advice on how to improve profitability and improve margins. We have helped hundreds of clients successfully raise the right kind of finance at the right time for their business. Finance is the blood of any business and the flow of it is crucial but not always available.
4. This next point is often avoided as much as possible even by large well established companies. Always contact or call a meeting with colleagues, staff members or directors including other stakeholders as soon as it is necessary. Whilst you may not be able or need to share all the gloomy information, try as much as possible to share what needs to be shared to put hearts at rest. With the speed at which bad news spreads on social media, you certainly do not want those concerned to hear the news from a third party. The above would apply especially to where there needs to be staff cuts and business needs to continue with as high a moral as possible and manage expectations. Even at this stage, staff could help structure your decision making process.
5. Review Customer Relationships. Another key point is to review your relationship with your customers. In any business, after your staff, your customers are the most important. What is your relationship with your customers like in key areas like; customer service, online presence including social media, advertising etc. With the amount of competition and speed of change and expectation, you need to be consistently reviewing and updating your position on and offline. We at RBSS can help you analyse your position in the marketplace and where you need to be, making your business still sustainable and able to compete effectively.
Notice I haven’t said much about marketing and advertising at this stage. Well there is a reason for that. It’s one step at a time. Let’s address some fundamentals. Don’t wait for things to get bad before you contact us. Contact us for a full business performance and health check. We will assess the 5 key drivers of your business and give you a health report on them. Furthermore, we will help you with key planning, methods and implementation to turn things around and make things better. Our mission is to build and fund better and sustainable businesses.
Contact our experienced and professional Business Advisors at RBSS on 0333 355 1696. We are at hand to give you unbiased advice, be it at the business planning stage, the implementation stage or the growth stage of your business.
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Whether it’s starting a business or running an existing successful business, we could all do with a few pointers every now and then. Here are 5 important business quotes and what you can learn from them:
1. "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."- Winston S. Churchill.
Many of us are aware of the burdensome challenges Churchill faced whilst the British army was heavily under fire, including himself. However, he proved it does take true courage and perseverance especially in the face of failure. This eventually led Britain to victory. Your business may be under fire at the moment for various reasons, lack of customers, state of the economy, cash flow issues, temporary industry setbacks, lack of funding or even a lack of clarity of the health of your business. RBSS Consulting will help you do a full business health check and performance diagnostic and offer real solutions to help you meet your business goals and thrive.
2. “I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is pure perseverance.”- Steve Jobs
Going the extra mile is a lonely place. This also makes the extra mile a place filled with opportunities. Over time, that's what will make you successful. This is what made Jobs a great success. He didn’t care if he stood alone in his ideas and he continued to pursue them in spite of the conflicts and alienation they bought, even upon himself. With fierce competition facing many business, RBSS Consulting can help improve your business performance making your business sustainable and driving growth by showing you where to persevere.
3. "Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.’’- Albert Einstein
Being successful is not always the hardest thing in the world as it is equal parts of luck and hard work. However, if your business concentrates on adding value to its clients or customers and does this wisely, then you are on the way to success.
Nevertheless, adding value is a not as easy as people think. Einstein was true to his word and is well known for his theory of relativity and the equation E=MC2, which foreshadowed the development of atomic power which we still enjoy and value til today. As an entrepreneur, it is important you look to add sustainable value to your clients, thereby being an effective business model within your community. Value that is not easily eroded. This could be in the business model, customer service, innovation, etc. RBSS Consulting will help you with this.
4. "You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.’’- Oprah Winfrey
Success is much more likely to come your way if you’re in it for the right reasons... the right reason should be because you love what you are doing. According to statistics an average of 60% of small and medium businesses fail within the first year and 30% within three years. This has been known to be because of poor planning, lack of vision, driving profitability from day one or even over trading. We at RBSS can help you find or rekindle that passion by also finding your purpose for the business and having clarity of what to focus on in those early years.
