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Losing money

5 Ways Small Businesses Unknowingly Lose Money

Lori Stafford Thomas

As a small-business owner, you understand the importance of maintaining a profitable bottom line. If you want to keep your doors open, you must maintain all aspects of your company. That means you'll likely have to wear a lot of hats and you're no stranger to hard work. But if you know which aspects of your business to keep a close eye on, you can save money.

Although small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, not every single one makes money. In fact, a recent SmallBizTrends infographic found that 30 percent of companies surveyed are continually losing money, while another 30 percent are only breaking even (1). As a merchant, you need to know how to maximize every penny.

Keeping that in mind, here are five ways your business is losing money that you may not even know about:

  1. Disorganized: Businesses today move fast. They need to be agile and flexible to meet fluid customer needs. If a company is not organized, it won't be able to move at the pace it needs to grow in today's market. Businesses need to be organized and have a strategy of where their business is going. If they don't, they are losing money.
     
  2. Outdated technology: If your business is using outdated technology, it’s very possible your bottom line could be hurting. Without cutting-edge systems, you may not be able to scale and meet customer demand. For example, an out-of-date point-of-sale system can be holding you back. The latest POS systems likely come equipped with software that allows your business to grow as demand increases.
     
  3. Not backing up software: It's important to keep a backup of all your software and important information because you may misplace it at some point. It could get deleted or overwritten during an upgrade or update. Losing any critical business information can be detrimental to your business. If you lose customer information or it is exposed, then you could be liable for any financial damages that are incurred. 
     
  4. Employee training and turnover: Not all small businesses are heavily staffed, but they can still save money by effectively training and reducing turnover. Effective training may cost money up front, but you should consider it an investment in the business. Employee turnover is costly. In fact, Human Capitalist found that employee turnover costs approximately three times that person's salary (2). It's very costly to have employees leaving all the time so consider making the investment in workplace education.
     
  5. Poor customer service: A recent industry infographic found that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. Another 13 percent of unhappy clients tell at least 20 people. The ripple-effect from a poor customer service experience will end up hurting your bottom line. It's critical for small businesses to focus on serving customer needs. Consider investing in POS software that will benefit the business and the customers you serve.

1. SmallBizTrends, http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/03/infographic-failed-small-businesses.html (Mar. 25, 2013)

2. Human Capitalist, http://humancapitalist.com/these-employee-turnover-stats-should-scare-you-to-death/ (Aug. 21, 2014)

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