Developing a budding business is tough. It comes with challenges, uncertainties, and growing pains. The majority of businesses buckle under the pressure – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 25 percent of new businesses survive past their 15th year. You need foresight and workable plans to ensure your business growth remains sustainable.
Presented by Grit and Initiative, here is some practical advice on how you can get your business to grow effectively and, indeed, thrive in the long run:
1. Create a solid foundation with a well-thought-out business plan
Growth requires structure. Without a solid structure, your business could essentially collapse under its own weight. And as the experts at Northeastern University explain, to create a structure, you need a well-thought-out business plan for growth.
How do you create a business plan? Start by evaluating where your business is at right now. Focus on where your business has to be to expand, and the steps you need to take to get there.
Some targets successful businesses aim for include:
- Achieving an increased amount of monthly revenue
- Adding new clients or accounts
- Increasing customer lifetime value
- Scalability – using existing resources to drive growth
- Improving existing products or services
- Troubleshooting internal and external problems
Your business plan should also include information about how you intend to market your business. Although this may sound like a costly expense, you can actually put in some work yourself while you save up to hire professionals to handle the heavy lifting. For example, if you’re in need of a logo, use an online logo maker to create an engaging, shareable image that will proudly and accurately represent your business and its services/products.
Your primary goal should be to create a sustainable trajectory to grow your business. That involves setting achievable milestones and getting there within a fixed time frame. It’s important to be realistic and grounded and take measured action.
2. Make your customers your number one priority
Don’t let your customers – existing and new – fall by the wayside while you achieve growth. Every business is a service business, in the end, and your customers are your lifeblood. Keeping them happy should be a priority. Talk to your customers, get their feedback, and address their pain points. Having a good reputation with your customers will pave the way toward seamless, organic growth.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms like Salesforce can automate many of your customer-related tasks to make your customer-related initiatives more successful. These tools will allow you to learn methods and concepts to manage company growth. The best ones also integrate with other work-utility tools, giving you a holistic view and control over your growth endeavors.
3. Get the location, marketing, and internet presence right
Per Oberlo, 42 percent of all businesses fail due to poor market demand. To be in demand, you need to be at the right place (location) and your products should be brought to the attention of the customers (marketing). It’s a good idea to use the internet (located everywhere) to maximum effect.
Start by bolstering your online presence – tune up your website, create a business page, and appear on social media. Further, launch advertising campaigns to attract customers. When you work with an innovative digital marketing agency, you’ll be able to effectively build your brand with expert web design, social media marketing, SEO services, and more!
4. Acquire the right team and support
You can’t do everything alone; you need a motivated team to support you. Look for reliable people with complementary skill sets who can shoulder some of your workloads, manage your clients, and generally look after your business. Technology can also lend a helping hand and leave you free to focus on what matters – growth. For example, you and your team can track time – and consequently productivity – effectively using certain specialized software. You’ll be able to access real-time time reports from your smartphone, integrate with other similar solutions, and keep an eye on your business on the fly.
5. Make sure you have enough gas in the tank
Finally, a word of caution – growth requires serious working capital. There will be countless extra overheads like utilities, rent, and equipment costs. You’ll have to pay wages, market, travel, provide free samples, and maybe even host your clients for dinner. Further, if you do grow successfully, there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive your dues on time. That’s why you’ll need to have a significant reserve of liquidity on hand to finance your growth.
As FundThrough notes, there are ways to improve your working capital, like doing thorough credit checks on customers before extending credit to them, and simply reducing unnecessary expenditures. Turn a discerning eye to your practices and search for opportunities to save.. Through it all, don’t be afraid of failure – mistakes will happen and the best-laid plans will go awry. What happens afterward is important – do you learn from the experience and adapt or let the failure knock your business over? A growth-oriented mindset and a willingness to improve will put you firmly on the road to long-term success