Top Six Small Business Problems

Small Business Problems & How to Solve Them | Riviera FinanceOwning a small business can be rewarding and profitable. At the same time, there are quite a few small business challenges that must be faced. In most cases, small business problems can be overcome with the right approach. It’s necessary, however, to understand these issues and take the time to address them. Let’s look at the top small business issues and problems that must be faced.

  1. Targeting the Right Customers

When you invest your time and money into marketing and advertising, it’s crucial to target the right audience. Research the demographics of your market to identify the people who are most likely to need what you’re offering. Performing analytics on your sales and website traffic helps you identify the best customers so you can concentrate future efforts in their direction.

  1. Avoiding Burnout

People often start small businesses because they want to be independent and create their own schedules. What often happens, however, is that you end up working longer hours and handling more tasks than you ever anticipated. That’s why exhaustion and burnout are among the most common small business problems. It’s important to develop solid time management skills and not try to do everything at once. You can also consider delegating and outsourcing certain tasks to free up more of your time.

  1. Managing Your Expenses

Another of the most common small business challenges is managing your overhead and expenses. When you have cash on hand, it’s tempting to spend it on new equipment, hiring more employees, buying more inventory or perhaps expanding your work space. Before spending money on your business, however, it’s important to keep a level head and ask yourself if the expenditure is justified. Remember that businesses typically have ups and downs. Being frugal when business is good helps you survive the slower periods.

  1. Keeping Your Employees Happy

To run a successful business, you need employees who are not only skilled at performing their jobs but also highly motivated. It’s essential to create an environment where people feel comfortable and appreciated. Many businesses today offer flexible working conditions to make life more convenient for employees. It’s also helpful to consistently get feedback from employees understand their needs and preferences.

  1. Keeping Up With the Latest Changes

No matter what industry or niche you’re in, chances are that it’s rapidly changing and evolving. Customer tastes change, new products and technologies emerge. If you don’t stay current, you lag behind your competitors. To prevent this from happening, subscribe to some leading blogs and social media accounts in your industry. Attend conferences and seminars when you can. Additionally, watch your competitors and see what they’re doing and selling.

  1. Maintaining Healthy Cash Flow

Without a steady cash flow, it’s impossible to remain in business for long. That’s why cash flow is one of the most crucial small business issues of all. Make sure you keep track of the inflow and outflow of money in your business, and provide ample reserves for late invoice payments, spikes in demand, and all sorts of other uncertainties. Send out reminders to customers who don’t pay on time. One effective way to manage cash flow is to set up an invoice factoring account with Riviera Finance, so you can give your customers the credit they demand while still having cash flow available when you need it.

How to Manage Accounts Payable in Your Business

How to Manage Accounts Payable | Riviera FinanceUnderstanding the impact of accounts payable on your business is crucial to managing your expenses and maintaining good cash flow. Accounts payable or A/P refers to any bill or expense that your business owes, such as bills for inventory, office rent, equipment, travel expenses, and any other expenses that apply to your business. Here are some of the most important considerations to help you manage accounts payable in your small business.

Carefully Track Your Accounts Payable

It’s essential to carefully track the expenses your business accrues. Using reliable accounting software helps you do this more efficiently. Make sure that every detail about transactions, such as billing and payment dates, is entered correctly. One way to make it easier to manage accounts payable is to track your expenses on a weekly  basis rather than a monthly basis. If you don’t have a bookkeeper or accountant on staff, at some point you may want to consider hiring one to make accounts payable management more efficient.

Create an Efficient System for Managing A/P

To track A/P with precision and accuracy, make sure you have a consistent and efficient process in place. Enter each invoice individually to make them easier to track. Working from the original invoice is always best. If you receive the invoice digitally, print it out and file it so you have both a physical and electronic copy. You always want to be able to produce an invoice in case there’s ever a dispute. Make sure you or the person entering invoices uses the same system each time. It’s also best if the person responsible for approving invoices in your company isn’t the one who enters it into your system.

Save Money on A/P by Paying Early

You can often save money on A/P by developing solid relationships with creditors. In some cases, you can get a discount by paying your invoices early. It’s easier to do this when you track A/P weekly. However, even if you do it monthly you can separate the invoices that provide discounts for paying early from the others. Look for vendors that offer this benefit. You can also ask them for an early payment discount. Even if the discounts are small, they add up at the end of the year.

