One of the most challenging things entrepreneurs have to face is growing a small business from inception. Growing a small business is like bringing up a baby. You have to be very patient and optimistic. Each step along the way demands more time from you and more commitment. It is indeed everything but easy to grow a small business. But you have to believe that with the right business growth strategies, you too can expand your business no matter how humble your beginnings were or how bleak your prospects looked in those beginning days.
Here are small business tips and business growth strategies that will help you make the process and your efforts less difficult. What’s more you can be sure that these tips have been tested and proven. Most fast growing small businesses which seem to have gone ahead of yours have made it to where they are today because they made use of these tips, principles and strategies. So if you are really eager to grow your own small business, come with me as we take this walk up the road that will enable you have a smoother ride from inception to business growth and fulfillment.
Be clear on your business purpose
If you are looking forward to growing a small business, you cannot afford to neglect the importance of clearly stating your business’ purpose and its vision. This is one thing that should be settled from inception. Here are some important reasons why;
As you move from one stage of business growth to another, there are several opportunities that will come your way with promising result. Some of them will just be traps that will cause untold damage to the business if taken. Having a clear purpose for your business and a vision statement will serve as guides to prevent you from falling into such traps. We usually say not all that glitters is gold and that’s true in this case.
A clear vision statement guides you in decision making. It also clarifies the purpose of a business. Small businesses are most vulnerable to blunders. A single error in decision making could cause the business to simply be dissolved. Whatever you are looking forward to achieving in the future could be permanently hindered as a result of one wrong decision which could have been avoided if the business vision and purpose were clearly stated.
A concise business plan motivates you and your team towards achieving set goals. Apart from revealing the importance and place of everything in business, it helps you determine how much value to put on each aspect of the business. Fast growing small businesses do not rely on strategy or getting funding as many people erroneously think. These are businesses which are most committed to serving their determined purpose. Our world is crowded with problems and when a business or entrepreneur makes solving a particular problem their focus, it is inevitable that the business will grow in such a short time.
Count the cost before you make any move
Counting the cost of growth is one of those small business tips that are often disregarded. Maybe because of the desperation to grow. If you manage a startup, there are so many decisions you have to make and most of those decisions are important enough to either make or mar the business. With every major decision, make sure you count the cost. Not just in terms of money but with regards to human and material resources. There may seem to be a be a lot of gain to be made with a particular decision but on a second consideration it could be costlier than the business can afford.
When you run or manage a startup, there should be no point where you make decisions from an emotional standpoint. Fast growing small businesses are those that have learnt to count the cost of every business decision and move against its perceived reward. Growing your business is directly linked to making profits. You have to make every decision based on the principle of minimal cost at maximal gain.
Do not undermine the importance of a business plan
Individuals cannot make personal progress without a plan, let alone for a business. If you are going to grow your business, a plan must be set in place to reach where you are going. With a business plan you will definitely reach your goals of business growth faster. Without one, you may never get there at all. There are several advantages of having a business plan and using it to grow your business.
The first reason why you should have a business plan is that it makes the process of moving from one step to the other easier. With a business plan it is simple to know what next you have to do in order to get to where you are going. To expand your business, you have to look at it like a military move to seize an enemy’s territory. You cannot do without a plan. This is so important that though many entrepreneurs draw one for themselves, it will be best you get a professional to do it.
Secondly, a business plan is necessary for situations where you have to obtain a loan or get financial assistance from an institution. These institutions almost always demand to see a business plan before they can be of assistance. Even property managers will require to see your business plan and achievement to determine whether or not to lease out their property to you. And you probably already know how important financing is for growing a small business. What’s more, each member of the business can get clarity on what position they hold and what is expected of them just by studying the business plan. And yes, a business plan is that concise. It includes a clear distinction of executive positions and roles as well as the management team.
With a business plan, you get to understand exactly what position your business holds on the market and what you need to do to get better. Then there is an analysis of the business’ industry, its risks as well as marketing strategies that have to be put in place.
You can make more advantageous moves and get more profits if you put in considerable resources into research. Research is first a foundation that has to be put in place even before the business kicks off. Just like proper planning, proper research prevents poor performance. Fast growing small businesses put a lot into research right from the inception of their businesses and continue to make that sacrifice as the business grows and expands.
We are living in a very fast changing world and this affects every business industry. There will be changes in fashion, style and customer taste and this makes research one of the most important of all small business tips. It is important that before these changes take place, you are prepared to take the lead or at least meet up with the demands. Research especially for small business plays a very vital role in business growth.
It prepares you for competition with other businesses that have been established before and may be more prosperous than yours. Research gives you an important advantage as far as business competition is concerned. When your business starts out with research and hinges every major progressive step on research, you get to realize where your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses lie. Then you can prepare to challenge their strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses. Business competition is like war when it comes to strategy. You have to be much more aware of your field of battle (market and industry) and the tactics of your enemies (competing businesses). Whoever is more informed has the best chance of winning market shares and prospering in that industry.
To expand your business and take more grounds successfully, you have to be a master researcher or employ one who is. Business opportunities are not always what they seem. Most times they seem very promising from a first glance. It would take the mastery and examination of an experienced researcher to decipher what advantages and disadvantages each opportunity holds. For someone looking forward to growing a small business, this means a lot. Sometimes the smallest mistake may cause the greatest harm, from which the business may not be able to recover.
Wisely chose and employ business growth strategies
It is all about growing your small business to the size that you have since envisioned it to be. There are several business growth strategies and small business tips you may want to make use of. Fast growing small businesses are those that have proper understanding of the following growth strategies and know exactly which ones work best for their businesses. These strategies may not all be relevant to your specific business. The geographical position, its level of growth as well as other factors have to be considered when making a judgment between business growth strategies. What you have to remember however is that the best business growth strategy for your small business is the one which guarantees larger expansion at minimal possible cost. That said, let us examine the different growth strategies you can employ.
