Every small business venture is going to encounter some problems here and there – it’s just a fact of life. But how you handle those problems as a business owner or small business employee will be what defines both you and your business.
So if you’re somewhat in the dark about how to solve some of the common problems that may arise, instead of solving them in a traditional way, wouldn’t you like to be more creative? We would! Here are some innovative ways to solve 4 of the toughest, yet most common, small business issues.
You’ve Chosen a Bad Shop Location
If you have decided to start your own retail store, you probably know that location really is key. But if you’re offering a service and think that you can run your business from home, by yourself, with just the help of your cell phone and laptop, you might be in for a wild ride.
For storefronts, if you aren’t seeing as much foot traffic or overall traffic looming around your store as you’d like, don’t pack up and move shop just yet. Think of another way to bring people to your store first. Try offering small incentives to potential customers, like a small free gift to the first 50 visitors to your store on a particular day. Or throw a barbecue and publicize it around town – you provide the food and soda, customers will flock to your store, and they’ll remember you after.
This next tip is true for retailers and service providers alike: get a custom-designed website that is fully branded and market the heck out of it. Sell your products online and totally market yourself for your services. There’s no one out there exactly like you, so market yourself for your most positive qualities as a human being and how they apply. People will react.
If you’re working from home, the best advice is to just stay organized. Purchase an iPad that you can download organizational apps onto. It will practically pay for itself.
You Can’t Keep Track of All of Your Paperwork
Is that giant stack of paperwork quickly piling up on your desk, so fast, in fact, that you’ve lost some of the most important documents?
The easiest solution would of course be to scan important documents as they come in and store them electronically with an organizational software that allows you non-stop access to everything you need.
The creative solution, though, is to stick to the more old-fashioned route and keep the paper documents, just organize them more thoroughly! Easier said than done, yes, but take the time one day to organize a file cabinet for yourself. Decorate its exterior to your tastes, even, and make it a place that you actually want to look at and turn to.
Implement an organizational strategy that you’ll remember inside the filing cabinet. If it means putting funny stickers on the label tabs of filing folders, then so be it. In fact, that’s the best way to do it. Making organizing fun, colorful and silly will make it be something you’ll want to keep doing.
And by filing the hard copies of everything that comes in as it comes in (this will be the hardest part, you know – staying on top of everything), you’ll save yourself all kinds of time over scanning the documents and electronically filing them.
Your Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working
What are you doing for your business’ marketing? Is it traditional in nature, and is it working?
Whether you’re seeing success from your current marketing strategy or not, consider stepping it up a notch and really personalizing it. What you want is for people to know you, recognize you and like you, that way they’ll be sure to support your business.
Next time there’s a charity event happening around town, ask if there’s anything you can donate to the event organizers or any services you can offer. Maybe you can even set up a table, or hand out “swag” items – free stuff with your brand name and logo on it, like stickers, pins, etc.
A perfect example: as part of their marketing strategy, Zappos.com was at an event where it was raining outside and handed out ponchos with their website and logo all over them. Creative = brilliant. Think outside the box like this when it comes to your own marketing strategy, and implement one that says something about you and your personality, as well as your business’ personality.
And while we’re on the subject – your business better have a killer logo if you’re going to be handing out swag at the next hot local event. Make the fine tunes before printing to make sure you have something that’s memorable and that will make you stand out.
You’re Having a Hard Time Making Time For Your Family
Let’s face it, you’re a busy entrepreneur, and 80-hour work weeks aren’t exactly uncommon for you. But you know that your family misses you and isn’t functioning quite the same without you. What to do, what to do…
Instead of giving in and giving up on all of the hard work that you’ve put into your business, have a “Take Your Family to Work” day. Lots of people do it, but what you’ll do will be above and beyond.
Tell your kids they can skip school for a day if they would like to come with you to work. Bring your husband or wife, too, and make it a whole family affair, just for one day. You probably won’t get quite as much work done as you normally would, but you’ll be more than glad to have the company, and your family will just be happy to be spending time with you.
Assign each family member a “job” for the day. When they get tired of it or don’t want to do it anymore, switch things up. Make it into a game, and whoever does their “job” the best wins a prize. Your kids will love it, guaranteed. They do want to be just like you, you know!