The High Cost of Burnout and How Companies Can Avoid It

Working in a highly competitive space can push your employees to the limit. Part of our job as business owners is to identify the root cause of employee burnout and prevent setbacks that can affect productivity in the workplace.

Worse than Stress

Burnout is when your stress becomes unmanageable and like a computer short-circuiting,  your brain just stops functioning. In fact, some symptoms of burnout are strikingly similar to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to survey, burnout is affecting 95 percent of businesses and is attributed for nearly half of employee turnovers.

Loss of employee due to burnout can have enormous financial consequences. The average cost of finding a replacement is more or less half of the employee’s annual salary. Hiring a bad fit will cost the company twice as much. If left unfilled, it can result in a domino effect due to increased workload and more workers suffering from it.

How It All Starts

Burnout usually starts when employees fail to meet their goals, company standards, and expectations, which in turn forces them to work longer hours. Ironically, the more effort they put into it, the less work they’re able to do. Not having enough rest greatly affects their ability to concentrate, which makes them prone to commit errors and make poor decisions. This results in further loss of productivity.

Anger, frustration, and panic attacks sets in. Performance deteriorate despite working longer hours. They’re caught in a vicious cycle they can’t escape from. They start dreading the prospect of yet another tiresome and unrewarding day at work. It’s only a matter of time before they reach the breaking point – a full-on employee burnout.

Recovering from burnout can take weeks, months, or even a year. Burnout doesn’t go away on its own and might need appropriate medical intervention.

Stopping Burnout on its Tracks

As an employer, you need to check on your staff for stress, ensuring you apply enough pressure to get things done, but not too much that it affects business and your employees’ health. It’s a fine balancing act that can be difficult to gauge at times.

Let’s look at the major causes of employee burnout, and then come up with proactive solutions and strategies to keep them motivated.

Job mismatch. Employees are at risk of burnout when there’s a disconnect between their work experiences, qualifications and their occupation. Some factors include high unemployment rate and stiff competition in the job market. Job seekers are often left with no better option but to settle for low-paying jobs despite being overqualified, or take jobs which don’t fit with their own personality, educational background and work experience. Consider each hire as an investment where you acquire new assets to help grow your business. Spend some time identifying roles your company needs and creating job descriptions that match their work experiences and qualifications when looking for new hires.

Insufficient time and resource. Employees will experience burnout if they are given tasks without the wherewithal to accomplish them. Time is one of the overlooked factors when assigning tasks. Some employers give additional tasks but failed to consider the time element necessary to accomplish them. Each additional task will eat up some of the time intended for work and puts them at risk of falling behind schedule. Employers need to free up some of their time by investing in technology and innovation to help accomplish their tasks much faster, or, they can hire additional personnel. For growing businesses, this is more of a necessity than an option. Investing and communicating with new hires is far better than having to look for replacements to your employees who left their jobs due to burnout.

Inability to adjust to new circumstances. Changing times means your employees must be capable of adapting to modern ways of accomplishing their tasks and acquire 21st century skills. Training and seminars for employees can help attune your business to the recent changes in the industry, particularly with the use of modern technology. Some employees are reluctant to change and find it difficult to adjust to these new circumstances. As an employer, we might be faced with a hard decision of letting them go, or having other co-workers pick up their slack. This brings up the idea of hiring the best people for the job. Flexibility and willingness to adapt should be among the list of characteristics to look for when looking for new hires as they are more resilient to stress and are less likely to suffer burnout.

Lack of time management and work-life balance. One of the most obvious reason for burnout is overwork. The best solution has always been to manage their time well. Time management is one of the skill sets your employees should have to function optimally. Workers who constantly fall behind schedule could be in need of some help on managing their own time. It might be caused by several factors such as work overload, distractions from work, or difficulties adapting to new technology. Addressing these problems may help your employees to stay on task and be able to separate work from leisure.

Job Environment. Sometimes biggest cause of employee burnout isn’t the job or the the boss, but co-workers. If you don’t get along with the people in your office then it can be very difficult. It can be a personality clash, a lack of defined work rolls, a power struggle, or any number of issues.


Often stress leading to employee burnout can be fixed by having open communication with your employees and a willingness to problem solve. Taking time to understand them and where they’re coming from will allow your employees feel better while lowering their stress level.

Automating your day to day tasks can make work a lot easier for your employees and decrease workload and overall stress. Having the right knowledge and skills on the use of modern business applications such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is your first line of defence against employee burnout in a fast-paced environment.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

How Cash Flow Can Make or Break Your Business

Managing cash flow is one of the critical aspects of business success and survival. As much as 82% of businesses crash and burn because of poor cash flow management. The smaller the business, the more crucial and challenging it is to maintain a steady income and pay the bills on time.

