There are several different approaches you can use to make your small business more successful. Underpinning everything, it’s important to be clear from the outset who your customers are and tailor your service or product to their needs.
Marketing, of course, plays a vital role in the way you grow a small business, everything from pay per click advertising and your website to engaging and building a following on social media.
Budgeting effectively is also key to small business growth. With limited resources, making the most of your finances can mean funds are available for product development and marketing that take you to the next level.
- Working with a professional accountant may help you find savings and use your resources more wisely.
- Switching to cloud-based technology can greatly improve productivity and give you the option of engaging with customers and staff from any location.
- And, of course, hiring the right people who share your vision for the future is crucial.
Here we take at some of the key steps to grow small business, whatever sector or industry you are in.
Revisit Your Business Plan
We’re assuming that you developed a coherent business plan and wrote it down before you began your enterprise. Any business plan, however, shouldn’t be set in stone.
If you want to grow and be more successful, it’s essential to carry out regular reviews of that plan and change and update it where necessary.
It needs to be responsive and you must have it front and centre of your activity.
- Your business plan will show you which goals you have accomplished (and those you haven’t).
- It will allow you to set a strategy for the year ahead and get your staff involved.
- It allows you to look at new approaches that lead to growth, such as boosting your marketing or introducing collaborative software.
Know Who Your Customers Are
You will be surprised at the number of small businesses that don’t have a clear idea who they are trying to sell to.
Creating buying personas can be a big help in revealing who to target with your marketing and what types of messages you want to get across to them.
It’s also an important part of product and service development and will prevent your small business from going in the wrong direction.
Dig deeper into your customer’s identity and use it to inform your growth strategy.
Deliver Great Customer Service
One of the big complaints that people have, particularly with large businesses, is the poor customer service. Word of mouth can either promote your small business or turn customers off and drive them away.
Focusing on delivering great customer service means buyers and users of your service are likely to return again and again. Make their experience positive, whether it’s handling the queries or complaints online or by phone. In short, loyal customers who like what you offer are much easier to sell to and, what’s more, they’ll tell their friends and family about you for free.
Marketing to Grow Small Business
You can’t grow if you don’t invest in the marketing that informs the unsuspecting public what you are all about. Good marketing requires a strategic approach and there are many strands to consider if you want to get it right:
- Make your small business website easy to navigate and easy to use. Don’t place obstacles in your customer’s way that prevent them from buying.
- Build a relationship with your customers on social media such as Facebook and Twitter and use it to spread the word about your brand.
- Focus on mobile ready approaches. The majority of us nowadays access information on our smartphones. Make sure your website renders clearly on mobile. Perhaps invest in developing an app for your business so customers have easy access to your products and services.
- Measure everything you do. Metrics can define your marketing approach and save you wasting money on approaches that don’t work.
Marketing to grow small business into big business doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, if you enclose promotional material when you send out an invoice, engage in networking or visit trade shows, these are all simple ways that can boost your visibility and sales.
Cutting the Cost of Running Your Small Business
Managing your small business finances is essential and is a key growth factor. Why? It helps you find funds for the most important undertakings that are designed to help your company succeed.
Working with a qualified taxation expert, for example, might just make sure that you don’t pay to much to HMRC. They can also help you look for more savings and financially plan for the future, something that may increase your viability and ability to respond to growth strategies.
Build and Nurture the Right Team
No business amounts to much unless it has the right people on board. Attracting top performers and individuals who will help deliver your dream can be difficult. It’s not just about hiring the best but keeping them working for your business over the long-term.
Making sure your business provides pathways to career development, for example, or finding ways to reward staff are crucial for a successful workforce. It’s much easier to get people to buy into your vision and work with you to grow your small business if they feel you care about them.
Use the Cloud and Other Technology
The good news for any small business today is that there is plenty of supportive technology that will help with that all-important growth strategy. Moving your business operation to the cloud has several advantages.
For a start, it allows any member of staff to access your systems and engage and collaborate wherever they are in the world. You can set up virtual phone networks using the cloud which means that your team is always available when someone calls for help or advice or to buy something.
Specialist software may also give your business the edge over the competition. AI programs are not only becoming more common in the day to day running of many companies AI is also highly affordable. Some programs that answer customer service queries online are indistinguishable from real people.
The key for small businesses is not to take growth for granted, even when things are going well. It requires a strategic approach and a lot of time and effort.
Whether it’s upping your marketing, revising your business plan, hiring the best team or simply using an accountant to save money and invest that in your growth, there are many ways to move your company forward over the next few years.