Having a great idea is only the first step in launching your business and is, by no means, a guarantee of success. Entrepreneurs that have succeeded of course have a reputation of focus, discipline, and unconventional thinking, but it’s more than just that. In this post, we’ve outlined the 5 essential tips to successful small business growth.
Timing is Everything
While it is difficult to gauge the right time, there does need to be a place for your product or service in the marketplace. If the market isn’t ready for your service, you may have to hold out until it is. This could mean waiting until the market catches up (requiring resources to survive) or adjusting your offering to something that the market is ready to consume.
As a small business, you have the distinct advantage of being able to make choices and implement changes quickly, without the exhausting bureaucracy and politics of a large corporation or enterprise. You can use free online tools such as Quora or SurveyMonkey to better understand and even anticipate your customer’s needs. This gives you the freedom to constantly innovate your offering to stay ahead of the competition. Of course, you’ll need agile and resilient leadership that is willing to fail, recognize those failures, and move forward.
Build Brand Equity
Creating a successful and scalable business is very much dependent on establishing your brand. Today’s consumer wants to associate positive memories and experiences with its purchases (remember the campaign for the Nokia Lumia 1020).
A brand that will help your customers connect with your product or service translates into sustainable growth.
How can you do this?
Define a clear target audience, and understand their needs.
Develop a message that speaks directly to them, answering a specific need.
Inspire and influence – a branded message will do much more for you than a highlight of product features and functions.
Establish Repeatable Sales Processes
Are your sales processes scalable? Selling to a few customers is one thing, but creating a repeatable sales and customer delivery process that can scale on mass will spell success in growing your small business. Not sure if your sales will scale? You know your model works when:
You can add new hires at the same productivity level as your sales leader.
You can consistently increase sources of customer leads.
You can consistently forecast your sales conversion rate.
Your cost to acquire a new customer is significantly less than the revenue he/she will bring.
Your customers get the right product in the right place and at the right time.
According to a recent survey of Small Business Owners performed by Bank of America, 64% said they wish they took better advantage of technology innovations to help manage their business. These innovations can be as simple as opening company pages on Facebook or LinkedIn to increase your online presence. Done right, it can make a world of difference.
If you can identify a need in your business, chances are there is a technology out there to fill the gap. With all the applications and services available over the Internet, it is just a matter of putting together the right solution (or series of solutions) that bridges the gap between your business model and the application of accessible technologies. In future blogs, we will discuss some of these technologies and services that can simplify your life (and business) in regards to marketing, financial management, and time efficiency.
In the same Bank of America survey mentioned above, researchers found that small business owners “consider managing the ongoing success of their business to be twice as stressful as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, nearly three times as stressful as raising children, and more than four times as stressful as managing their personal finances.”
You get the point, managing a small business is stressful and that stress can be relentless. While not related directly to your business, your stress levels directly correlate to the success of your endeavors. As a manager, it’s important that you take time for yourself – spend time with your family, go to the gym, watch a movie. A happier boss means happier employees and higher chances of success.