But what exactly is cash flow, and why is there so much talk about cash flow management when it comes to business? Let’s go through some basic concepts, understand how it affects our businesses, and find out solutions to improve cash flow.

Understanding Cash Flow

Cash flow is the movement of cash into or out of an account. This is known as the inflow or outflow of cash in a business organization. When more money is coming in through the sale of goods or services than the actual cost of running a business, it is said to be cash flow positive; cash flow negative if it’s the other way around.

Businesses will experience cash flow positives and negatives throughout their lifetime. Start-ups are the most difficult to manage for having low cash reserves and susceptibility to undercapitalization. However, they’ll have better opportunities to accelerate their business through loans, stocks, or bonds after demonstrating their ability to handle cash flow properly (known as cash flow statement).

Operational cash flow is the movement of cash during its regular business activities, e.g. receiving payments from customers, settling monthly dues, and paying out employees. Investment cash flow applies when a business acquires properties to further its goals. For instance, acquiring a vehicle through a financial institution can help boost inflow by speeding up delivery and reducing logistical cost.

Difference between Profit and Cash Flow

Some financial experts use the metaphor of looking at a still photo and watching videos clip to differentiate profit and cash flow. Profit is usually regarded as stationary data, which is determined by comparing the opening and closing balance of a company’s primary account or by its total net worth by the end of the year.

Cash flow provides a better picture of how businesses performed over the course of time. It tells us where the money is coming from, where it’s going to, and most importantly how fast. Without cash flowing in and out of the business, the whole system will come to a grinding halt. All gains in the form of assets, products, or inventories are of little consequence at this point. Having no cash to work with, businesses are on the verge of bankruptcy.

In other words, a company can increase its net worth but may actually lose the business if it doesn’t generate inflow through sales, and utilize these resources to pay the right people working for the company and acquire the best technology to improve business.

How Cash Flow Affects Your Business

Managing cash flow can be a tough balancing act for small business owners. Increasing inflow and keeping outflow at a minimum on a shoestring budget is especially challenging for small business owners.

Consider the following aspects of cash flow management:

Cost of running a business. The initial cost of starting a business is just a tiny part compared to the actual cost of running it. People can get this information through research and interviews with successful business owners. Operational costs make up the outflow including lease, water and electricity bills, fuel and maintenance, inventories, employees’ salaries and commissions, monthly amortizations, taxes, insurance, contingencies, penalties, and surcharges (if you’re not careful), and the list goes on. Expenses are either fixed or fluctuating. Some experts suggest putting a little extra and exaggerate the cost at the planning stage. The purpose is not to deter you from starting your own business, but to prepare yourself mentally and financially for eventualities. Running out of cash and borrowing only when you needed one sets you up for business failure.

Real and potential income. How much money can you realistically make with your business? Some businesses, especially new ones, can be overly optimistic and assume they can strike it rich too quickly. We need to consider other factors as well, such as the competition, supply and demand, sustainability, market value, what the trends are and where they’re headed for, and so on. Unlike the previous one, we need to be a little conservative on this. We cannot expect our chosen industry to follow the same trend all throughout the year. Our businesses should be flexible enough to adapt to changes. If the demand for a certain product or service drops, what are your other options? Do you have a method in place that allows you to get more customers and build relationships with them? The key is to maintain a specific number of customers to keep the ball rolling in order to stay in business.

Method of payment. Your business may receive payments either on a cash basis or receivables on a weekly or monthly basis – or you may have both. Cash-based transactions allow businesses to have a steady inflow of cash, whereas receivables carry some risks due to some customers not settling their dues or paying too late, costing a lot of money to your company. You can mitigate the risk by imposing penalties for late payment or encouraging them to pay early by offering rebates and discounts for settling their dues early on. Just keep in mind that any delay with the cash will cost you money. If your business needs to pay out employees on the 25th of the month and you still have a lot of receivables unpaid, you might have to borrow on interest just to get your employee’s paid (this justifies why you need to penalize late payments).


Steps to Improve Cash Flow

With these in mind, let’s look at some of the ways to improve cash flow in your business.

