By Christopher Sargent, CPA/ABV, AM
Senior Analyst, Valuation & Litigation Services
With Halloween creeping around the corner, it’s time to face your fears. As a business owner, what’s your financial Frankenstein monster? What haunts your dreams like Freddy Krueger the night before a busy workday?
To get into the Halloween spirit, let’s embrace some business boogeymen the same way we open our doors to trick-or-treaters. Here are some common financial fears and how to overcome them.
Competition: Few businesses around these days are truly unique. That’s evident in the number of fast-food burger joints and coffee shops standing right next to one another on every street. They stick out with a slight twist on the same product. For example, Burger King stands out from McDonald’s with bigger, flame-grilled burgers while Dunkin’ stands out from Starbucks with its wide selection of specialty donuts to complement its coffee drinks. Lean into the differences that set you apart from your competition, however small they may be. Perhaps you could collaborate with social media influencers to emphasize those differences to your audience. If you’re struggling to stand out, don’t be afraid of change. Introducing a new line of products or services could give you the competitive edge you need. Look at what happened when Amazon started selling more than just books!
Stagnation: This is what happens when you don’t stay ahead of the competition. That’s why you need to make your company a continuous learning environment. Ask for honest feedback from customers and employees, attend workshops and webinars, introduce a department dedicated to research and development. You should also stay connected with current and prospective clients through social media. Maintain a consistent online presence, and always be moving forward toward innovation and improvement.
Crises: In the wake of COVID, you should have more confidence in this area. But a good way to curb remaining anxiety around it is to have an emergency savings fund as well as risk management and disaster recovery plans in place. Investing in business insurance is also a great step toward protecting your assets, ensuring business continuity through coverage during workplace closures, and minimizing the risk of property damage, employee injuries, etc.
Dependence and Delegation: Some business owners get stuck in the habit of trying to do everything themselves. It’s hard for them to step away and leave the company in others’ hands, no matter how capable they know they are. A good compromise is to delegate tasks to others but require them to report back at the end of the workday so business owners can have peace of mind. Another idea is to break projects down into subtasks so owners can have a clear sense of their team members’ progress. A project management system like Trello is a great tool for overseeing all the steps involved in certain projects and where employees are in the process of completing those projects.