It might be you’ve found a niche market and built up a solid small-sized business, and you want to keep it that way. However, if you are looking to take your enterprise to the next level, look no further. Here are our eight ways to effectively grow your business!
Before we start, let’s acknowledge that starting up is difficult; and, inevitably all successful businesses will hit a glass ceiling. It’s at this point you must make some crucial decisions regarding restructuring and adapting to maintain your trajectory. Which leads us to the first consideration.
1. Be prepared to make the jump
Not all businesses need to size up. Maybe you are an entrepreneur and have a profitable business with a small list of clients. If so, do you want to grow?
Bruce T. Dugan, CEO & Chairman of Incognito Worldwide, describes a fairly common experience in his article for Entrepreneur.com. As a young entrepreneur, Dugan spent long hours trying to sustain an increasingly large business. Dugan eventually decided to minimise for lifestyle reasons. Like Dugan, you might find that keeping your business small and manageable might be better for your health and your bottom line.
However, if you have the passion, vision, and determination to push the envelope, then there are some other practical things to consider before getting into the nitty-gritty of adapting your business.
2. Do your research
If you build it, will they come? Is there room to grow in your market?
Maybe you have exhausted your potential customer base. Do some research and test the waters. Don’t push for more clients if there aren’t any in the market. There are many affordable ways to determine demand using Google Trends and Keyword Planner.
According to a 2013 study (Bloomberg), only 20% of businesses make it past 18 months. A lot of this has to do with a lack of understanding of customers and the market.
This research will also give you some better perspective about your business and what direction you might wish to take with it. As Dr. Gramme Edwards says “it’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.”
3. Make sure you have the resources
Do you have the funds? And, do you have the time?
Growing your business is an expensive undertaking. Some entrepreneurs like to take risks – from mortgaging their houses to taking out risky loans. However, this kind of myth, that big risks pay off, pays off infrequently according to Business Insider. Allocating resources and planning ahead of time is better than making ad hoc decisions. Maybe you might need to put off your plans for the next six or twelve months.
Ultimately, it depends on what situation you are in. In the world of business, things don’t always align perfectly and there will always be some element of risk.
Also consider your other important resource – time. Do you have the time to grow your business? The most important thing is to maintain positive relationships with your existing clients and maintain high-quality service and/or products. If you are short on time, looking for quality talent to fill out your team is crucial.
Still feeling confident? Let’s talk about the first steps of adapting your business for growth.
4. Develop a reliable and sizable business structure
As a small business, you can afford to be less formal and more flexible. However, taking the next step will mean you are going to need to solidify formal approaches towards your business.
This will involve building reliable processes, reviewing your marketing strategies, generating increased sales, making sure you deliver on your promises and administering a consistent level of quality along every rung of your business.
Think about your business and the current systems you have in place. Overall, your business should be greater than the sum of its parts.
5. Understand your customers
Don’t leave your customers behind. Ask your loyal customers why they are committed to your business. What they enjoy (and don’t enjoy) and what ways you could improve their experience with you.
Perhaps, run a campaign through questionnaires, or through feedback forms to get an idea about your customers. There endless effective methods of generating responses from your stakeholders – particularly using social media.
6. Know your strengths and weaknesses (and improve on them!)
As Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records, Airlines, Mobile etc., says, “Surround yourself with people smarter than you, empower them, your business will thrive.”
You may be a great manager, but lack long-term thinking; or, on the contrary, you might have the vision, but lack practical managerial skills. As you grow your business, look for talent that will round out your business. After all, business is a team sport!
7. Be innovative
In a fast-changing world, staying ahead of trends is crucial. Don’t be a follower, be a leader in your field. Many businesses follow trends and rely too much on what has worked in the past. As a result, they are blind to inevitable ‘random, unexpected, but high impact events’. Actuary Carlos Correa has described this as the Black Swan problem.
Businesses that don’t innovate risk losing key staff, losing market share to competitors and falling productivity/ efficiency.
8. Don’t lose sight of what make your business unique
Lastly, and most importantly, remember what your business stands for. The simpler and more defined your vision and mission goals are, the greater your chance for success. This clarity of vision will serve you well in a competitive marketplace; and, will give you an authentic point of difference.
One tip we’ve learned from Dror Meiri, Vice President of Business Development at Adasky, is to simplify your value proposition to less than eight words to win over potential customers.
Hopefully, these tips have given you some insight into what considerations there are when growing your business. Comment below and let us know if any of these worked for you. What are your experiences growing your business?