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2020 Year End Pointers for Entrepreneurs

Advisory Date: 
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Advisory Number: 
20-1203KY
Contact: 
michael.ashcraft@sba.gov

By Robert Coffey, SBA Kentucky District Director

Entrepreneurs are facing a year like no other. The year 2020 has brought some challenges as well as many opportunities for small businesses in Kentucky.  We have some suggestions to share to help you face your challenges and make the most of your most profitable time of year, especially with the ongoing global pandemic. Many locally owned small retailers earn 25% or more of their total annual sales during the holiday shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas and we want to provide guidance to keep the sales right on track. The business decisions made right now can have direct impacts on cash flow for the coming year.  

Small retailers often don’t have the sales volume or financial resources to compete with the huge discounts offered by big national chains. Small business profit margins tend to be thinner than the big players, giving them less wiggle room on discounts.  This is just one of many challenges small businesses face. Below are some tips to consider for your small business for this holiday season.

Tips to Consider for Your Small Busines:

  1. Make it Personal. Add a personal touch to your marketing strategies. Although, we may see less of people in person, everyone’s virtual presence is stronger than ever. Reach your customers with video messages from the staff and utilize social media to highlight your business and the team behind it. Offer video chats with clients who may have issues or questions regarding your products and services. However, you are reaching your clientele, the personal, human touch is the way to go.
  2. Think Global. Nearly 60% of the entire world population on the Internet, and most users are located outside the United States. This provides an opportunity in our new, virtual world to expand your customer base. SBA has many resources to assist you in reaching global customers. SBA’s Office of International Trade has no-cost options available for you to start your overseas journey such as counseling, loan programs, knowledge of international opportunities. To learn more, please contact the SBA Office of International Trade. And you can read about their tips to sell overseas here.
  3. Collect Money Due. Cash flow is the life blood of small business. As we are aware, cash flow has changed since the start of the pandemic for many.  Cash flow allows a business to keep staff, make payroll, pay suppliers, and keep its doors open. A sure way for entrepreneurs to maximize their cash flow is by collecting accounts receivable in a timely manner; not keeping too much cash tied up in unnecessary inventory; and eliminating unprofitable account relationships. This is a time to review your cash flow.
  4. Be Creative. Stand Out. Typically, entrepreneurs have one up on their corporate competitors by providing outstanding and individualized customer service.   The pandemic has obviously made this a challenge for many. Small retailers may transition what is not possible in today’s climate with what will make them stand out. Entrepreneurs may sell creative and innovative products that cannot be found on their corporate competitor’s website. Create a unique customer experience that will draw shoppers to discover your creative, innovative, unique product or service that you cannot find elsewhere. Be different.

For more information on ways the SBA can assist your small business this holiday season, visit www.sba.gov.  For assistance on any of the tips above, SBA may assist or any of our resource partners- at no cost. Please also visit with a professional (virtually) at your local Small Business Development Center, SCORE, Women’s Business Center or Veteran’s Business Outreach Center.

Robert Coffey serves as the SBA’s District Director and is based in Louisville, Kentucky.  He oversees the agency’s programs and services in the state of Kentucky.