You’ve started a business, landed clients, and built a profitable company. What is the next step? Expanding, of course. Following your dreams into a fruitful venture in a field you love is a great start. But, in order to continue to thrive, you’ll need to stay ahead of the competition. Others are progressing, and that means you need to educate yourself on how to grow at a manageable and effective rate.
Understanding what strings to pull may be more difficult. Who do you push? How much more money do you invest? What areas should you focus on? Perhaps the answer to these questions can be found in the numbers. Small businesses are responsible for more than 60 percent of jobs in the last 20 years. More than 500,000 new businesses start every month. Nearly 40 percent of all new businesses see a life span of ten years. Those figures mean you have a lot of competition, but also have room to grow and time to expand.
Developing your small enterprise into a juggernaut is a long-term process that requires some preparation. Before you see any increase in manpower, revenue, and publicity, you’ll need to find the soft spots in the industry. How do you do that? That’s easy. Just follow these few simple tips.
1. Long-Term Planning
Have you constructed a business plan yet? That might be a good place to start. Many small companies grow at a high rate in their infancy. This can make it overwhelming to actually map out a direction for the future. But, now that you are at an inflection point, it’s important to outline the goals you want to achieve in business. Marketing and budgeting are two components that must be integrated into your long-term strategy.
Your research and investing will begin to take shape once you analyze opportunities within the market. Understanding your financial position allows you to evaluate risk and prospects. Some trial and error may be required to get a complete read on what tactics work best. Results of such campaigns should be easily demonstrated through quarterly revenue reports. Often times it is necessary to revisit you agenda and adjust it accordingly. And, as always, the more experience you earn, the better judge you become.
Chances are that if you aren’t running an efficient business, you won’t be running any business in the near future. Pinpointing cost-effective methods is key to maintaining a strong bottom line. How do you do this? It’s easy. Break down the numbers. Determine how much value each decision results in — at least to the best of your ability, as some cannot be quantified.
If you’re in a blue-collar industry, are your drivers taking the most efficient routes? Do you own the most efficient vehicles from Nextran Truck Centers? Are two people doing a job that only requires one person? These questions are easily answered through some simple research.
There are plenty of tools to help you compare your business to other similar businesses in the rea. And, you can always find help analyzing the local industry. If you’re at a point where you are ready to grow, it’s vital to reconsider some of your early processes and tweak them to your economic advantage.
3. Build Your Brand
Everyone wants a hard-working, honest company to be available when needed. That’s where you come in — if you’re branded correctly. If you’re not making a pitch to potential clients, you’re setting yourself apart in a negative way.
Building your brand may require some time off the clock, but it will certainly be worth the extra effort. Offer to speak at industry conferences, hold local seminars, or even host a workshop. Displaying that you are a leader in your trade delivers a strong message to customers. Who knows, you might even pull in some business from your peers.
4. Scale Intelligently
Planning, number crunching, and branding mean nothing if you are unable to scale your business aptly. Use the new information you receive from expanding to your advantage by tapping into new clients, employees, and markets. Again, experimentation will be required to find the correct track, but the momentum you gain is too powerful to waste because of poor management.
Surround yourself with trustworthy, intelligent thinkers. Develop innovative sales techniques by learning from your existing customer base. And, be flexible in your process. Be careful though, you might just get what you want.