Reevaluating your sales strategy during slow seasons

According to the article “3 Sales Tips for Your Small Business During the Dog Days of Summer” by contributor Al Davidson on www.smallbiztrends.com, if your business has seasonal fluctuations that make for one or more slow times during the year, you should take that time to reevaluate your sales strategy so that you can consistently grow your business. Davidson offers three tips for doing so:

  • Analyze your sales process. Figure out what works and what could be improved in your sales process by analyzing every step of it. Which parts of your process achieve the highest conversion rates? Where do you attract the most interest from potential customers? How can you fix what isn’t working as well?
  • Rank your customers. Davidson poses this question: If you could “fire” some of your customers, which would they be? And, which customers would you love to clone, per se? Figure out where you want your business to be in the future and which customers are going to propel it towards that vision; then, figure out how to gain more of that type of customer and less of the ones you’d rather not have.
  • Reconfigure your marketing efforts. During the busier times of year, things like marketing can fall by the wayside as you deal with the day-to-day dealings with customers. However, during the slow parts of the year, take the time to reflect on what you may need to change about your marketing. Is there a new lead-generation tactic you want to try or a new market you want to reach?

Read the original article here.

Budgeting tips from Dave Ramsey for small businesses

In the article “Dave Ramsey’s 5 Budgeting Tips for Small-Business Owners” contributed by Hurdlr on Entrepreneur’s website, Ramsey provides some budgeting wisdom so that small-business owners can be prepared for upcoming monetary hurdles and have some peace of mind throughout the year:

  • Aim to start or expand with no debt. While it’s not always feasible to start a business with no debt, Ramsey suggests aiming to do so (or at least starting with as little debt as possible), for he believes that debt is what kills companies. As for expansion, however, Ramsey advises to take it slowly. For instance, set aside some money every month purposely for future expansion. Treat it like a line item expense on your reports.
  • Use business debit cards, not credit cards. Ramsey is a proponent of using debit cards since you’re more apt to keep an eye on how much you spend, given that it’s real money being taken steadily from your account. If you don’t trust your employees with a business debit card, he adds, then the underlying problem here is that you’re keeping on an employee you don’t trust in the first place.
  • Budget for taxes. When your tax preparer or CPA does your profit and loss statements, you should also create a budget that forecasts income and expenditures, including taxes. Doing so will force you to prepare yourself and think about options.
  • Find a trustworthy professional for taxes. It’s a professional’s business to know more about taxes than it is yours, so be sure to invest in someone.
  • Set aside money for taxes. While the usual recommendation is to set aside 35 percent of income for taxes, Ramsey says that you can set aside as little as 25 percent (to cover the 15.3 percent self-employment tax and federal income tax) with marginal brackets until you get over about $75,000 in profits.

Read the full article here.