5. On a lighter note, ‘’Spend more time smiling than frowning and more time praising than critising.’’- Sir Richard Branson
I believe I can safely say whenever Branson features in the press, he’s often caught with a big smile. We should also be aware that happy employees are central to the success of a business as emphasized in his book, ‘Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School’. This largely contributes to Virgin’s success. Appreciating and embracing your team including their ideas really makes a business. This gives employees freedom to help structure your decision making process. An entrepreneur should aim to be a lender and NOT a boss.
If you are facing any of the above challenges or would like to talk to an expert about taking your business to the next level, connect with the top business adviser in Romford, RBSS Consulting on 0333 355 1696 or drop an email at email@example.com. We provide real business solutions for startups and existing micro and small businesses.
Customers are the heart of all small businesses and without them the business is sure to fail. Therefore, it important that they are treated properly and you strive to build a relationship with them, to ensure you gain a loyal customer.
Here are six essential steps to consider when building a strong client base;
Whether it is via email, text, phone, newsletters, websites, social media or face-to-face it is vital that you are letting people know you exist. Let them know what your business is about and how customers can get your services or products. Why should they get them from you and not somebody else? A good tip is to share some knowledge or useful tips and tricks. Communication is also important in the aspect of replying quickly and professionally.
2. Customer Service
Go the extra mile for your clients and make their experience personal. Customers will always remember the companies that treated them well and those that treated them badly. Ensure you deliver good customer service by ensuring staff are well trained, customers are listened to and not rushed. Reply to queries complaints or emails as soon as you can. This will ensure that they will come back if they need your services again and they will recommend you to anyone they may know who needs those services; therefore, building up your client base.
3. Customer incentives
Incentives give customers a reason to come back to you rather than go to another company. This a good way to start building a client base from nothing, especially if your services are something new and not well-known yet. Having incentives like a free consultation or loyalty rewards can influence people to use your services over another companies; as they know what they are getting before they pay for the product or services. This allows them to make a decision based on what they want rather than what people have told them.
This is a great quality to have for customers. People have very busy lives these days, so it is essential that deadlines and agreements are met on time and up to standard. For example, someone may own a small office supplies company and an office may order some ink and the delivery date is next Monday but it doesn’t arrive until the Wednesday and they had ran out of ink between the date in which it was supposed to be delivered by and the actual delivery date. This could cause a customer not to want to come back to your business. The client may write a bad review online about the business, which may cause other people not to try your business. So ensure when discussing deadlines and deliveries that enough time is left for these to be met and communicate with the customer throughout to see if it suits them or if suddenly a deadline can’t be met.
5. Address customers by name
Make sure that you clearly communicate to customers that you respect them and make them feel important as they are by addressing them directly and taking time to know their names. Depending on which sector you’re in you will know whether to use Mrs, Ms or Mr, etc or their first name. This builds loyalty and builds a good relationship from the start. If you tell a customer your name they then know who they are speaking to and what they have discussed and can refer back to it if needed and be held accountable. Also customers are more likely to open up to you and will gain more trust to form the basis of a good long-term relationship.
6. Training staff
Training staff is essential to provide good customer service. Make sure that all staff have an overview of the business and can give customers answers for all aspects of the business, rather tah having to deal with too many departments for simple queries. Staff training allows the employees to feel more confident in their job role and motivated which allows for good work which leads to reliable and loyal customers, as well as staff retention.
If you want to talk it through how to improve your business in order to increase your customer base, give RBSS Consulting a call on 0333 355 1696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer you real business advice and solutions for start-ups and small businesses.
When you talk to different financial and business advisors about getting access to finance, you’ll get similar but varied advice. It all depends on the business’ particular circumstances. RBSS Consulting, a business advice and consultancy firm, has helped raise funds for hundreds of small and medium size investors. The tricky, yet simple, ones are the Angel Investors.
So I put the question to a panel of professionals and these were the answers given by the panel. Similar but still different.
The most powerful thing you can do is show operating profits. If you are in the early stages, show a compelling plan, prototype and comparable companies who are already in your market. Demonstrate how much and when cash flow begins.
