For small businesses across America, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in history. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners have been resilient, pivoting and adapting their business models to navigate continually changing conditions. With the new year on the horizon, there are potential new opportunities to take advantage of and ways to adapt to challenges you may face.
Like many Americans, entrepreneurs are facing a year like no other. The holiday season regularly presents some challenges as well as many opportunities for small businesses in Arkansas. We have a few ideas to share that may help you with the challenges you face and make the most of your most profitable time of year, especially with the ongoing global pandemic.Many locally owned small business retailers earn 25 percent or more of their annual sales during the holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we want to provide you with a few things to keep the sales right on track keeping in mind that business decisions made during the holidays can have direct impacts on cash flow for the coming year.
Small retailers often don’t have the sales volume or financial resources to compete with the huge discounts offered by big national chains. Small business profit margins tend to be thinner than the big players, giving them less wiggle room on discounts. This is just one of many challenges a small business face. Below are some tips to consider for your small business for this holiday season.
Tips to Consider for Your Small Business for This Holiday Season:
- Make it Personal. Add a personal touch to your marketing strategies. Although, we may see less of people in person, everyone’s virtual presence is stronger than ever. Reach your customers with video messages from the staff and utilize social media to highlight your business and the team behind it. Offer video chats with clients who may have issues or questions regarding your products and services. However, you are reaching your clientele, the personal, human touch is the way to go
- Think Global. Nearly 60 percent of the entire world population is on the Internet, and most users are located outside the United States. This provides an opportunity in our new, virtual world to expand your customer base. SBA has many resources to assist you in reaching global customers. Drop by SBA’s Office of International Trade and read about their tips to sell overseas here. SBA also has no-cost options available for you to start your overseas journey such as counseling, loan programs, knowledge of international opportunities offered through our partners right here in Arkansas. To learn more, please contact the World Trade Center Arkansas to find out how you can start or expand your journey selling internationally.
- Collect Money Due. Cash flow is the life blood of small business. As we are aware, cash flow has changed since the start of the pandemic for many. Cash flow allows a business to keep staff, make payroll, pay suppliers, and keep its doors open. A sure way for entrepreneurs to maximize their cash flow is by collecting accounts receivable in a timely manner; not keeping too much cash tied up in unnecessary inventory; and eliminating unprofitable account relationships. This is a time to review your cash flow.
- Be Creative. Stand Out. Typically, entrepreneurs have one up on their corporate competitors by providing outstanding and individualized customer service. The pandemic has obviously made this a challenge for many. Small retailers may transition what is not possible in today’s climate with what will make them stand out. Entrepreneurs may sell creative and innovative products that cannot be found on their corporate competitor’s website. Create a unique customer experience that will draw shoppers to discover your creative, innovative, unique product or service that you cannot find elsewhere. Be different.
Small business is the heartbeat of the local economy. The effects of championing small businesses reach far beyond the company doors; the positive benefits are felt throughout the community. When small businesses succeed, we all succeed.
For more information on ways the SBA can assist your small business this holiday season, visit www.sba.gov. For assistance on any of the tips above, SBA may assist or any of our resource partners- at no cost. Please also visit with a professional (virtually) at your local Small Business Development Center, SCORE, Women’s Business Centeror Veteran’s Business Outreach Center.
Edward Haddock is the district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration Arkansas District Office. Follow us on Twitter @SBA_Arkansas.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in op-eds are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Arkansas Money & Politics or About You Media Group.