A small businesses can minimise their difficult periods and increase their growth by working smarter and taking advantage of potential opportunities. The following steps, when put into practice, can help to grow your business:
1. Utilise new technology
By utilising technology, you will not only improve productivity but also reduce operational costs. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and various other social media can aid in marketing your business to your target demographic.
Dropbox, a cloud based server, can be used for document creation and sharing, while Skype can be used for video calling and conferencing.
2. Communicate better
When conducting any form of communication with a customer, whether verbal or written, always ensure a professional yet friendly approach is taken. Guidelines should be created for how to deal in these situations. Replies should be done as soon as possible, as waiting too long could lose potential customers.
To get your business out there, try writing a blog or column about your professional field. Think about possibly sponsoring an event or offering your services to a local sports team, school or community group.
3. Become more innovative
No matter how well your products and services are selling, you should always be on the look out for ways to refine your business. Invite staff to share their ideas and conduct regular brainstorm sessions, to come up with ideas and strategies.
4. Tighten up your credit policies
Ensure customers complete a credit application and understand your businesses terms of trade, for any kind of order. Terms of trade should be reviewed and changed if deemed necessary. Give a clear time period for payment. Encourage quick payment by emailing or mailing invoices.
5. Improve your record keeping
Keep clear and concise records of when stock is coming in and out, to ensure how much stock is on hand at any moment. Point-Of-Sale (POS) computer programs can aid in managing stock inventories and provide records of each product that is sold, and there are some that are either free or fairly low cost. Create a database of client's names for follow ups in the future.
6. Join business associations and organisations
Often, business associations and/or organisations can give you access to industry leaders for an annual membership fee. From them, you can learn about current innovations and developments within your business field and these are held regularly within events, seminars, short courses or networking events. These can be very valuable to business owners, where you can identify possible investors and meet other owners in the same industry.
7. Develop a website
If your business is well established then potential customers are likely to search you on the Internet, before even calling you or visiting your office. Therefore, your website should be functional and communicate what you offer.
8. Manage your time more effectively
Take note of where your time is going each day. Some tasks could be consolidated, or completed at a dedicated time each week. There are free or low-cost time management tools such as Toggl and Google Drive that monitor your daily workload and can generate weekly reports.
Keep track of where your time is going each day. Some tasks can be combined or completed at a set time every week. Toggl and Google Drive can monitor your daily workload and generate weekly reports. Both are also free or relatively low cost.
9. Buy good quality business cards and use them
Any opportunity to hand out your business cards should be taken when meeting new people - even if it's outside work hours.
10. Generate referrals
Creating referrals for your business helps to promote and then eventually grow your small business. There are many ways to create them, such as paying for them per lead, writing blog entries, attending trade shows or advertising through social media.
A variety of these methods should be used to ensure your business is able to grow, so take time to plan ahead and try some new approaches.