  1. Forecast your cash flow. From your research and interviews with business owners create a chart of your projected inflows and outflows for the whole year. Make sure to include all the small details and make it as comprehensive as possible. Use this to benchmark your progress when conducting your business.
  2. Identify your key performance indicators (KPI). This answers the question where most of your resources should go to keep your business running. Some businesses failed just because they didn’t use their resources on things that would help improve its overall performance. For instance, not having enough inventories to cater a large number of customers or not investing in technology or equipment to speed up delivery and enhance customer experience will have consequences in your cash inflow.
  3. Manage your inventories. Too much, or too little, can make your business cash flow negative over time. You need to be able to predict customer orders to keep a steady flow of cash going into your business, but at the same time, we want to avoid excess or unwanted inventories sitting on the shelf for too long.
  4. Faster inflow, slower outflow. Perhaps the most important principle when it comes to cash flow management is speeding up the inflow of cash and slowing down the outflow. To increase inflow, obviously you need more customers. But more importantly, you need to develop good customer relationships, and have a loyal customer base to keep the money flowing in. Customer referrals from loyal customers could increase the inflow even more, which is why we put a strong emphasis on customer relationships with our Small Business Dream mini-CRM. To minimize outflow, you’ll just have to keep the money in your primary account for as long as you can. If you have to invest in technology, property, or equipment, acquire them through a financial institution instead of paying out in cash. The longer the amortization period, the smaller your monthly dues are, and the bigger your potential inflow will be.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

The Secret To Building Customer Relationships

Most successful businesses are built on customer relationships. Richard Branson built many successful businesses in many different industries but there was one common denominator across the board — his level of customer service was always topnotch.

Building relationships with potential clients and customers takes time and effort. You must have the right tools to get through the whole process more efficiently.

We’ll examine some of the best practices in building good customer relationships and how small businesses can implement a simple CRM app to accomplish that goal.

Manage Customer Data

Data management is the foundation for establishing good customer relationships. Customer information is the ‘missing link’ that connects businesses with potential clients and customers. It’s the secret to staying relevant with them despite the changing trends over a long period of time.

Many businesses have invested a lot of time and money in business applications to manage customer data. Fortunately, we can accomplish the same for just a fraction of the cost. For a typical small business with a limited start-up cost, this seems to be the best, if not the only option.

Small Business Dream’s mini-CRM allows small business owners to collect and control customer information very efficiently for less than a dollar a day. It specializes on the essential features of customer acquisition and simplifies them for the average person, as well as a follow-up system that constantly updates salespeople when a scheduled call, text, or social media message is up.

Additional features include Categories which enables business owners to segment their contacts making each survey, email campaign, and newsletter subscription very specific to different types of contacts.

Personalize Your Message

Customers still want the personal touch. Hence, we need to go beyond the usual ‘name, number, and address’, and learn about their ‘soft spots’ and circumstances that surround each purchase, customer query, or complaint.  We need to know what makes them feel good because after all, customers make buying decisions based on how they feel.

To add a personal touch, we need to keep track of every customer engagement. Small Business Dream creates a system that treats every customer as a unique individual. Even as simple as having a Notes section to put down important details from a telephone call, text or email can go a long way in determining what makes our customers tick.

Once you have this information, you can easily personalize your emails from your list of pre-written messages without having to start from scratch. Just a simple mention about their hobbies, pastimes, recent activities, or even little things they cherish will endear your company to your customers. It makes them feel respected and cared for as opposed to just being a number or a tiny dot on the chart.

Personalizing your message also applies to social media. Although secondary to email in terms of communicating with potential clients and customers, we cannot ignore the fact that social media is very much a part of people’s lives. However, we need to cut through the noise by personalizing our messages and let them know we didn’t just hit the ‘auto-reply’.

If they ended up on your Social Connect, which is a part of the Small Business Dream contact management tool, you need sift through the list and connect (‘follow’ or ‘like’) to each one who has a genuine interest in your business. Comment on things they’re currently into and have your pre-written messages below them.

Even a little extra step of personalizing your email and social media messages can make a big difference in establishing relationships with potential clients and customers.

Provide Real-time Customer Support

Real-time customer support is almost non-existent in most big companies. Part of the reason is that these companies have already grown their customer base to a point where it becomes too much to handle. As a result, many customers feel they’re given less priority and they would start looking for other businesses who might have a respect for them as a customer.

Companies who are able to respond as quickly as possible to queries and complaints are highly regarded by customers.  They might not have the best products and services, but the fact that they cared a lot about them makes them want to do business. The saying, “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,” applies in businesses as well.

Small Business Dream has figured out a way to achieve real-time customer support with its Action List that updates salespersons and business owners if a new customer comes in through the Sales Funnel, or if an existing customer has just responded to a customer survey they have given out. They’ll find their way on top of the Action List, so sales people can link up with them right then and there.

Follow up Consistently

Following up with customers allows your business to accomplish two things. Aside from building trust and confidence with your customers, it’s also helps with customer feedback which is a valuable tool in improving products, services, and customer experience.

