Starting a small business is not for the faint of heart, but courage goes only so far. Here are three common challenges that entrepreneurs face and how you can overcome them.
Cash Flow is Tight, but Financing Can Help
What keeps most small business owners up at night? No contest: it’s cash flow. Startup costs, equipment, taxes, payroll—the list goes on, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic slammed entrepreneurs with several uniquely challenging quarters. Before they can focus on anything else, they need to figure out how to keep the lights on.
However, the traditional financing environment is tough. Banks work to avoid risk, and handing someone a pile of cash that could go to multiple places is a dicey proposition. That’s reflected by the fact that business loans from big banks currently sit at a 13.6% approval rate—not an encouraging number, especially for entrepreneurs who have limited time in business, little collateral, bad credit, or all of the above.
Fortunately, big banks aren’t the only lending option for small businesses. Large retailers often offer their own payment plans, and point-of-sale financing is exploding—it’s expected to make up 16% of lending products by 2023. And for business owners looking to purchase equipment, the terms get even better: because the financing is self-collateralized (that is, the capital can be recovered by simply repossessing the equipment), it’s less risky for all parties. Clicklease can help small businesses get the equipment they need to bring in revenue without breaking into their cash reserves.
Find the Ideal Customer
Knowing who needs a product is key to selling it, and casting a broad customer net is rarely a winning strategy. Like the (modified) saying goes: try to sell to everybody, and you’ll end up selling to nobody. But once a business zeroes in on who they want buying their wares, they can focus their marketing efforts on connecting with those customers.
How do you figure out who the ideal customer for your business is? Create buyer personas. These generalized descriptions focus on a few key aspects of the ideal customer’s identity, which directly relate to the product. For instance, people living in colder climates near major local athletic franchises would be more likely to buy sports-themed coffee mugs.
Once the semi-fictional details of a few different personas are built out, then it’s time to think about how to appeal to the needs of customers who fall into those categories. For example, do they see more advertisements on social media or billboards? What kind of seasonal events or sales are they looking forward to? How can a business make its storefront (digital or physical) more appealing to them? Thinking about customers from the perspective of personas can help business owners target their resources more effectively and spend more time on the buyers who matter most.
Boost Up Email Marketing
When it comes to digital marketing ROI, email is still king—it brings back an average of $42 for every dollar spent. And an opt-in email list, filled with customers who’ve voluntarily submitted their contact information, is a golden trove of potential customers. And though building an email list might seem complicated, small businesses can do it with two simple guideposts: don’t buy an email list, and make sure to offer customers something valuable in exchange for their addresses.
Buying a list is poor practice for numerous reasons, but mostly because it’s spending money and time on people who didn’t ask for emails. As far as offering customers a worthy trade, consider sneak peeks of new products, email-only discount codes, or guides on how to use the product they just bought. Cultivating an audience of invested customers who want to be contacted will pay off in repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Getting ahold of the right equipment doesn’t have to be a headache. Contact Clicklease today to learn more about financing options.