Celebrating the Contributions of Small Businesses
The media may refer to us as Mom and Pop businesses, but small business owners are mighty when it comes to their impact on the economic culture and well-being of a community. Those of us who count ourselves as small business owners understand every interaction with a customer can create a positive interaction. Such interactions add up over time and with enough moments, we create positive word of mouth and generate change within the community.
While many of these interactions seem small in the moment, they add up to great power throughout the nation. Small business employers make up 99.7 percent of employers in the U.S., according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses also employ about half of the nation’s workforce, the equivalent of 56.1 million workers, and represent some of the highest numbers of minority, veteran and woman business owners.
While these stats are most often shared in an election year, the most tangible aspect of what small businesses provides is exceptional service. These business owners have an innate ability to recognize what a community needs and bring it into existence. Collectively, small businesses throughout the nation also provide a level of customer experience unmatched by an international or national chain. Such one-on-one experiences from the very people who make up the community provide a level of customer service with long-lasting connections that keep people returning for the service and interactions for years to come.
While many consumers value the level of customer experience a small business provides, owners cannot ignore the very real issue of convenience in an always-on world. Verne Harnish, Gazelles CEO, offers some advice for helping companies make critical decisions about cash, execution, people and strategy. Finding the right balance can guard against leaving time and money on the table.
People – Having the right people in the right roles is critical to avoid conflict with partners, customers and suppliers. Interruption, whether personal or financial, can derail the effectiveness of serving customers in the manner they deserve.
Strategy – Snags in top-line revenue growth signal challenges in strategy. When issues arise, it’s time to look at core customer audiences. Begin by asking what and to whom you’re selling to. Having a clear story of the audience aligns energy so everyone knows what moves things forward and what does not.
Execution – Creating processes and habits may not be the most fun but having such systems in place can improve margins and profitability, not to mention reducing the time it takes to complete necessary work. Flying by the seat of the pants is a short-term solution that quickly turns into burnout for staff.
Cash – Money is required for growth but it’s critical to know how quickly the company can afford to grow. Having enough internal cash provides a company with the comfort to increase growth without fear of running out of money.
Now that this year’s Small Business Week is behind us, take a moment to evaluate where your business is today and visualize where it could be by this time next year.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a Kansas City employment agency that provides “Personnel Services with a Personal Touch.”