There are two approaches Small Business Dream can be used to follow up with potential clients and customers: newsletter subscriptions and customer surveys.

Monthly newsletters provide additional information about the service or product they just bought. For instance, you want your customers to maintain their hair’s luster and shine after a keratin treatment. You can invite them to your monthly newsletter about hair care and let them answer a few survey questions.

Follow-ups can also turn into cross-selling and upselling opportunities since some of your product or service can be tied to another one they just had.

After having their cars thoroughly cleaned and polished in your carwash, have them fill up a short survey form asking them about a few contact details, and if they want to be in your mailing list and avail of free car care tips, discounts, and free offers. For instance, you can inform your customers about the negative effects of using detergents on their car’s polish and why they should be using your car care products instead.

Small Business Dream’s Email Auto-responders and Survey Engine allow you to accomplish both with less effort. If you have prospects or customers that need to be followed up by phone, email or social media message, their names will show up on the Action List on that particular day. This makes sure you never miss on any of your potential clients and customers.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

Improving Customer Acquisition with CRM

The biggest challenge facing small businesses is how they can get more customers and maximize their return on investments.

Fortunately, we can easily find ways to improve customer acquisition without having to spend a lot of money on traditional outbound marketing strategies. It only takes a little bit of creativity and trying out new ideas.

There are two main ways – offline and online. We will talk about both ways here.

Promote Your Business Offline

Everybody is online so why not try the personal touch. A lot of customers still like and require the personal touch.

Some offline customer engagements are as effective as a marketing strategy today as it was 100 years ago when the majority of businesses didn’t have a website. These include:

  • going to networking events
  • taking your business outdoors
  • sponsorship & giveaways

Meeting up with people in a friendly, non-selling environment like networking events increases your exposure without spending too much on paid ads. However, to be successful, you have to present your business in light of the customer’s needs, pain points and how your products and services can provide a solution to these problems.

The idea is to go and help people, and to show how your company can create value for them. It may not always lead to an immediate sale, but it can help grow your network and develop good relationships with potential buyers and customers.

Whenever possible, bring along something that reminds them about your business. It could be your business card, key holder, bunker ring, or any small gizmos you can carry along. I always carry bunker rings with me to networking events. Why? Because my potential customers will stick my bunker rings on their phones and every time they glance at their device, it will remind them of me.

Another way  to help you with customer acquisition is to take your business outdoors by having your own space during special occasions or community events where people can find your company, products, or services. Talk with the organizers and make some arrangements to have your own booth set up.

Event organizers might also look for sponsors to reduce the overall cost of running the event. You can take this opportunity to have your company name or logo displayed in conspicuous areas for a few hundred dollars’ worth of donation.

Once you have talked to them and exchanged business cards, then it’s a good idea to put them into an online follow-up series so they don’t forget about you.

If you want them to get to your sales funnel, you can use Small Business Dream’s Customer Acquisition tools and have your landing page address or QR code printed on your Sales Funnel Card.

Most importantly, always make an effort to follow up with them as soon as you can.

Take Your Business Online

Promoting your business online is a sure way to improve customer acquisition using cost-effective marketing tools over the Internet. However, it’s tough to get noticed. Some of the best ways to increase customer awareness about your business include having a blog or website, a social media account, and a sales funnel.

Your blog or website can serve many uses for your business. It helps educate people about the benefits of using your product or service, provide useful information about the subject they’re looking on, and can be used for earning residual income through affiliate links, Google AdSense, etc. But most importantly, it helps maintain people’s interest and lead them closer to your goal – to get more customers.

Social media can also be used in customer acquisition, but because marketers have been using social media the wrong way, business owners have started to lose interest in it. They don’t have a system to follow up with fans and followers in a realistic way. Most of them aren’t even real, so business owners end up using auto-responders (‘robot secretaries’) the whole time. Most businesses don’t think strategically when it comes to social media but use a shotgun blast approach, hoping to catch somebody or something.

Small Business Dream is an inexpensive tool that helps business owners manage their social media contacts more efficiently with their Social Connect, and the Social Series in the Action List. Social Connect gives them the option to curate and import fans and followers to their contact list.

Since we don’t want our customer database to be stuffed with unwanted (fake, pseudonymous, or artificial) contacts, we need to screen them out of the social contact list, and leave the ones who show genuine interest to learn more about the company. This would allow sales people to work on the Action List’s Social Series more efficiently and get real results from using social media to get more customers online.

Sales funnel is a very useful tool in customer acquisition when used with offline and other online methods. With Small Business Dream, business owners can easily create their own sales funnel like a pro without having to learn HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, and use the link for their Social Series and opt-in subscriptions online. They can also use the link offline through Sales Funnel Cards, tent cards, signboards, or directly through an iPad or tablet set up to the sales funnel in-store.

