How many years have you been operating your small business?

If the answer is for a long time, have you come close a time or two to calling it quits?

Many small business owners walk a fine line, a line that can find them in danger of going out of business.

So that your company doesn’t have to hang a gone out of business sign, be cognizant of current happenings.

For instance, are you seeing a noticeable drop-off in customer sales? If yes, why do you think that is?

Are you having trouble in getting a small business loan? Once again, a yes answer demands some research on your part about why this is.

To keep your small business humming for decades, know the telltale signs of trouble.

What to Look for

In being aware of potential red flags, remember these pointers:

  1. Signs

Always keep your eyes and ears open for potential trouble on the horizon.

In some cases, your small business might be doing fine, but it is the economy that triggers problems.

Although not a fortune teller, be alert to shifts in consumer buying trends, shifts that could signal trouble.

  1. Payments

Are some customers not paying you on time? In some cases, it may be at all.

Never sweep late payments or no payments at all under the rug. Remember, each missed payment is more money to come out of your pocket.

One example of this is when customers charge purchases with you.

While the majority of them will not contest the charges, some in fact will. Some of those contesting the charges are in reality doing it on purpose.

Some customers will do a chargeback because they had a change of mind with what they bought. Others, yet, do it to scam you.

You can better eliminate chargebacks when you see the trouble signs brewing.

Be wary of a large amount of purchases, purchases made to an unconfirmed address or phone number, and credit card questions.

By being alert to chargeback problems, you can lessen the chances of taking a financial hit.

  1. Employees

If you have a fair number of employees, are they coming and going like a revolving door?

While some employees may look for better opportunities, others may know something you don’t.

In the event word is getting around that your small business doesn’t do the following, you could be in trouble:

  • Not paying workers enough
  • Little or no healthcare benefits
  • Hard to work one’s way up the corporate ladder
  • Overworks employees

When your employees provide you with feedback, actually listen to them.

Although some may be the normal everyday gripes, others may very well have more meat to them.

Even if you’ve started small businesses in the past, there is no guarantee they are going to be around for decades.

The key is to work hard, doing everything you can do to make your small business a model others want to emulate.