How to tackle your top five challenges
Despite the successes many Australian small businesses enjoy – and despite the recent tax benefits by the government – they also experience a number of challenges regularly. While these can prove to be worrisome, you can follow a simple set of clear, easy-to-follow solutions to these problems.
Timing of customer payments
Every small-business owner will encounter an unresponsive customer who fails to pay invoices on time.
Delayed payments pose significant risks to small businesses, regardless of whether it takes weeks, months, or mere days. One late payment could mean an employee’s family misses out on grocery shopping for one week, or it could even lead to late mortgage repayments and other mounting fines.
The most effective way you can solve this complication is by reducing the payment terms outlined on an invoice to a maximum of seven days.
You must also immediately follow-up any late payments so that these issues are managed quickly and do not snowball out of control.
Cashflow concerns are a major source of anxiety and pressure for almost one-third of small-business owners.
Instead of customers who drag on with late payments, a lack of on-offer payment methods or missing cash collection processes are major contributing factors to these cashflow issues.
Bluetooth card readers bring many benefits to the way a small business operates, especially on the go. Mobile payments solutions turn a smartphone or tablet into a portable EFTPOS machine that can be taken anywhere without the need for telephone or internet cables.
Unlike many older means of payment that can take a number of days to process, modern solutions ensure payments get settled into any nominated bank account by the next business day. Look for a card reader that is fully NFC contactless enabled and also supports future digital wallets used by consumers through their smartphones such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay.
Getting bogged down with administration issues
You need to stay on top of their paperwork and bank reconciliation, or you may fall behind with payments and miss crucial details that could potentially jeopardise the business. You may find yourself stuck behind your desk, staying on top of administration issues when you could be out in the field and maximising your billable hours.
Software accounting programs minimise paperwork and give you more time to spend overseeing the completion of important projects.
With the help of top-quality accounting software programs, time spent in the office is minimised. These programs can automatically produce and maintain a number of reports catered to the specific needs of each business.
Most importantly, these programs minimise paperwork and give small-business owners more time to spend out in the field overseeing the completion of important projects.
Australian small businesses are being left to the mercy of petrol bowsers.
Since March 2011, increasing fuel costs have been a major grievance for small-business owners across the country. The cost of unleaded petrol has sharply risen by 18% from 113c per litre in early February to a staggering 133c on 26 February 2015. These alarming figures show no signs of decreasing any time soon.
This is a problem for most small businesses, but it can cause major setbacks for trades like plumbing and electricity, which depend on constant travel between jobs.
Fortunately, you can implement a number of clever strategies to ease the pressures of fuel costs. The most proactive way to manage this problem is to adopt fuel-efficient cars that are equipped with hybrid engines and to use GPS systems to plan the routes, which can significantly reduce driven kilometres.
Attracting new customers
Although constantly emerging media platforms provide small-business owners with a plethora of creative means to engage with customers, they also present unforeseen challenges for people who do not view themselves as tech-savvy.
The creation of mobile-friendly websites and the registering of domains are becoming easier through user-friendly websites like GoDaddy, Wix, and Weebly. It’s crucial to showcase the most relevant information so that local traffic is directed to your website.
Small businesses should first register on local classified websites such the Yellow Pages, Google Business or Gumtree. Following this, you need to illustrate the most relevant, attention-grabbing information on your own website. Clear and easy-to-read information like opening hours, contact details, products and services are all needed to appeal to both new customers and search-engine algorithms.
They may seem basic, but these first steps will ensure new customers immediately know how your business can be of assistance.
Bjorn Behrendt, Chief Marketing Officer, Mint Payments Limited