Remember that Angel Investors invest in people, just as much as the product or service. They are evaluating if the person who is raising the money has his/her heart and soul in the concept. Are they committed? If not, then they may turn you down. Being ‘all-in’ is the only way to be when building a company, particularly when it involves other’s money.
Assuming you are totally dedicated to making this a success, and depending on what your product is, start selling as soon as you can. There’s nothing that inspires investors more than a sales ramp. If selling you’re not good at selling, invest some money in someone who can.
And finally, don’t give up. It is likely that you will be making many presentations to angel groups before you find the right one. Don’t give up!
When approaching an Angel Investor network, I recommend that you enter the opportunity seeking to build a relationship above all. Plan your first meeting as an introduction only and follow up with a second meeting when you pitch your offer. As much as you need the investment, don’t act desperate.
If you have a partner in your business, then perhaps use them to make the pitch with you. Two people sometimes appeal more to a group of investors. Make sure you have practiced your pitch thoroughly so that you are both on the same page. Try to connect through social media networks.
Angel investors look for high quality business cases supported by financials with scenario planning – optimistic, realistic and pessimistic. They need to understand the promoters understanding of business and ability to read the unfolding environment and marketplace.
Some investors are keen to see what personal wealth has been put behind the idea and the passion displayed to go for the concept over long term.
Have a great idea. Know your numbers inside and out. Appeal to their generosity and how the business will benefit from their support. Show them why it is a great investment and why you are worth it.
The biggest mistake that businesses make when approaching investor is to spend 90% of the time talking about the product and 10% of the time on the financials. You need to reverse the percentages if you want to engage investors.
If you want to talk it through with a professional business adviser first, contact RBSS Consulting. We offer you real business advice and solutions.
For more information contact RBSS Consulting at email@example.com or 0333 355 1696.
Business is business and whatever the size of your company there are many principles that apply to all. Look at the following skills that big businesses use that small businesses can use too:
Working with other companies or individuals will not only benefit you and share the workload it will benefit the other company too. The partnerships that tend to work the best are those that share the rewards and risks. If the partnership proves successful you will gradually have more and more potential opportunities to work together. Working with others can open you up to new opportunities and offers which may otherwise not have been presented. Partnerships also increase your visibility, which then increases the chances of viability and thus profitability.
However big or small your company is branding is important. In today’s marketing, a brand is not just a name given to a product or service from a particular source. Your ‘brand’ is what your clients (or potential clients) think of when he or she hears your brand name. This is relevant for both big and small companies or products. Even if they haven’t heard of your business before they met your business, your brand becomes the impression they leave with when they have worked alongside your business. The best way to get brand exposure is through having a marketing strategy to get your product or services out there and known. The big brands do this all the time with TV and radio ads and posters, billboards and PR. Although these are expensive ways of marketing, they work. Having a marketing strategy is vital and even of you don’t have a marketing budget to speak of, there are other ways. Think of your market in terms of demographics, location, gender, etc and determine where you want to make your mark or where you want to start to grow the brand and then grow organically from there. You can put ads in local newspapers, distribute leaflets, invest in a website or use social media. These are all effective ways of marketing your brand without breaking the bank.
Listening to customers
Simple, but true. Large companies invest big bucks in research, development and marketing. This can be done by asking for feedback on social media or creating debates and discussions for their customers to take part in. Imagine if you had a restaurant, you may have some special meals for a limited time only. if people are talking about them a lot and showing a real interest you could set up a vote on social media asking whether to keep that meal or offer going on for longer. This not only gains customer loyalty as you are giving them a choice, it creates more company awareness, which could lead to even more customers. This ability to be spoken about over social media and other channels creates a buzz.
Why not take these three tips and spend time on each of these and see what changes happen in your business. If you want to talk it through with a professional. At RBSS Consulting, we offer real business advice and solutions for start-ups and small businesses that want to start right and grow profitably.
For more information contact RBSS Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0333 355 1696.