These past few years have tested the mettle of entrepreneurs like never before. Yet, here you are. So first and foremost, congratulations for making it this far, it is a true testament to your perseverance and dedication. And although times are still undoubtedly tough, we are seeing a turn for the better in business. With the busy holiday period already underway, now is the time to back yourselves for the future and unlock your full potential.

1. Knowing your worth

While small business owners often hesitate to adjust prices, fearing customer loss, the other side of the coin is that not adjusting prices could compromise the profitability of your business. When contemplating a price change, a crucial consideration is providing
transparent justifications. If asked about price hikes, having solid reasons to substantiate these changes is important. Following market trends without substantiating the price hike can erode customer trust and loyalty.

2. The art of retention

Customers have access to an assortment of options, cutting through the noise and keeping your customers coming back for more will build a loyal customer base for your business.

Beyond providing an exceptional product or service, business owners should get to know their customers. This might translate into the content you’re pushing out, providing your audience with messages that they can relate to or have an emotional response to. Customer experience is just as important. Whether you have an e-commerce business or brick and mortar, ease of purchasing, returning and exchanging can make all the difference to a customer’s decision-making process.

When your customers are loyal, they become your biggest advocate and almost like a brand ambassador. They’ll recommend your business to their circle of friends and family. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools and it’s completely organic.

3. Who’s who in the zoo?

Establishing a robust network is a crucial instrument in the toolkit of a business owner, having the potential to open the doors of valuable partnerships and opportunities for business growth.

Actively participating in discussions with colleagues and partners and attending industry events can broaden your network and open doors for opportunities. However, networking extends beyond traditional physical gatherings. Online platforms like LinkedIn provide numerous avenues for expanding and fostering connections within your network.

4. Mastering the cash flow game

Staying ahead of cash flow fluctuations will help you to be financially resilient. Many small businesses are faced with the challenges of balancing cash flow amid seasonal shifts, unpaid invoices, and unexpected costs. It’s something our customers navigate and is more common than people realise. Having a Plan B will provide your business with a safety net, it’s also nice to know that you have that in your back pocket for emergencies.

5. Don’t fall asleep on the numbers

Financial literacy is an important part of being a small business owner – be careful not to get too complacent and let finances slip through the cracks. Seeking third-party help can make all the difference, and it allows you to focus on the parts of the business that matter most. Small businesses often require capital for various growth phases, including inventory purchases, equipment upgrades, and staffing. While owners may understand their finances, consulting a financial advisor or small business loan specialist can provide valuable insight into accessing appropriate financial products, minimising deficits and business goal alignment.

The future is bright

The mood is now much more positive among small businesses, which often happens after an election when that much-needed certainty returns. We’re also entering the busiest time of the year for retail, hospitality and tourism. It’s time to make hay.

Despite the turmoil of the last three and half years, the dust may be beginning to settle – and that means that it’s time for small businesses to take hold of the opportunities they are presented with.

Adrienne Begbie is Managing Director of Prospa NZ.

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