Discover how to take your small business to the next level with these five simple steps.
Have you started a small business recently? Many people have taken the opportunity to start up a side hustle or go freelance in the last few years. Whether it’s something you’re running alongside a full-time role, or a blossoming business you’re hoping to grow into something bigger, running your own business can be very exciting and fulfilling.
Maybe now you’d like to take your side hustle full-time, or perhaps you’re considering taking on an extra employee in your business. Taking your business to the next level requires work, but there are always ways you can grow and improve your business.
Here are a few ways you can make improvements to achieve small business success:
Update your business plan
You probably created a business plan when you first set up your business. It might have been a comprehensive document detailing your goals and strategies or half a page of notes scribbled at the back of a notebook. But when you want to grow your business, it is always handy to go back to your plan.
Look at what you first set out to achieve and where your business is currently. Maybe you were over-ambitious about what you could achieve after a full day at work, or perhaps you underestimated how successful your business would be. Do you need to move your targets and goalposts?
Once you have looked at everything you have achieved so far, put a plan in place for the future and determine where you want the business to go. This should include financial targets like profit and turnover but also have non-financial goals like industry events you want to attend.
Assess your processes
Now that you have defined what you want to achieve, it is time to assess how you will get there. So take a look at your current processes and whether there is any room for improvement.
Try to see how they work from both your point of view and that of your customers. It might be worthwhile asking a friend to act as a test customer so you can get their honest feedback.
Whether it’s how you interact with customers or how you make and distribute your products, exploring where improvements could be made is always helpful. You might find that there are some cost-cutting measures to be implemented or ways you can improve the customer experience.
It costs more to find a new customer than it does to retain existing clients. So customer satisfaction and retention are essential for any small business, and this is even more true in the Internet era.
With so many choices at their fingertips, customers need to know they are appreciated. Rewarding loyalty is a proven way to do this, so you could offer a discount code for use on their next order or introduce loyalty cards if you are a service-based business.
However you choose to reward loyalty, ensure that you have correctly assessed the financial impacts of your chosen scheme. There’s no point in retaining customer loyalty if it makes your business lose money!
Marketing is vital for businesses of any size, but knowing how to market your business can be difficult, especially if you don’t have previous marketing experience. This might be an area where engaging the services of a professional would be a good investment.
If you would prefer to do the marketing yourself, there are plenty of helpful guides online that will lead you through the principles of marketing. Combining traditional marketing such as physical banners and leaflets with digital marketing such as social media and a company website is an excellent way to target a wide range of audiences.
Small businesses tend to have relatively small teams, and you may be running your business as a solo enterprise. This brings the added difficulty of finding someone to bounce ideas off, which is why networking is crucial for small business owners.
Luckily, social media makes networking easy, and you don’t even have to leave your home or office!
If you don’t already have one, set up a LinkedIn account and connect with others in the industry and fellow small business owners. Show support to other small businesses on social media and attend events targeted at business owners to meet new connections. And don’t forget to contact potential customers if LinkedIn is the right place to find them.
Networking can be daunting, but it can also be incredibly beneficial, so it is worth pushing yourself and giving it a try.
These are just five ways that you can give your small business a boost. If growing your business feels overwhelming, just pick one of these tips and give that a go first. Once you see the results, you’re sure to feel motivated to try the rest of them!