If one intends to succeed in business, then it is necessary to manage the operation effectively because in the long run, the better-managed organizations succeed. Dan Barufaldi, a freelance management consultant active in metro New York City, authored the 5 C’s for Success in Business list. According to Barufaldi, success in business requires that you attain and leverage these resources:
One would expect that a robust client list is necessary if one expects to keep the doors open. Clients are the life-blood of every venture and priority is given to acquiring and retaining the source of revenue. There are a number of strategies that business owners can use to find and retain customers, including:
Advertising and promotion
- Print advertising in newspapers and trade journals
- Content marketing through social media, videos, newsletters, etc.
- Email marketing campaigns
- Trade show and conference exhibits
- Participation in local charity events
The focus may not be on a specific product or service, but branding is marketing designed to enhance the reputation of the company (or the consultant) in the marketplace. It is important to communicate to current and potential customers that the company/consultant is reliable and trustworthy.
Create good word of mouth (still the best form of advertising) and stimulate referrals by providing excellent customer service and exceeding expectations every time.
B2B ventures greatly benefit from membership in the local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club and/or neighborhood business association. Those whose target customers are B2C will be wise to take part in neighborhood charity events and otherwise be visible in the community. B2G oriented organizations and Solopreneurs will attend information sessions and certified vendor conferences sponsored by city, state, county and federal organizations to meet potential clients.
Solopreneur consultants and small business owners must package and present themselves and their products and services in a professional manner. It is not possible to advertise and brand in the way that major corporations do, so creative use of promotional resources will form the foundation of marketing strategies.
An ongoing branding campaign to enhance reputation is useful and never failing to deliver excellent customer service is better still. Create good word of mouth that can earn you recommendations and testimonials that lead to referrals.
Teaching is a time-honored way to demonstrate one’s expertise. Speaking on (or moderating) a panel is another excellent way to create visibility among peers and potential clients.
For Solopreneur consultants and owners of small businesses, cash-flow can sometimes take precedence over short-term profitability. Cash-flow glitches will result in unpaid accounts payable, the inability to take advantage of special offers, an unmet payroll and/or the inability to cover immediate and urgent expenses.
It’s a smart idea to project cash-flow needs over 8-12 weeks, so that you’ll know when to invoice clients, when receivables are expected, when accounts payable are due and give yourself time to cover any gaps that appear. It may be possible to extend the due date on certain accounts payable, accelerate the collection of accounts receivable, adjust expenses, or even get a bridge loan or a temporary job.
Available credit supports cash-flow management. An honored request to increase the business credit card limit allows one to float expenses when accounts receivable collections are unexpectedly slow, or allows the business to stock up on inventory when prices are favorable. Those with good credit ratings pay lower credit card interest rates, which is likewise good for cash-flow.
Those looking to grow their venture may need to make large expenditures and that will require access to capital. If significant growth is part of your organization’s three-year plan, start now and improve your credit rating by paying off debts, if that is an issue. Establishing a good relationship with a bank, along with earning a desirable credit rating and practicing sound financial management, demonstrate good judgment and fiscal responsibility and will be very helpful when it is time to seek financing.
Make an appointment with the manager of your bank to discuss your plans, learn how much you are qualified to receive and the associated payment terms. Get a second opinion when you meet yet another banker as you network at the local business association.
Thanks for reading,
Kim L. Clark is a strategy and marketing consultant who works with for-profit and not-for-profit organization leaders who must achieve business goals. Kim is the founder and principal of the consulting firm Polished Professionals Boston and she teaches business plan writing to aspiring entrepreneurs. Learn how Kim’s expertise can benefit your organization when you visit polishedprofessionalsboston.com.