Small Business Owner Monthly Checklist
Find out 5 things that you should consider implementing as a monthly checklist to help keep you on track and maximizing your chances for success!
As a small business owner there are a lot of things that need to be attended to in order to simply keep your business operational. Then there is a laundry list of things that will help take your business to the next level. Whether you are looking to expand your business, solidify your business or simply keep the doors open here are 5 things that you should consider doing on at least a monthly basis to help keep you focused and on track:
1. Financial Overview
You have heard it before I am sure, but without money in the bank it is very hard to operate a business. You need to have a reasonable reserve of cash in order to be able to meet monthly expenses incurred, whether you have facility costs or not. If you are an online business, then you will most likely have less fixed expense than a physical storefront, however you will still have some costs that need to be paid. At the beginning of the month look at the bank statement and then figure out what you expect to incur in expenses and note whether they are fixed or variable. After that look at known sales and anticipated sales and see whether you are making money or spending money in the next month. This should help you determine the appropriate strategy for client retention or acquisition over the same period.
2. Customer Interaction
Without customers there is no revenue. As a small business owner without the resources and personnel of a larger company there are limitations to what can be accomplished on a monthly basis, and there should also be a great focus on customer satisfaction. After all the cheapest client acquisition will come from referrals from existing customers. If they aren’t happy with the service/product then they won’t recommend others to do business with you. How much interaction you have is up to you as a business owner and knowing your customers. Social media can help, as can email blasts (when done properly). Let them know you are thinking of them by sending a note on a monthly basis to check in with them to see if they have needs that you can help with, or just letting them know about an upcoming event/sale.
3. Product or Service Reviews
Making the sale is GREAT! Getting a customer to leave a positive review of their experience is AMAZING. Today with so much shopping for goods and services being done online, there seems to be more emphasis on getting an understanding of whether a business has good customer service or quality products before a purchase is made than ever before. This goes for physical stores as well as online – although with online purchases this is critical. If you don’t already have an automated system to capture product or service reviews, consider implementing something to enable customers to provide testimonials about your great products and/or services. Something as simple as a short email requesting them to provide you with a thought or review of the purchase via email can provide you with the review or testimonial that will help increase your sales.
4. NetworkingEvery month you need to find new customers! They are the lifeline of your business. They don’t always just walk in off the street or find you via an internet search. You will need to invest some time and effort (way more in the early days of running your business and then hopefully less and less over time) in seeking out new customers. A great way to do this is to find a group that could benefit from hearing about your products or services. If you are able to present to this group you give yourself a great opportunity to add new customers from the audience. Joining a networking group can also help you grow your audience and potential customer base, as well it adds potential “sales people” who will hopefully refer some business your way.
5. Determine Advertising Focus
Often a small business owner will spend advertising dollars without a clear strategy, and more often than not they aren’t able to successfully track the success, or lack of, relating to each advertising spend. An important component of advertising is to determine what is working and what is not. If the return on the advertising spend is negative, then more likely than not you should cease this activity. If the return is significantly positive then consider whether it’s possible to scale this spend up without jeopardizing the sales funnel. Set a clear goal of where you want to spend your money, how much you want to spend and what you are hoping in terms of an outcome. As you do this on a monthly basis your expectation of outcome should be constantly changing as you get new information from the previous month. This will help you to establish whether there are trends or seasons for your products and services which in turn should help you plan for the similar period next year and so on.
What are some things that you do on a monthly basis to make sure you are on a good path?