Every start up business must have a mapped out business plan which factors in the risks that may affect the business. It basically covers marketing analysis, product case studies, capital vs. expenditures, company structure, mission and vision, operations, and profit and loss projection among others. Usually a good business plan considers a three-month period before it can be measured if it was effective or not.
An entrepreneur must learn to anticipate the hazards he or she will face as the start up business is put in place, for only then can they strategize how to handle their business in the given circumstance. Like any wise businessman, one must first weigh its pros and cons and expect the following aspects that may arise in the first three months of the business operation.
1. Your marketing plan is not working.
You may have carefully assessed your marketing strategy and did thorough research of your market but there will be a period where it seems your plan is not working. Before throwing in the towel, consider the factors that may have changed such as customers’ buying patterns, shift from niche market to an entire market, or maybe competition have gained an edge. Analyze first what changed then modify your marketing plan accordingly.
2. There will be staff issues.
Even in small businesses, one will encounter some problems with personnel. There will be clashing of ideas, human resource concerns like employee tardiness and de-motivation, as well as salary dissatisfaction from your staff. When these arise, there is no better way but to address it head on. Foster open communication among your staff and be transparent with them about the status of the business. This way they will understand the situation more and may even provide helpful suggestions for the company.
3. Sales growth is stagnant.
The product you are selling is competent but why is sales still not budging? Not to worry, these are realities that happen in any start up business. Have you identified your customers? Are they the same people? Maybe you should start adding new customers or venture onto a new market. Find an area where your product or service has opportunity for expansion. Do you need to rethink your sales pitch? Will a new look for the product help? If it will improve sales, then go ahead and do it.
4. Customer service concerns.
Because you deal with customers you will definitely have customer service concerns. People will always find something to complain about. So instead of being discouraged by naysayers, win them over with quality customer service. Customers may not always be right but they should still be served well. While you have to adhere to your company policy, you need to discern when to make room for situational allowances.
Accommodate your customers’ complaints and assure them of a fast and quality resolution. Empower your employees to handle customer-related issues and motivate them with appropriate incentive for every problem solved.
5. Irregular expenses against low cash flow.
While setting up the business, you should have identified the start up costs that you will incur. However there will be instances where irregular expenses will arise but cash flow seems slow. You are left juggling the remaining funds you have to cover your fixed costs and at the same time accommodate the unpredicted expenses like maintenance and repairs, tax payments, equipment purchases and loan payments.
Review your monthly cash flow and determine when it is usually running low. Evaluate the factors such as your merchandise, its pricing and terms of sale, and loans, etc. if you see a frequent shortage in funds. Through this you may be able to project cash needs and measure the amount to set aside for these irregular expenditures.
Encountering these problems is expected when one is venturing into business. However, it should not deter you from pursuing the industry. Take each issue as a learning experience and adjust. Now that you are aware of these, you will be more skillful in addressing it. Remember, the success of a start up business is not measured by how few problems it encounters but how it overcomes every challenge that arrives, no matter how difficult they may be.
Celina Conner is a Yoga Instructor, a holder of a Diploma of business from Martin College Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Krizia. She has a passion in cooking and formulating vegan recipes.Follow her adventures on her Twitter.