If one intends to succeed in business, then it is necessary to manage the business effectively, because in the long run, the better-managed businesses succeed. Dan Barufaldi, Freelance management consultant active in metro New York City, authored the 5 C’s for Success in Business list. According to Dan, success in business requires that you attain and leverage these five resources:
But of course a robust client list is necessary if one expects to keep the doors open. Clients are the life blood of every business and priority is given to acquiring and retaining the source of revenue. There are a number of tactics strategies that business owners can use to find and retain customers, including:
Advertising and promotion
Advertising in newspapers, blogs, newsletters, trade journals
Email marketing campaigns
Trade show and conference exhibits
Participation in local charity events
The focus may not be on a specific product or service, but branding is marketing/advertising designed to enhance the reputation of the company/ consultant in the marketplace. It is important to communicate to current and potential customers that the company/consultant is reliable and trustworthy.
Create good word of mouth (still the best form of advertising) and stimulate referral business by providing excellent customer service and exceeding expectations every time.
Those whose target clients are B2B will greatly benefit from membership in the local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club and neighbor hood business association. Those whose target customers are B2C will be wise to take part in neighborhood charity events and otherwise be visible in the community. B2G oriented businesses and Freelancers will attend information sessions and certified vendor conferences sponsored by city, state, county and federal organizations.
Freelance consultants and small business owners must package and present ourselves and our products and services in a professional manner. We cannot afford to advertise and brand like the major corporations, so we must be creative in our use of promotional resources. A good ongoing branding campaign to enhance reputation is essential, as is excellent customer service. Promote your brand and build trust with good customer service, to create good word of mouth that can earn you recommendations and testimonials. Teaching is a time-honored way to demonstrate one’s expertise. Speaking on (or moderating) a panel at a professional development symposium is another excellent way to create visibility among your peers and potential clients.
III. Cash Flow
For Freelance consultants and small business owners, cash flow can sometimes take precedence over short-term profitability. Cash flow glitches will result in unpaid accounts payable, the inability to take advantage of special offers, an unmet payroll and/or the inability to cover immediate and urgent expenses. It’s a smart idea to project cash flow needs over 8 – 12 weeks, so you’ll know when to invoice clients, when receivables are expected, when accounts payable are due and have time have time to cover any gaps that appear. It may be possible to extend the due date on certain accounts payable, accelerate the collection of accounts receivable, adjust expenses or even get a bridge loan (or a temporary job).
Available credit supports cash flow management. An honored request to increase the credit card limit allows one to float expenses when accounts receivable collections are unexpectedly slow, or allows the business to stock up on inventory when prices are favorable. Those with good credit ratings pay lower credit card interest rates, which is also good for cash flow.
Those looking to grow their business may need to make large expenditures and that will require access to capital. If significant business growth is part of your organization’s three-year plan, start now and improve your credit rating by paying off debts, if that is an issue. The establishment of a good relationship with a bank, along with a credit rating and financial management practices that demonstrate good judgment and fiscal responsibility, will be very helpful when it is time to seek financing. Make an appointment with the manager of your bank to discuss your plans, learn how much you are qualified to receive and the payment terms. Meet a banker as you network at the local business association and get a second opinion.
Thanks for reading,