Whether you’re the entrepreneur of your own small business, or the hired manager of an existing one, keeping a small business afloat and running it successfully is easier said than done. Hard work and diligence are among the many necessary ingredients for success, and many business owners get overwhelmed by the amount of hours that they have to put in because they can’t afford to hire help when they need it. Learning to manage your small business successfully will not only ensure its success, but help you keep hold of your sanity as well.

Know everything about your customers

Take time to explore as many sources of information about your business and customers as you can. Meet them, find out what they respond to and what they don’t. If your business is online, think about contracting a UX (user experience) Manager to Customer needsassess your site’s strengths and weaknesses and how you can improve your CTAs (calls to action) and conversion rate. If your business sells in a retail environment, such as a store, market, or trade fair, gather research through questionnaires and simple interaction with your buyers. Knowing what you’re doing right – and wrong – is fundamental in improving your product or service offering.

Be proactive

Now that you have the information at your fingertips, you’ll need to know how to use it. Try out different wording on your website, change the color scheme, or create contact forms that are easier to fill in. Experiment with your social media marketing and post your promotion messages at different times of day, when your customers are more likely to see them. If you know that many customers want your product to have certain different features, work on ways of trying to add them. Many business owners fail as they gather this important information and then do nothing with it; the whole point is to provide a service or product that appeals to your customers, not one that will lose out to the competition.

Be on the lookout for challenges and threats

Speaking of competition, every business has its own fair share of challenges and threats. As a business owner, you should be aware of them, and even more importantly, arm yourself with ways to beat the competition. Try implementing a macro PEST analysis of your business environment (political, economic, social, technological) and write down all the factors that could affect you; this could be a change in legislation, global economic downturn, a flux in customer requirements, or new technology demands – whatever your business faces, knowing your enemy is half the battle. Next you should look internally with a SWOT analysis, to assess your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Analyze the competition and check your data to see where you’re going and how you can improve.

Boost your finances

Many businesses starting out need an injection of cash to get going, or to launch new projects and plans. Once you are aware of all the possible outcomes and are certain that you can compete, you could consider applying for a business cash advance to get your idea up and running and allow you to repay payments easily and overtime, while your business turns over more profit.

Analyse and evaluate your efforts

Finally, make sure that you test and analyze everything that you implement, and if you’re curious about the requirements your company needs to qualify for a loan you can take a quick pre-quality test and keep it among your plans. At the end of the day, the only way your business can be successful is by responding to your customers and keeping up with changing market demands; learn how to do that and the rest will follow.

Michael Peggs is the founder of digital marketing agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.

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