STARTING A BUSINESS IS EASY NOWADAYS BUT MAINTAINING A GROWING PROFITABLE BUSINESS IS A WHOLE OTHER STORY. KAREN AND I SHARE THREE OF OUR BIGGEST HURDLES NAVIGATING LIFE AS SMALL BUSINESSOWNERS.
When we came up with the brilliant idea to start a company, we did it because we knew we were great at making sure the financial information was accurate (bookkeeping), great at finding ways to improve efficiency (business solutions) and great at explaining the information in an easy-to-understand way to the management team (education/accountability). What we did not do as well was networking, clearly articulating our services and pricing them correctly.
My partner and I love socializing. In our mind, networking was an opportunity to hang out with a room full of prospects. We didn’t expect to convert everyone into a potential client, but we did think it would be a lot easier to walk up to strangers and promote OUR business. I still remember the feeling of vulnerability every time I spoke about KEM Business Solutions. I learned quickly that it is much easier to advocate for someone else’s business than your own.
Another strategy we didn’t apply back then was being intentional about our networking. Networking IS work and we had to be purposeful and expect a return on our investment. To do so, we set specific goals-to meet two or three individuals that were key for our business. We also started going to separate events so that we were forced to engage with others rather than enjoy each other’s company.
Ever had a thought in your head so clearly but have it flounder when you shared it? That was us. At KEM Business Solutions we offer business consultant services to small-to-mid size business looking to grow their business. We do this by reviewing the foundation of any business, their financials. We then determine areas that can be improved either by adopting technology or creating different processes that deliver efficiency and improved productivity. What we said though, was that we offered accounting services and expected everyone to understand what that meant. Most people would say, “Oh, so you guys do taxes?” and that resulted in a whole other conversation.
We did learn that small businessowners were so occupied their accounting goal was to simply minimize tax liability. Our goal was to help businessowners achieve that goal BUT also be proactive throughout the year, so they would grow their business too.
We have clearly improved our elevator pitch and continue to work on it. We now understand our audience better and try to be as concise and effective at representing our business services.
BUILD PORTFOLIO-YES! PRICE ACCORDINGLY-NOT SO MUCH!
Our strategy to penetrate a saturated market was to set our prices on the lower-end of the scale, provide remarkable service and adjust our rates periodically until we were at market value. We did great at securing clients from many different industries, serviced them extraordinarily but went soft at changing our rates. Have you ever watched Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan romantic comedy “You’ve Got Mail”? There’s a quote from Tom Hank’s character in that movie-“It’s not personal, It’s business”. What we discovered is that in the small business world it’s ALL personal because most of the owners are working on what they are passionate about the business is a byproduct of it.
It took a bit of tweaking and careful communication (and over communication) to find the best way for us to present our service packages and to identify when a client should either upgrade or downgrade their services. This has helped us develop better time lines, improve our already excellent service and hone in on the basic needs of a small business.
At KEM Business Solutions, we have years of experience working with small businesses just like yours AND we have faced or may be facing similar growing pains. We can help you stay on top of your financials, as well as give you advice on best practices to help keep your company profitable.
Contact us today and let’s talk about how to keep your business running smoothly!