In the world of the small business, success and closure are separated by the thinnest of margins. Cutting costs by a fraction of a percent could mean disaster avoided, or the loss of a single client could me a catastrophic downturn in revenue that leaves you unable to pay wages.
Today we’re looking at some of the business life hacks that give that little extra edge to help you get ahead of the competition. When success and failure are separated by a knife’s edge, make sure you’re the one holding the knife.
Learn More For Less
One of the most important things you can do as a business owner is learn. Learn about your competition, about your market, about your own business and brand. All of your decisions are based on information, they’re how you know what your market of consumers wants to buy, how much they’ll pay and where they’ll go to look for it. The more information you have, the better decisions you’ll make, but it can be costly to acquire. Market research firms give you vital insights into your business, but this expertise comes with a hefty price tag.
One way to avoid paying for more market research that your budget can stand is to get some questions into an Omnibus Survey. You’ll pay only a few hundred pounds for two or three questions and along with the answers from a thorough cross section of society, you’ll get all the demographic information from the respondents, more than enough to start getting an idea of the market that exists for your products and how to appeal to them!
Buy in Expertise
In the early days of your business, it’s rare for a founder to have access to the resources necessary to hire full time HR staff, and other support roles for the core spine of the business. With a small team and a laser like focus on the product, HR is broadly unnecessary. Everyone is committed enough to put in the hours necessary, while things are loose and flexible enough for a loose control over holiday and sickness to be enough, as long as the work is done.
It still pays to build some HR structures to ensure leave and sick days are tracked, and make sure no one takes a disproportionate amount of time off. This can foster resentment from people who take less holiday.
Getting an interim HR manager in to set up some of these reporting structures and leave you with a solid foundation that full time staff can build when your business is big enough to justify hiring them means you can punch above your weight in terms of expertise, by using the services of a consultant for just a few weeks!