- Reaching New markets
If your business is currently operating at maximum capacity at its present location and there is little or no place for growth, you should consider reaching out to new market for possible expansion. To do this you can use different methods based on appropriateness. First you can introduce a rebranded version of an existing product in a market where that product has already been available. This would be necessary if the product does not seem appealing to your customers in that market anymore.
The second way of reaching new markets is introducing a product in a market where it has never been introduced before. This is typical for situations where sales in the present market are at their optimal and demand seems to be just enough or lower than supply or when competition in the present market does not allow for any form of growth. If you were producing locally made soap for laundry and other household use and found out that you could not expand in your current market, you could consider selling the same product in a different market where such commodity is low in supply and high in demand or rebrand it to become a bathing soap. When the situations demand it, you can make use of both methods simultaneously.
- Taking advantage of the internet
Most business are online these days. If your own is not and you are looking to expand your business, you should make use of the internet. It is quite a free world. Establishing a business online takes time, resources and energy. But if you are as dedicated as you should be, there is definitely going to be remarkable growth recorded. Creating an online presence for your business has some advantages which are worthy of outlining here. The first is that you get to reach more people with information about your business that you would have been able to do manually. Social media platforms, websites and blogs do not only break the boundaries to reaching more people, they make it cheaper and easier to do. Come to think of it; if you were selling a product or offering a service which would be demanded around the globe but could not sponsor television advertisements, how else would you do it effectively than reaching those people through the internet.
Secondly as more people become aware of your business and what you are offering, you could create an online market or get connected to one for the sales of your products. Running a website where your business’ goods or services can be sold is a very cost effective way of expanding. This may not work out for every type of business but it will definitely make much impact and sponsor advancement if whatever service you are offering can be easily delivered online. Let’s take an artist for example. if you are great at drawing and painting, you could reach a lot of people with your work, but the truth is there will be many more people willing to pay for your services if you would bring it online. Whatever can be converted to a digital version has a great propensity to sell these days. Consequently, it will be a great move to grow your business by learning digital painting and drawing.
Then there is the option of merging
Truth be told, some businesses will grow best and faster when they merge. It is not always an easy decision to make because there are so many complexities involved in merging. Apart from that, if one can find the right opportunity and business to merge with, the business could turn from a start up to a giant company within a few months or years. There are different types of mergers and for different reasons. That is a discussion for another day. Let’s just look into mergers as a general concept and how you can take advantage of it for growing any small business.
Merging with a business that produces other materials you need for your business will help you cut down expenditure on raw materials and overall production cost. That is very important as far as business growth is concerned. What is more, you have control over those raw materials and can easily influence market price against your competitors who may not have the same advantage. Let’s say a wine manufacturing company decides to merge with the lone supplier of grapes in the country. This will imply that as far as wine production is concerned, their competitors have to stay under the said company’s control until they are able to maybe plant and grow another Vine large enough to support their business. Sometimes, instead of just merging, the business responsible for a raw material for example is simply bought over to ensure total control.
Get the right team
Having the right team is essential to growing any small business. It is not just about having workers. Those who work for the business have to be specially picked out if you are going to successfully expand your business. This means the team must be made up of people who both have a role to play and properly understand what that role is and have what it takes to play their part. When the business is moving from one stage to another and it becomes necessary to bring in more people to join the team, you must ensure that every single person who come in is equally passionate about the business’ vision and purpose. They have to understand the drive. Too many small businesses employ people who are only interested in making money. The only drive for them is having a salary or pay check at the end of the month. This kills productivity. It is hard to break limits with such people on your team. Such people will do just enough to earn their wages and no more.
Secondly, getting the right team entails that the right people are made to occupy the right positions. Sometimes entrepreneurs make the costly mistake of bringing people into a business with the right qualifications and putting them in the wrong position. This is going to seriously hinder expansion and productivity. For example, marketing managers should not be made to occupy the place of a human resource manager or perhaps a general manager. There is a reason why they are called MARKETTING managers. Managing marketing affaires is such a person’s area of competence or expertise and should be respected. If you already have a marketing manager, don’t hire another one simply because you need someone to fill the position and bear the responsibilities of a general manager and cannot find one.
Stay out of debt
Taking loans to make business progress and growth is not a very good option. As far as is possible for you and the business, you must stay out of debt. Keeping a clean sheet with regards to debt is essential to getting assistance from financial institutions and organizations. It will be difficult to secure such help from these sources if you have a bad credit record and believe me, this could seriously hinder growth.
On a second note, it is not always easy to stay debt free in business but is indeed very possible. There is a very noble business growth principle that will help you stay away from debt and build your business stronger and larger. Never try to grow beyond your present capacity or ability. That is to say if the business does not have what it takes financially and otherwise, it is best to plan and work hard until it does. This means patience and it is one of those virtues that must strongly be in place before small businesses can grow successfully. Remember, it is not just about growing. It is more about growing successfully. If you ignore virtues like patience for the sake of growth, you can be sure that the growth will hardly last. it is not about the business but the man or people behind it.
Let the business have the capacity, foundation and stamina to grow without getting help from other places. That way, when the heat and pressures of the next level set in, it will be able to withstand the pressure. Staying out of debt is one of those small business tips which must be seriously regarded. Sometimes, the pressure to take the next step is so much that it would seem taking a loan is the only option out. Then again you must remember that business decisions that turn out to be successful are never taken under pressure. Keep calm and let the business go through its process.