Every small business owner, freelancer and entrepreneur knows that during both great times and challenging times, there are stressors. When the pressure starts to build it up, it can be challenging to make the right decisions, and it can be even more challenging to see opportunities.
In the early days, if you don’t have funding, you will need to handle 100% of the tasks by yourself, and this means that every decimal place in the accounts and every comma in the pitch decks comes down to you.
Once you start to see some money coming in and your business begins to stack up the cash, it’s time to make intelligent decisions to relieve all of the pressure you have been feeling until this point.
Highlight your stress points
The longer you work on and in your business, the more you will be able to highlight the things that have been causing your stress. Sometimes it is the jobs that take the most amount of time that make you feel like you aren’t achieving your potential.
Yet, other times you will be sweating over if you have done your taxes correctly.
As you reach a point where you start to see that you have some available money to spend, look for places that do the following:
- Free you up to do other tasks within your business
- Help you to prepare your business for scaling
- Speed up processes
There are some common ones like:
- Customer services
- Social media
- Data input
Take some time over the space of 2-3 months (depending on your business) to look at what areas cause you to stress, and write them down. Research all of the potential ways that you can minimize the impact.
Let’s take a look at a few areas that are everyday stressors and how you can reduce their impact on you.
Your customer services when you work in a digital world are expected to be incredible and 24/7. It becomes impossible at a certain point for one person to be able to handle all of the queries, questions and complaints. Partnering with the best live chat website service providers will be one of the quickest ways to get the relief you need. Using a chat service on your website means that no matter where in the world someone needs information, and no matter what time it is, you are able to offer them the customer services that they expect.
There are lots of different providers on the market, and you can find the right one for your needs. Consider how personalized you’d like your responses and if you’d like the ability to have a team of real people if the automated responses don’t help the customer.
Beyond this, you can do several other things to reduce the pressure of responding to comments and complaints.
- Set yourself an hour a day to go through them
- Highlight customer service wait times on your website (be realistic)
- Set up a Twitter account that is specifically for customers to use; this streamlines the communications for you
Remember that customer service is one place that you can’t afford to let slip, no matter how much you have going on – your customers should always be first.
Unless you are an accountant or find finances very easy, then doing accounts is one area that many freelancers, small businesses and entrepreneurs will find difficult. It’s not just the money itself when it comes to accounting; there could be a lot of benefits, deductibles and credits that you are missing out on.
Since accountants are highly qualified and have a wealth of knowledge, it is hard to compete with their skill level. If your accounts are fairly basic in the early days, that is great since you can probably handle them yourself.
As soon as it becomes more complex, it is time to find an accountant that can make your money make sense – and, more importantly, work for you. What should you be looking for in a good accountant?
- It should be someone that you get one with since, from time to time, you’re going to need to have tough conversations.
- They have some experience in your industry.
- The accountant you choose can answer your questions in a straightforward no, jargon manner (so you can understand the whys of the process)
- You can search online and find plenty of referrals and reviews; it goes without saying you are looking for primarily positive ones.
- Qualifications and certifications.
It can be challenging to have a conversation where you admit that you are running in minus, that you are struggling and other tough discussions. This is why it is even more critical to make sure you find an accountant that you can work well with.
There are very few businesses that can survive without social media – it’s the life force behind some of the most exciting companies in the world.
Why? Well, because almost everyone across the globe has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more in their pocket. In fact, roughly 50% of the population uses them. Social media usage for the individual sits at about 2 hours per day.
Having social media interaction in your marketing plan is essential. It helps with increasing brand awareness, sharing new and old products, and engaging directly with your customers.
And one of the best things of all is that it is free. Unless you have social media paid marketing as part of your strategy.
But you can’t be on every platform all the time, and if you have been trying to do that, you will notice just how much time it takes up.
So how can you cut the work that is associated with social media and make it work for you?
One of the critical things that you can consider is which platforms should you be on? You might not need to be on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and more. Take a look at your product and see what makes the most sense.
You can also pull inspiration from brands too. There are some airlines that are doing TikTok work for them. Duolingo has an aggressive and often hilarious approach to social media. It can be beneficial for you to focus heavily on Pinterest and Instagram for products.
It is also worth keeping in mind that social commerce is becoming a big thing, and that means you can use your social media to make sales.
There are four types of social media tools, and you can choose the one to support you where you need it most.
- Content creation tools
- Analytics tools
- Scheduling apps
- Content curation tools
Most social media tools use all or a combination of these.
The tool you use should be something that fits within your marketing budget and that you use 95% of the features it has. Here are some social media management tools that can help you tackle your social media in the best way:
- Sprout Social is great for reporting, keywords and hashtags, and social calendar
- SocialPilot is perfect for those on a tight budget who want to work collaboratively.
- Hootsuite is a tried and tested favourite and often called the best all-in-one solution
- Buffer has a significant number of free features, is very easy to use and is a good starting point
If you still need to reduce the amount of hands-on time you are spending on your social media, then it is worth considering if you can afford a virtual assistant. Some virtual assistants specialize in social media management, and their results are incredible. But you’ll need to make sure you have it within your budget to outsource for at least six months.
You might be thinking that you don’t have any data to put anywhere. But let’s take a look at just some of the data that you should be collecting as a small business:
- Contact numbers (when you have permission) for text updates or to conduct business
- Email address (when you have permission) for newsletters, and regular contact
- How did the customer find you?
- Engagement data
- Contact preferences
- Monetary value (how often do they buy and how much do they spend)
You need to have these details in a carefully curated system. Data entry outsourcing is becoming one of the most popular things for small businesses because it frees up countless amounts of hours.
Having your data carefully stored means that you can make sense of more of your business and build an in-depth customer profile. Allowing you to grow your business further.
Your database will have all of the essential details that you can pull up in a second. For example, if you have a high ticket service or product coming soon, you can advertise it to your biggest spenders and curate an email and campaign for those buyers.
Equally, if you have customers that purchase periodically or only with a coupon, you can give them what matters most.
The data you keep can make a massive difference to your income and the success of your business.
These are just a few areas where you can lighten your load, and there are lots more things that you can do, read more: Stress-Busting Tips You Need This Week.
(Disclaimer: This content is a partnered post. This material is provided as news and general information. It should not be construed as an endorsement of any investment service. The opinions expressed are the personal views and experience of the author, and no recommendation is made.)