As a small business owner, your budget is everything. Even the slightest deviation can have a major impact on your other finances. So when you find yourself losing more money than you’re bringing in, it’s time to get down to business and figure out what’s wrong.

There are many reasons why you could be losing money and not all of them may be under your control such as changes the government trade policy. But it’s important to put a stop to the ones you do have control of.

Here are five reasons why your business could be losing profits and how you can stop it from happening before it’s too late.

  1. The business model is flawed. Your business model is the backbone of your company. If there’s a flaw in the model, it could cause your business to fail. It’s difficult to tell whether a business model is sound until you see it in action. But to keep your business from falling apart once you notice those problems, you need to take steps to fix them ASAP.
  2. You’re not targeting the right audience. This is a problem many businesses have, both big and small. Marketing campaigns that are too generalized and don’t advertise to the right people can keep your product from selling on the market. Rethink your marketing strategy so you’re investing in a developing, loyal group of customers. Have a brainstorming session dedicated to your target audience. What do they look like? What’s their age bracket? Do they have kids? These are the questions you need to ask yourself so you know how to market your product correctly to the people who will buy it.
  3. You’re not utilizing free marketing opportunities. When you’re trying to get the message of your brand out there, it’s easy to forget about the free marketing opportunities you have at your disposal. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr are great ways to market your business and interact with your target audience without draining your budget. Use your marketing budget only when necessary to boost brand visibility.
  4. You’re investing in the wrong property. You might have big dreams when it comes to your business. But it’s important that you’re not taking strides before you take your first steps. For instance, construction companies may be using 3D printers to print concrete materials and maintain their 6% annual growth, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheaper to build your business than it is to rent an existing property. Unless your business requires a customized layout, stick to renting until you’ve grown enough as a company to expand.
  5. You’re not investing properly in yourself. Many small businesses owners go into debt when they’re first starting out, so it’s important that you get your spending and saving under control now while you’re ahead. Debt can drag your business down if you’re not careful. Spend money on the things that are necessary such as a patent for your product (patents have a term of 20 years from the application filing date) and the right employees for your business. Don’t invest in things like overly-expensive websites and unnecessary advertising when you don’t have the budget.

It’s vital for any business to stay on top of their finances, but especially for small businesses. Without the proper tools, you can easily sink instead of swim. The good news is that, by following the tips above, you can keep your head above water and stop losing money where you shouldn’t be.