Small companies need to battle against the chances to endure, and that is the reason it’s significant that proprietors comprehend what causes a business to develop.
A business that doesn’t develop in the long run kicks the bucket and independent companies are bound to fizzle with 20% of them shutting in their first year. These measurements ascend to half by their fifth year of activity.
When growing a business, a wide range of things must be thought of, from settling on a powerful development technique to contemplating how your business is going to target, draw in and hold a dedicated client base.
During the beginning phases of maintaining a business, proprietors will in general interpretation of deals, promoting, budgetary and client care jobs just as being a vital pioneer, that is in any event until you’ve developed your business enough to manage the cost of recruiting more individuals.
ways to grow your business
With so many different aspects to consider, thinking about the first step when growing a business can feel overwhelming. The best place to start is deciding upon a growth strategy.
1. Have a growth strategy
With 64% of UK employees dreaming of starting their own businesses, there’s no doubt that Britain is a nation with entrepreneurial aspirations.
Considering that 83% of Gen Z, (the country’s future majority workforce), also want to start their own businesses, it’s essential that everyone understands not only how to start a business, but how to grow one too; implementing a growth strategy is a good place to start.
Whether you’re the owner of a startup, a small, or a small to medium business, having a growth strategy is essential to grow at scale. However, implementing an effective growth strategy takes time and they should be tailored to the individual business in question.
To make a start on their growth strategy, business owners should ask themselves a series of questions, such as as the ones below:
- Where is my business right now?
- How do I get it from here to where I want it to be?
- What makes my business different from my competitors?
- Why do my customers come to my business instead of them?
- Who is my ideal customer?
Once these questions have been answered, owners can determine the central value of their business i.e, what makes the business special/stand out.
Dealing with these questions can also help owners solidify the company’s mission(s), including short, and longer-term goals, ie) right now, we reach X customers, but in five years time, we aim to reach Y. These aims are all central to determining a growth strategy.
Owners should then establish the ‘facts’ of their business, such as what the revenue streams are. Following this, they can start analysing their major competitors, and evaluate what their own brand’s strengths are.
While these strengths may not initially seem like advantages, for example, “our competitor is larger than us”, unique facts about your business can give it an edge against your competition, “but we are smaller and therefore more agile to market changes.”
Once you establish and analyse ‘unique facts’ and ‘strengths related to your business, you can use them as tools for growth.’
2. Adopt new technology
Business, like the rest of the world, is going digital. This means you could be missing out on key growth opportunities if you ignore new technologies that can simplify your life or streamline processes in your business.
If you’re having trouble warming to this new digital age, remember that technology is about innovation, and finding new ways to do things that drive success.
A majority of the workforce will soon be Gen Zs, the oldest of which are currently 22 years old. They are entering the job market as digital natives, meaning they bring with them unique insights and are able to use new technologies immediately.
As an employer, you don’t want to appear resistant to new technology, as this could put this talented new talent pool off applying to your business, potentially stalling growth via missed opportunities.
While technology can be used to make existing business processes easier (such as automating laborious administrative processes), it should also be used to find new and effective ways of doing business that will drive growth. What’s more, the technology doesn’t have to be hard to use, take digital marketing technology for example.
3. Have a digital strategy in place to help grow your business
Having an online presence is a prerequisite for any successful business today. However, it’s pointless if there isn’t an effective digital marketing strategy underpinning it; as businesses will miss out on key customer engagement opportunities.
Here are the points to be thinking about before deciding upon a digital marketing strategy:
- What are your aims?
- What are your tactics?
- How are you going to measure performance?
Some business owners make the mistake of thinking that a nice looking business website is all that’s needed to grow a business online. But this isn’t enough. They must make sure that business websites are search-engine optimized and user-friendly, especially for mobile device users as well as desktop-based browsers. Retail businesses, in particular, should have a fully integrated and fast response e-commerce ‘shop’ on their websites too. With statistics showing that online consumers are increasingly making purchases from mobile or tablet devices, businesses must also ensure their websites cater to these preferences.
How to do it
However, an effective digital strategy doesn’t stop with a pretty website, business owners must also ensure they take advantage of the various social media channels on offer to better target and engage with their customer base, (also known as social media marketing).
For example, if your business offers a service, twitter is a great tool to engage with customers when dealing with complaints or promoting your level of customer care or support generally. Email marketing is also an effective way to remind your loyal customer base about your goods and services or to update them with news about the business.
SME owners must never forget the ‘digital’ in digital marketing, as these technologies boost growth by allowing businesses to reach audiences they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, as well as helping them build a loyal customer base.
4. Train your staff
Investing time and money into staff development can help a business grow by making employees feel like engaged, motivated and most importantly valued assets to a business.
A motivated staff is more likely to go the extra mile in business, pushing it towards growth, leading to higher productivity and output generally.
At a basic level, well-trained employees have the competency, aptitude and skills to keep the business running when you’re busy or away, and will be able to service customers better.
Training staff starts by setting up a staff training program in your business. Whether you do it via a PowerPoint presentation or print out a booklet for them to keep, ensure you write down what you want your employees to learn in order to work in your business.
This includes the knowledge and skillsets you believe are vital for them to do their jobs well.
Start by covering the most basic skillsets you expect from staff and build from there to cover more specialised or sophisticated skills certain members of staff might need in your business. Running through these expectations with staff will help you to identify any ‘skills gaps’ in your team such as lack of training in computer software.
Without basic skills training, such as software training, staff may not be able to perform the more sophisticated forms of operations in a business. Ensure you upskill them from the ground up, as it’s more time-consuming to re-teach staff than to build on a strong basic foundation of knowledge and skillsets.
How to train your staff
Holding regular training sessions can be useful. A popular option is holding sessions where teams can get together to learn a new skill over their lunch-break.
Also known as ‘lunch and learns,’ you don’t always have to do the teaching. In fact, employees themselves can take turns hosting these sessions, using their specialist knowledge in a certain area of the business to upskill their peers.
Bringing members of different departments together to work on collaborative projects can also help the natural exchange of skill-sets across a business.
However, training and upskilling staff can be a redundant exercise if it’s not implemented regularly and if goals, objectives and performance reviews aren’t put in place to ensure they are learning and progressing.
.Be ‘modern’ with taking payments
With consumers demanding increasingly flexible payment options, smaller businesses must offer them as many different payment options as possible.
It might come as a surprise to some readers, but many SMEs are still not accepting card payments. Statistics from 2017 revealed that as many as 2.6m small businesses didn’t offer this payment facility. What makes this fact particularly worrying is that cash payments stopped being the main form of payment the same year.
Only last year, debit card payments were the most popular payment option for consumers, accounting for three in every five transactions. Small business owners must, therefore, ensure they have card machines in their stores, including a ‘contactless’ payment option.
For retail businesses, in particular, it’s vital that consumers can pay for goods easily online. Having a fully functioning e-commerce ‘shop’ on their business website is vital. Businesses should also provide a variety of payment options for customers; from online to in-person and even over the phone, ensuring that all customer payment preferences are met.