Improve Your Cash Flow

Efficient accounts payable management is really about keeping track of your cash flow. It’s always important to make sure you have a good supply of money coming in to balance A/P. Many businesses run into problems in this area because they don’t track their expenses carefully enough. By analyzing your A/P you may find that you can eliminate certain unnecessary or excessive expenses.

Riviera Finance offers supplier assurance letters, which are effective tools for managing accounts payable and building credit with suppliers. Used in conjunction with invoice factoring, supplier assurance letters can free up cash flow and turn opportunities into real business growth.

How to Be More Productive at Work

Increase Productivity at Work | Riviera FinanceWhile everybody has the same amount of time, not everyone uses their time the same way. The way you use your time determines how much you get accomplished every day. If you’re wondering how to be productive and waste less time, you have to be willing to make certain changes in your daily routine. Let’s look at some ways to increase productivity so you get more accomplished.

Identify Your Priorities

You can’t do everything in a single day so it’s necessary to decide what you want to focus on. Whether you use a traditional to-do list, an app or sift through your priorities in your mind, get clear about what you want to get done today. The best time to plan your day is the night before. This way, when you start work the next morning, there won’t be any doubt about what you want to do. Stick to your goals.

Start the Day with the Most Important Task

Whether you’re trying to be productive at work or at home, one of the best techniques is to begin with the most pressing task of the day. This gets you off to a strong start and prevents you from getting diverted. It’s always a good feeling to check off the most daunting task on your to-do list by mid-morning or lunchtime. Aside from the psychological benefits, many people actually find it easier to get things done in the morning. Just as your motivation for exercise tends to lessen as the day wears on, so it’s harder to be productive at work.

Be Willing to Say No

If you really want to increase productivity, you have to be able to say no to people. Agreeing to everything is a sure recipe for feeling overwhelmed and losing track of your priorities. Keep in mind that whenever you agree to take on a new project, something else is automatically relegated to the back burner. Think before you agree to something and ask yourself if you’re willing to make this new project a priority. If not, politely explain that you simply couldn’t give it your best effort right now.

Avoid Multitasking

While doing several tasks at once may seem like a good strategy, it actually makes you less productive. When you multitask, you tend to make more mistakes and forget crucial points. It’s much better to give your complete attention to the task at hand, finish it and then start something new. Of course, in practice it’s difficult to completely avoid multitasking. You can, however, keep it to a minimum.

Set the Ideal Environment

The right setting helps you concentrate. This includes the kind of chair you sit in, your view and the noise levels in the room. Some people prefer complete silence. Others prefer classical music, rock or atmospheric sounds. Find out what makes you most productive and set up your work area accordingly.

Find the Best Way to Brainstorm

When you’re writing your do-to list or trying to come up with creative ideas, use the method that works best for you. Don’t underestimate the value of writing things down on paper. One benefit of this is that you avoid the distractions of electronic devices. Another method that works well for some people is speaking into a microphone and transcribing the words later.

Find the Right Tools

In an age when everyone want to know how to be productive, it’s not surprising that there are so many tools and apps created for this purpose. Here are a few examples of tools that can help you increase productivity.

  • Sanebox – a program that helps you reduce distractions in your email, ensuring you only get the most important messages in your inbox. Other messages are sent to another folder where you can read or discard them later.
  • Rescue Time – One of the best time management tools that tracks everything you do on your device and sends you a report.
  • Unroll Me – This is a great tool for anyone who subscribes to multiple email lists. With this program, you can view all of your subscriptions in a single email and browse them in one session. This makes it easy to ignore messages that don’t interest you and unsubscribe from lists you’re not interested in.

Outsource Your Accounts Receivable Management

With all the demands of growing your business, managing cash flow, credit and receivables can be a challenge.  Contact Riviera Finance today and find out how we can customize a factoring solution for you.

Top Small Business Websites & Blogs to Follow

Top Small Business Resources - Websites & Blogs | Riviera FinanceIf you’re seeking helpful information on the best small business practices, obtaining capital for startups and similar topics, there are lots of great blogs worth following. The small business online resource you need is never more than a few clicks away. The best blogs to consult really depend on your needs, but here are a few small business blogs that can give you valuable tips and resources.