Build a Customer Base to Promote Your Business

Your first customers constitute the core of your business from which you can grow more customers. Coming up with a loyalty program, customer specials, customer referrals, offering discounts, and commissions, can help accelerate your business.

Although it might cost you a little bit of profit, you’ll have greater gains in the long run as your business gains momentum. Looking at it from an angle, think of it as being a part of your marketing expenses. But instead of them going to paid advertisements, they go directly to your customers who will benefit from them. The result is a happy customer base who will talk about their experience with your company to other people, and your business becoming an instant success.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

How Smart Companies Use Small Business Dream Data to Predict Customer Orders

Being able to predict customer orders based on real-time information is one of the keys to your sales success in today’s competitive market.

Today, almost every company has developed its own way of establishing meaningful customer relationships, including loyalty programs, customer referrals, or even network marketing to some extent.

We’ll take a look into customer relationship management (CRM),  particularly Small Business Dream, and how it helps smart companies to predict customer orders and stay ahead of the competition.

Getting Down to the Facts about Your Customers

Collecting important information about your customers is the starting point in developing a strategy to determine what your customers would be interested in.

Small Business Dream’s client acquisition tools provide companies with a very efficient way to collect customer information from high-quality leads.

Small Business Dream accomplishes the task in two ways:

  • card scan function
  • sales funnel

To get only the best, high-quality leads, we need our client acquisition tools to target specific type of customers based on their needs and interest.

A walk-in customer who gives away his business card or contact information is  interested to know more about the company and what it has to offer.  It’s the same thing with online visitors and customers signing up to the mailing list on a website’s sales funnel.

As more information about your customers becomes available for the company using Small Business Dream’s follow up and customer feedback tools, you can start analyzing the data, connect the dots, and predict customer orders.

The following information from Small Business Dream’s customer data is crucial for anticipating customers’ response and buying habits:

  • Time/Date. What particular time of the month or year do they usually make these transactions? What particular time of the day or week do they prefer scheduling their appointments? This information will help you when preparing your next inventory or accommodating old and new customers days or weeks ahead.
  • Frequency. How often do they make their purchase or avail of theservice? Do they take action to your drip campaigns and surveys often or does it take them weeks or months? Noting this customer habit will help you determine the likelihood of having repeat customers or converting new ones.
  • Customer response. Your customers may not always give a direct response whether or not they are likely to buy the same product or use the same service, and some might respond better with more subtle ways like asking them if they would recommend using your product or service to anyone or asking their own honest opinion about it.

Big companies use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to know exactly which products and services are frequently bought or used.

Small Business Dream allows tech-savvy users to accomplish the same with just a little trick using Excel spreadsheets. Customer information can be  easily downloaded in CSV file, and users will be able to process and analyze all the data presented in exquisite detail.

The big advantage of CRMs like Small Business Dream over ERPs is that it lets business owners and sales agents deal with every customer on a personal level, make their own assessment about the customer,  and set priorities based on how they respond to the call.

Small Business Dream uses a scale of 0-10 to indicate which customers need more attention and which ones require less. However, it’s important to never prejudge your prospects based on customer data alone as there are cases when low priority clients make major buying decisions out of the blue.

Enhance Customer Engagement with Small Business Dream

The ability to record conversations with your prospects and customers, make notes, set priorities, and schedule next upcoming events all in one place makes Small Business Dream extremely valuable for both online and offline businesses.

This CRM feature makes real-time customer engagement possible for tech-savvy companies, especially those with salespeople working in shifts who need to get the facts right about each individual customer on the spot.

Small Business Dream makes it all possible by allowing business owners to categorize each customer for an easy lookup if they want to check on a specific type of customer only.

For instance, they can view just the customers who have subscribed to any of their email drip campaigns and check on whether they wanted to know more or if an upcoming purchase is already in order.

Another feature which makes Small Business Dream such a jewel in predicting customer orders is its ability to create highly personalized surveys through the survey builder. You can embed a tracking code for Google Analytics into your surveys to monitor real-time statistics about your prospects and customers.

Although Google Survey offers the same functionality, they are not as flexible as Small Business Dream’s survey builder. Moreover, Google will also require some fees to access some of their premium features, and are limited as to the number of surveys that can be done each month using its free service.

Choosing the Right CRM to Predict Customer Orders

With plenty of CRMs to choose from on every turn, you might be thinking which one will actually help you to predict customer orders. Small Business Dream offers a helping hand to every business owners who want to grow their business FAST without spending a lot of money in the process.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.