So, you made your dreams a reality and started your own business. Now that you are established, you might be feeling ready to take the next step. This article will talk through the following steps to grow a small business:
- Plan growth and scale up
- Invest in digital
- Listen to your customers
- Attend and host events
- Have a backup plan
- Invest in your people
- Measure your success
Plan growth and scale up
Writing a plan or timeline for growth will ensure that as you start your growth activity, you can plot your progress with milestones. A strong plan will prepare you as much as possible for what is to come, and help you avoid any difficulties if you have sudden growth that you weren’t expecting. Include financial planning so that your cash flow and operations can still function effectively while you try to expand.
Focus on what your business already does well. Scale up this part of your business since it already works, and maximise your results by investing in more advertising or staff for this area. It can be tempting to do everything at once, but nail this area and then expand because it will allow you to continuously bring in sales while you try other things.
It’s important to scale up your systems too. You won’t be able to grow a business by only focusing on the day-to-day running of the business. Invest in systems or software to automate any time-consuming tasks you could do with streamlining. This will give you the breathing space to do more productive work.
Invest in digital
Spend money on improving your website, as it is your digital storefront where many customers will land when doing their research into your services. Make your website fast and efficient on both mobile and desktop, as most searches are now completed via mobile.
Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, you should be on social media if your target audience is active on the various platforms. Prioritise the ones that your target customers are on, and start creating interesting content to share on there. For example, if you sell to other businesses, focus on LinkedIn, and if you are a more visual business, such as an artist or crafts company, Instagram might be the best place to showcase your offerings.
Your content marketing is another area to invest in. Creating useful blogs and articles that solve problems for your customers will keep them coming back to your website and, eventually, you can turn them into customers if you build trust and authority with them.
Listen to your customers
Asking for customer feedback will allow you to adapt to the needs of your customers better. Reading and responding to reviews will show that you are listening and accepting of both positive and negative feedback. It will also allow you to spot opportunities to do things better for your existing customers and find new ones to build your customer base.
Improving your customer service by active listening will also keep your existing customers coming back, and it’s five times cheaper to retain customers than it is to bring in new ones.
Attend and host events
Networking within your industry will build your profile amongst your peers and customers. It’s important to get your business name out there to build recognition within the industry.
Attending events and networking will build relationships with other business owners who may use your services alongside their own, or refer you to new clients. Industry events will also attract customers already interested in what you’re offering and will get your business’ name in front of an ideal target audience.
By hosting your own events (online or in-person) you can tailor the guest list as well as display your expertise or products to a variety of people, whether you’re building up your brand profile in your sector, or looking for direct sales from the event.
Have a backup plan
When looking to grow, you can’t always do the same thing that has usually worked – you have to test new things. Do so by taking calculated risks, and plan how you will execute anything new, don’t just jump in blindly.
Always have a backup plan, too. When planning your growth strategies, try to keep a bit of budget as a buffer so you have that safety net if an investment doesn’t pan out. This will help avoid any cash flow disasters and keep you trading while you figure out the next step.
Invest in extra resource
Going from solopreneurship to taking on a new person can be a big step. Having the right people on your team can push your expansion in the right direction if you carefully choose someone with the correct skills and experience.
You can even consult an accountant or advisor to decide what area of your business might benefit most from an extra pair of hands. For example, for a retail company, would a social media manager bring in more business than a packaging and shipping person? Or if you are already struggling with demand, a shipping employee might be a better investment.
Weigh up your options and financial figures to help you decide which is the best move for your business.
Measure your success
When using growth strategies, it’s important to set some measures that will prove if your activity has been successful. For example, you might track your follower numbers if you are focusing on social media activity, or record your total of repeat customers when you’ve been working on listening to customer feedback.
Choose goals that fit your activity and this will allow you to learn and change your approach to improve as you go.
How Countingup can simplify your finances
Now that you are informed on how to grow your small business, make more time for it by automating your bookkeeping. Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software. The all-in-one app saves business owners hours of accounting admin by automating invoicing, expense categorisation and providing live cash flow insights, helping you to keep on top of your business finances while you grow. Find out more here.