Best Website for Entrepreneurs and Startups

When you have your own business or you have plans to start one, you need access to all kinds of information. Small business owners, in particular, must wear many hats and acquire a wide range of skills, from raising funds to copywriting to understanding legal issues. If you’re a solo entrepreneur or a business owner with only a few employees, you can’t afford to hire a specialist for each task. That’s why the most successful small business owners often end up possessing a wide range of skills. They didn’t always start out that way, though.

A good place to start for these type of small business resources is Forbes 100 Best Websites For Entrepreneurs. These sites are worth researching if you want to learn all of the ins and outs of building a business from the ground up.

Here are just a few of the small business blogs that are recommended on this list:

Best Blogs for Small Businesses

Another useful list of small business resources is Best Small Business Blogs For 2017. These blogs include some topics for specialized areas such as startups, retail businesses and franchises. There’s also a good one on copywriting, which is extremely important for promoting your business. Noobpreneur is great for anyone who’s just starting out on the entrepreneur journey.

More Small Business Online Resources

Here are a few additional small business resources worth exploring:

Small Business Administration – The SBA is one of the best places to go for information on financing your business, abiding by the laws and regulations, finding a counselor to advise you, deciding the best type of business to start and much more.

Small Businesses – This is another great site with all kinds of information for small businesses. Topics covered include business management, finding capital, small business loans, finding the best healthcare plans for employees, buying an existing business and obtaining the appropriate licenses and business permits.

America’s SBDC – This is the website for the national network of Small Business Development Centers. These centers, run through a cooperative effort of the SBA, state economic development agencies, colleges and universities, provide free and low-cost training for business owners. One of the benefits of the SBDC is that, in addition to online resources, you can find out about free face-to-face training in many areas.

Last but not least, remember Riviera Finance for your working capital needs.  We’re here to help you with cash flow, credit services, and accounts receivable management.  We can customize a factoring option to meet your unique requirements – contact us today to get started.

Top 7 Tips to Get Positive Online Reviews

How to Get Positive Online Reviews | Riviera FinanceGetting positive online reviews is now one of the most crucial factors for growing your business and establishing trust with your customers. Let’s look at the top 7 ways to get more positive reviews for your business.

Track Reviews

It’s essential to know when people post reviews for your business. Monitor any sites where you’re listed, such as Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Yahoo, etc. Set up Google Alerts for your business name as well. This gives you a chance to address any negative reviews and, hopefully, resolve problems with customers.

Provide Complete and Accurate Information

Make sure your listings for Google My Business and other reviews sites are thorough and include essential information such as your address, phone number and hours of business. Also, be sure to provide a good description of your business to help customers find you in the search engines.

Use Quality Images

Professional looking photos are one of the best ways to highlight your listings on review sites. Images make your business stand out and get noticed. Photos of yourself, employees, your place of business and surroundings give people searching a clearer picture of what you have to offer.

Respond to All Customer Reviews

It’s a good policy to respond to all online reviews, both positive and negative. When someone praises you, always take the time to thank them. This isn’t only polite, it actually encourages others to leave positive reviews. You should also respond to negative reviews. Apologize for any mistakes you made and offer to remedy the situation. In some cases, this is enough to get people to remove or change the review.

Ask Your Customers For Reviews

Let your customers know that reviews are important to you. You might send out follow-up emails asking them to leave a review. There is now software that automatically asks customers to leave feedback. For satisfied customers, you can then follow up with a request for a review. Make it easy for them by having a button to click on that links to the review site. For physical businesses, your sales people or receptionist can also verbally suggest to customers on the way out to leave a review.

Only Use Ethical and Accepted Methods to Get Reviews

Avoid practices that violate the TOS of review sites and could get your business de-listed. While it’s fine to request reviews, never specify that people should leave a positive review. Don’t try to incentivize reviews, such as by offering a prize or discount. Another practice that crosses the line is asking for reviews right at your place of business. This violates the rules of certain review sites, including Google.

Don’t Get Into Public Debates With Customers

Getting angry or defensive online seldom works out well for businesses. Try to resolve problems, such as by offering a refund or exchange. If this isn’t possible, it’s best to just stop communicating. Getting into a nasty public conflict usually makes matters worse. You can’t please everyone and a few bad customer reviews aren’t going to hurt you as long as you cultivate mostly positive ones.

If your business is growing and you’re looking for some capital to help you manage your growth, contact Riviera Finance.