5 Tips to Help Small Business Growth
1. Implement the right business systems and staff
The right business systems and staff are paramount to your success. If you are looking to drive small business growth, then you are going to need more staff.
Attract and keep the best people, set measurable standards for their performance and then regularly review their work to ensure they are achieving their goals. Take a realistic look at your financial reports to determine what salaries you can afford to pay to attract the right staff (and if you don’t know how to read your reports, then learning that is another essential requirement for small business success). You may get monkeys if you pay peanuts, but you’re a chump if you destroy your cash flow in the process. If you are cash poor, for example, rather than offering an upfront salary, you might consider offering a lower salary but add a bonus incentive for achieving goals that aid the business growth.
2. Document your systems and procedures.
If you are taking on more staff, then you need to have documented procedures. Rather than having to sit down with each staff member and explain how to do things, procedures document this for you. Procedures may be supplemented by checklists which summarise the steps that have been completed. We keep all of our procedures documented and up-to-date. It makes everyone’s job easier as they know what steps need to be followed and gives them standards to aim for. Once you have procedures documented, it is easier to grow your business as you have a set of instructions for new staff to follow. Rather than getting overwhelmed by growth, you are in a position to leverage new opportunities.
Lastly, incorporate checks so you can see how things are going as they’re getting done. Provide the opportunity for feedback from your staff and be prepared to rewrite your procedures in light of their feedback. Procedures only work if they reflect and deal with reality.
3. Make your business stand out amongst the crowd
Think about your offering – what makes you different to your competitors? To know this, you need to know your competitors and to know both their and your weaknesses. Make their weaknesses your strengths.
Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, you could become experts in a few market verticals. Another way to do this is to offer exceptional service. Or offer special deals or great guarantees. Apply for any awards that are relevant to your business. There will always be a market for exceptional service and top rated products. When you work out what makes you different to your competitors, make sure that you communicate this clearly. This helps to build your brand (and builds your reputation) so clients will come to you.
4. Never underestimate the importance of the human touch
So much of what we do today can be automated,from Facebook updates and tweets, to auto-responder emails. Whilst there is a place for some automation, you can’t automate your way to success.
Business is still fundamentally all about people. You can gain a huge advantage over your competitors, if you look for opportunities to interact with people. Keep it as human as possible; use automation judiciously, but keep in mind that your clients are fully aware when contact is simply a matter of a Customer Relationship Management tool. Look for opportunities to build your networks too – it isn’t a matter of selling yourself or your business, but a way of interacting with others. The best way to build networks is to learn to give without expecting anything back.
5. Take on board the right help and guidance
Make use of experts to help select and implement the best systems for your current business needs and for your future business growth. With a plethora of offerings in the market, you need help to make the best choices.
If you are working longer hours and underperforming you need guidance; without it you may go broke, faster. No matter how fast you row your boat, if you are going in the wrong direction, you will still get lost. Engaging a business coach, mentor or being part of entrepreneur groups and communities can assist you in your business growth. There is a plethora of business groups and business advice available in the community and online…so take advantage of what is available to help you.
If you have any tips of your own to share, please leave them in the comments below.