Every business has problems. And as a business owner, whether it’s a slow day, a product that won’t sell, or a data breach, that problem is on your plate. But what if you’re not an expert on the business tax code, online security, or whatever the problem of the day is? It may be time to call in some backup. This guide will help you tackle some of the most common—and difficult—problems that all small businesses face.
Start with the basics
Nobody starts their own business because they dream of doing more paperwork or yearn to make their taxes more complicated. But administrative work is part of the job. Check out some tips for making tax time easier, streamlining your busywork, and plugging up the leaks that can drain your business of much-needed cash.
- Learn to spot and stop the most common ways businesses lose money: 8 ways your business bleeds cash (and how to stop the flow)
- Stop wasting time on paperwork: 5 tasks that can steal time from your business
- Avoid common tax-time pitfalls: Sales Tax Tripwires for Restaurants (And How to Avoid Them)
- Tackle some other common mistakes: 10 Mistakes New Business Owners Make (And How to Fix Them)
Location, location, location
Choosing the right location for your business is one of the most important decisions you have to make. A great location, with lots of foot traffic, provides an automatic boost to your bottom line. An-out-of-the-way spot can make it seem impossible to get ahead. But with some savvy planning, almost any location can be made to work to your advantage.
- Deal with the downsides to the spot you’ve got, including a lack of parking, construction, and excess noise: Overcoming location woes (without moving)
- Learn from a case study of a business that found they weren’t quite close enough to a stadium to benefit from the foot traffic: How one bar turned a location challenge into a new revenue driver
- Figure out how to bring your second location up to your first location’s standards: Second location isn’t replicating the original’s success
- Think outside the box: Could colocation be a worthwhile tactic for your business?
Increase foot traffic
You can’t change a business district that’s dead at night into a neighborhood with a raging nightlife, but you can take some steps to increase foot traffic to your location. Don’t just accept that your coffee shop is always going to be dead all afternoon. Look for some ways to create a lunch rush, or keep patrons staying, and spending, longer.
- Learn how to deal with seasonality, bad weather, a changing neighborhood, and other foot traffic woes: Dealing with slowing foot traffic
- Start by learning when business slows down, then figure out what to do about it: Dealing with slow hours
- Don’t fight the nature of your business—expand it: Populating your coffee shop after the A.M. rush
- Use free wifi to lure customers and encourage them to linger: A smart wifi strategy for your business
Push your product
Moving inventory is crucial for any business, but every business eventually runs into those products that just won’t sell. Whether it’s a donut, a dog collar, or a dress, there’s a way to market it that will push it out your doors.
- Turn leftovers into new meals, sell seasonal products online, and other great tips: Creative ways to move product faster
- Sell those pastries fast: Moving perishable products before they go stale
- Stay ahead of fast-moving trends: Obsolete products
- Stop potential customers from ‘showrooming’: Customers browse your store, then buy on Amazon
Improve customer relations
A lot of factors come together to determine the health of your business. But if your customers aren’t happy, nothing else matters. Don’t live in fear of what people might say about you on Yelp. Develop a proactive strategy for keeping your customers loyal, and they’ll be your best marketers.
- Know what to do when something goes wrong: Handling a serious customer complaint
- Have a clear complaints policy in place: Dealing with bad reviews (Part 1)
- Deal quickly and fairly with a bad review posted online: Dealing with bad reviews (Part 2)
- Repair your customer relationships after a data breach: Recovering from a security or data breach
Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, Sun Trust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including Ignite Payments, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.