We all going into business to make money and keep what we make. How do we go from making money to making a profit? How do we stay competitive, increase our cash flow and become better at what we do? Here are some ideas for making a profit in your business venture.
1) Be great at what you do, by becoming the best in your business
As an entrepreneur the more you know the better. What you know can help you make a profit. You have to have book sense, business sense and common sense working together to make and keep your profits in business. Book sense incorporates knowing everything there is to know about what you are selling, whether it is a product like web site design, food or gifts, or a service like hair styling, investing or moving company. The more you know about the service or product the more comfortable your investors will feel about giving you money. Your customers will trust and have confidence in you and prefer your service over another.
Business sense will keep you in business and protect you from getting ripped off. It requires you to know the true cost of your supplies, so that you do not pay more than you have to. This is about you knowing where shop, what licenses you need so that you are legal and how to do things the right way. Common sense- you may be in situations where you are the youngest person in the room and may feel intimated, do not let your fear or intimidation stop you. If your common sense is telling you something is not right, it probably is not right and you need to trust what you know and make a decision to wait before making a move.
Business education no longer requires costly, lengthy college courses. Many entrepreneurs who have been successful in their fields are writing books on how to start similar businesses. They are great sources of information. You can obtain information and training from a variety of sources such as: experts in the field, competitors, entrepreneurs training centers, seminars, conferences, and books. With the increase in entrepreneurship ventures access to training is readily available and affordable
2) Know who your customers are and fight to keep them
Why so many businesses fighting for the attention and patronage of your customer? Take the time to investigate your potential and current customers. Once you think you have found them, test the market and see if they buy the product. If they are not buying your product or making a sale is extremely difficult you wan to re-evaluate and go back to the drawing board and investigate some more. This will help you determine if your target is off or your strategy of reaching them is off. If you want to sell to the affluent your style, appearance, use of language will be much different from selling to middle class families. You must in these cases be able to relate to them and meet their concerns. Can a person on a shoestring budget reach the affluent and wealthy? Yes, if they are capable of finding a common ground in which they can use to build a relationship from and are able to meet the unique needs of that segment of the market. You can sell the same medicine to the wealthy and middle class, but your packaging and presentation will be entirely different.
Some businesses think that once they have their customers, the work is done. Not so, this is just the beginning. You will find that some other entrepreneur is coming up right behind and is hungrier than you are, and ready to offer more for less. Your customers are never safe, which means you want to build and keep the relationships current and purposeful. This may mean sending your customers updates about how your company is doing, new product or service offerings. If there is nothing new going on in your business (which should not be) then you can send birthday cards and other items to let the customer know that you are thinking of them. Profitable businesses specialize in personalization.
3) Have a constant stream or method for recruiting new customers
Have you ever seen a brook or river run dry? It is a sad sight, no longer is that brook good for giving water, oxygen or even a pleasing sight to on lookers. It becomes a hole in the ground collecting dirt and debris. Your business should never face the same fate, to avoid this you must keep the source full. Your source is the how you get new customers. As entrepreneurs we are so busy maintaining the business and running straight ahead that we do not focus the priorities. Never take your eyes off where your customers are coming from. Nurture and maintain your source for recruiting new customers. For example if your source is the relationships with vendors, stores, or magazines then maintain those relationships buy paying on time, responding to emergencies and meeting needs. If your source is referrals, then reward those who are referring customers to you.
4) Manage your income streams so that they do not run out
Profitable businesses make sure that what they are putting out financially is being replenished by what is being brought in. Keep the rule of earning at least five dollars before you spend one. Two dollars are for paying expenses, one for replenishing supplies, one for advertising and the other for maintaining the payroll or the entrepreneur. There are so many needs for a small business and new business, from supplies to inventory. The needs seem to outweigh the provisions at times, yet we still need to be able to operate and function without breaking the bank. This is when you want to create your wish list, and your shopping list. As an entrepreneur we can live in the office supply stores and be roped in by vendors into buying equipment that takes classes and several months to master. To get overhead low you must manage you income streams making a budget for all your expense and needs. This can be achieved by dividing the money coming into your business to make it pay for the preset priorities. Determine your bills, expenses and business equipment or operations needs. Give a date to purchase each items by and do not buy anything until you have collected the necessary money for it. If you are going to lease equipment have a stream of income that will support this new expense so that your payments are on time and your credit is being built up. To often home businesses and store fronts are both guilt of spending what they have not made and drying up the income streams. Anything not being replenished at the same rate it is being used is in danger of drying up quickly.
5) Charge what the service is worth
It is important to the profitability of your business that you charge what your service or product is worth. Then it will take a shorter time to see profits. If you undercharge then making a profit takes a lot longer and much more effort. Price right the first time so that you are meeting your expenses and have money for savings or reinvesting. Charging the right price will set your business in motion and head on the right path.