Make sure a small business is headed in the right direction

Eventually, an entrepreneur will hit a wall with his or her business venture. This can come in a number of different forms – but overall, income trickles to a halt and new customers walk through the door with less frequency. 

A financial plan can account for this slowdown, but what can a manager do to get everything back on track? First of all, there might be some fundamental changes that need to happen before a company can grow again, and there are a few key metrics that warrant some extra attention.

How to tell marketing is working
If a small business appears to be struggling, it might have to do with marketing. Do people even know the company exists? If so, do they understand what products and services are available? If the answer is no to any one of these questions, then perhaps the problem lies with marketing.

A business owner might want to pay attention to website traffic in order to boost sales, according to Inc. magazine, and this number can be a good indicator of success. Financial services can help get the tools to improve a company website's visitor rate, and everyone should check this statistic often.

An underutilized metric is churn, Inc. magazine noted. Churn means the frequency that customers leave the business. Not the most pleasant data point, but it is a strong indicator of marketing's efficiency. Large changes to a company can increase or decrease churn, so management might want to track it to see what is affecting the consumer. A great advertisement might soften the blow from a price increase or a product shift.

Become community-oriented
A small business can drastically benefit from focusing on the community. This might instantly improve customer relations, and draw new people toward a venture, according to QuickSprout. 

For example, Ben and Jerry's is a powerhouse in the ice cream industry, and one path the founders took to gain success was "Free Cone Day." It was conceived as an all-around appreciation day, and people were introduced to the brand who might have never considered buying from Ben and Jerry's. 

A financial plan can receive a boost from a community-oriented business owner, the website stated. Chipotle owner Steve Ells gave away his food for free in the early stages, and he barely spends money on advertising. Instead, Ells relies on the fan following for the Mexican eatery to increase revenue. 

Finding ways to cut costs is crucial for a small business, but not when it comes to the customer. There are always alternative methods for growing a company, but without public relations and strong marketing tactics the enterprise will flounder. 

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