While it’s easier than ever nowadays to start a small business, growing it into a success is a much harder challenge. The first thing to say here is that companies don’t grow fast overnight, whatever you might think.
Most businesses have a steady growth curve that belies a large amount of work that goes on in the background, everything from marketing initiatives and product development to customer engagement and staff training.
At VW Taxation in Hampshire, we work with a wide range of small business, including those in the construction industry. Here’s our quick take on the elements you need in place to be a successful business today:
1. Know Who Your Customer Is
The good news is that there is a lot of tech available nowadays to help reach your ideal customer demographic. To do that, you need an idea of who they are and understand what you should be saying to them.
If you are a sole trader, you may not think you have time for this but if you want to grow your business it’s something you can’t avoid. You can get an idea from reviews and comments and you can also carry out surveys as well as conduct focus groups.
Once you really understand who your customer is, you’ll begin to cater more effectively to their needs. That includes when creating new products and services and how to find them and engage on platforms such as social media.
2. Create Loyal Customers
You do this by consistently providing a top class service to your customers. For a digital business, that could mean delivering regular updates or more options in an app you’ve developed. For a building business, it’s achieved by providing quality at a good price which then leads to customers coming back or recommending you to their friends and family.
3. Focus on Customer Service
We’re a lot more savvy when it comes to customer service nowadays and we’re also more likely to head elsewhere if we don’t get what we are looking for because there’s so much choice.
Good customer service needs to be responsive and proportional. Many businesses, particularly larger ones, now use social media to deliver their customer service, at least in part. Make sure that your helpline is always at the top of its game and don’t leave customers waiting for a reply when they have a query or complaint.
4. Networking is Key
Whether you are a sole trader or have a small number of staff it can be pretty isolating if you don’t get out into the real world. Networking is vital in developing business opportunities and gaining knowledge.
Most regions have their own local networking events and it’s important to get involved with these and establish your presence. These events are not about opportunities to sell but a chance to broaden your business horizons and benefit from peer experience.
5. Are You Socially Responsible?
This is a more recent trend and has been driven mostly by the growth of social media where businesses and individuals are more in the spotlight. Corporate social responsibility is a real thing and it can either damage or benefit your business depending on what you do.
Having a company policy for acting sustainably or building local community relationships to give something back, for example, can all make you look like the kind of business people want to use. Make it part of your brand.
6. Finding Funding
The big problem that many start-up companies and small businesses have is obtaining finance for what they want to do. It was certainly more difficult after the financial crisis but things have eased somewhat now.
Whether it’s applying to the bank for a loan or crowdfunding online, you need to have a strategy for funding and not be afraid of it. Get it right and you grow your company much quicker.
7. Franchise Your Business
Franchising is where you sell the model of your business to a third party who then opens a store or service in your brand name and follows your lead. This is a popular option for those businesses that have a clearly identified brand and processes in place for duplication. It’s not just for large corporations.
If you have set the foundations of your business and are confident of its success in other areas, franchising is a good option. You need to do your homework, however, and get the right expertise on board if you are going to succeed.
Growing your business will depend on the type of operation your run and what your plans for development are. Your strategy, however, should include most of the approaches outlined above.
If you’re a small business now looking to grow, why not contact the team at VW Taxation to see how we can help give your business a competitive edge.