What scares you as a small business owner?
Running your own small business can be tricky – and at times, scary too! Despite the many upsides of being your own boss, there are aspects of running a business that will unavoidably give you the jitters.
But odds are, your small business is haunted by a very specific kind of specter. What’s keeping you from getting a good night’s rest? We want to help reveal those monsters, once and for all: Which Halloween creature haunts your small business?
The Cash Flow Vampire
Feel something sucking your business dry? Watch out! You’ve got a vampire at your neck.
Here are some signs that you need to worry about the cash flowing in and out of your business:
- Money disappears as fast as it comes in
- You feel out of control of your costs
- Profitability seems like a vague, all-too-distant possibility
- You’re terrified you’ll go bankrupt
The small business owner who struggles with cash flow tends to live through month-end drama, chasing up on unpaid invoices, waiting for checks to clear and wondering how they’ll meet obligations and pay bills.
The good news is you can put a stake once and for all in that cash flow vampire with a few simple steps:
- Accept online payments
- Send late payment reminders and even charge late payment fees
- Track and manage your expenses daily
- Review the rates you’re charging
- Forecast for the seasonal nature of your small business
Just a few simple practices and you’ll be saying, “Poof! Bye-bye, Dracula!”
You’ve Got a Witch on Your Back!
The poor witch. So often in history, she was simply a misunderstood woman.
It’s clearly just a marketing problem: Green skin, warts, and a cackle that send shivers through those around her. No wonder everybody runs away!
Here are some signs that you may be haunted by bad marketing:
- You just don’t seem to attract new clients
- The competition always seems to stand taller
- You get queries for the wrong kind of work
- People simply don’t understand your product offering!
It really doesn’t matter how great your product or service is if nobody gets to experience it. You need to get better at tooting your own horn and standing apart from your competition.
Some steps to purge that witch from your business are:
- Spiff up your website (layer in some great SEO to improve discoverability)
- Start content marketing and using social media
- Take your paperwork to the next level with great-looking estimates and proposals
Now you can have that gingerbread house all to yourself!
You’ve Got Ghoulish Clients
Bad clients are the ghouls of the small business owner. They creep away when invoices are due and are very likely to ask for more, for free.
You probably already know if you’ve got ghouls. Odds are, it’s the brunt of what you complain about!
Here are some signs you’re being haunted by ghouls:
- Projects regularly scope creep and end up much bigger than how they started out
- Money talk is always a difficult conversation with these clients
- Certain clients ghost you when it’s time to pay up
Fortunately, you can chase those ghoulish clients away. Focus on establishing loyal anchor clients and learning a few easy tactics to tame scope creep on projects. Try:
- Getting on the same page as your clients with estimates and proposals
- Setting clear payment terms and implementing late payment reminders
- Saying “no” to the wrong kind of work
- Accepting online payments to make it easier for clients to pay you
Be haunted by ghouls no longer!
You’ve Got an Old-Fashioned Ghost
Feel that panic at the end of the day about what you’ve accomplished? Wonder if you’ll ever get a grip on your workload? If you’re haunted by a ghost, you may have a time management problem.
Some signs that you’re haunted by a ghost:
- The days, weeks, and months simply fly and you never seem able to accomplish all you had intended
- There are whole areas of your business that you’re neglecting because you just don’t have time
- Everything just feels clunky – as though you’re always taking the long way around
Like a ghost, time is hard to see and touch. But you’ll definitely feel it when you’re on the wrong side of it! Exorcize the ghost of time management by taking control of your hours and minutes:
- Track your time and uncover your inefficiencies
- Put your accounting on the cloud and get through that pesky paperwork faster
- Get help! (You really don’t need to do it all yourself)
Conclusion: It’s Really All in Your Imagination
One thing all these haunting creatures have in common? Well, they’re not real, of course! We all tend to exaggerate the things we’re most afraid of. We hear things go bump in the night when there’s nothing there.
Whatever you’re most afraid of can usually be broken down into a pretty simple, easy-to-address problem. After all, there’s another thing these ghouls, ghosts, witches, and vampires have in common: They can all be defeated.
Happy Halloween from your friends at FreshBooks!