There’s a reason why we hold entrepreneurs in high esteem. It is because human brains are not wired to take risks. For many small and medium-sized business owners to get where they are today, it means taking risks and anticipating rewards when others play safe
Fortune 500 companies or other flourishing large-scale businesses did not start out that big. Small business owners may not have the resources or professional expertise today, yet nothing stops them from making smart moves, such as maintaining a steady workflow and devising a coherent expansion strategy.
Here are ten actionable ideas to get your SMB moving in the right direction!
Slow and Steady
“Steady growth that builds on a strong foundation is better for all the vested parties in the long term,” said Numaan Akram, founder and CEO of Rally Bus, a crowd sourced event transportation company.
In order to get a jump on your competitors, conduct proper research and make smart moves that are favorable to your company in the long run. Refine your product while you cross items off your checklist while also keeping an eye out for any golden opportunity that may come your way.
Employ A Manager
It is not possible to both steer your ship and manage other people’s time and money simultaneously. This is where delegation comes into play — assign tasks to different employees and hold them accountable for their actions.
Perhaps your secretary can compose replies for the stacks of correspondences piling up on your desk, get the board room readied for meeting, and order food? You can go over those replies before they are sent out.
It is difficult to keep track of every task at the workplace and keep up with the myriad of requests that keep cropping up. Use Trello to keep tasks organized and let everybody in on the latest announcements and updates. Communication within your business colleagues is no less important that the one that keeps your relationships afloat. Make use of checklists to cut down on errors.
As your business starts running in a smooth manner and you make sensible delegation moves, you may realize the need for additional staff. While an increase in relevant, qualified personnel may be a step in the right direction for your business, you will also need to pay them.
Hire people who are the best at what they do; ensure that the hiring process stimulates growth of the company. It is also a good idea to work towards keeping your employees engaged and happy, thereby improving their productivity.
Google has been known to have quite a few perks around the office dedicated to their staff. Likewise, MayoClinic has been reported to have an on-site medical care facility!
Arranging for Finances
Now is the time to put your financial hat on and work on getting a loan. While there are several kinds of loans available for a small business, some banks offer them at low interest-rates, backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
While more favorable in terms of repayment and interest, you can learn how to get an SBA loan and put that money to good use; for instance, to pay the newly hired staff, invest in research and development for another product, or buy another business.
Plan for The Future
Use a data-driven approach to set goals for the company. Observe the current market trends and work on a sustainable theory for the foreseeable future. Do you see your product or service doing well tomorrow? What about five years from now?
Technology, lifestyles, job market, education philosophies and more, are constantly evolving. Envision long-term operations that encourage your company’s growth. You do not wish to be stuck with outdated products that are not expected to be sold.
Kingship Lies with The Customer
Remember, the customer is king because he is the one who determines how well your product does. Acquisition of more paying clients may be good for business, but the plan may backfire if you do not focus to retain your current customers and keep them happy.
These are the people who are your best salesmen, according to Jerry Murrell, CEO of Five Guys. Anticipate their needs and ensure that your pleasant attitude and focus goes beyond that first purchase so that your brand leaves a mark and inspires loyalty. It is essential to research into how you can get your existing customers to pay more and find if there is another service you can offer related to their initial purchase.
Cutting Corners Will Cost You
Make sure you put in every bit of effort into the smallest detail. As your business begins to grow, the temptation to get to the top faster and earlier than others may make you compromise on quality.
Consequently, you end up losing your customers, your employees – or both. Shortcuts can be the death of any business. Go the extra mile for that slightly better finish, that happier customer, that employee who is more engaged.
Mergers and Takeovers
If you have the requisite finances, then buying another business whose services and goals are aligned with yours, is an ideal way to boost growth of your venture. This move has the added advantage of having pre-existing research and development in place. Also, it offers your business a variety of new products whose production would otherwise have meant tapping into a wealth of research and financing.
A wise move would be to improve upon the service if possible, say by having better customer service in place for instance, that appeals to your established line of customers.
Time Is Money
Value time, for the precious commodity that it is. There is no better time than now to look into that research or analyze that potentially useful data. In this regard, it is also important to let go of things that may be sucking your precious resources, including time.
David Lai, founder of Hello Design, who helped build and execute digital strategies for companies like Sony, Nike, and Toyota was told by his father, “We only have 24 hours a day. It’s what we choose to do with that time that defines us.”
Break down bigger goals into smaller ones defined by time. You will also have to reject many ideas – learn how to identify the brilliant ones.
Know that every plan in execution needs evaluation and every workflow action may be improved. The key is to keep an eye out for details and learn to look beyond what you see.