Tips to Consider When Expanding Your Small Business
In their first few years of business, many small companies are in “survival” mode. And unfortunately, with the sheer volume of things to do typically associated with that time, small business owners can find themselves unintentionally “coasting” – just keeping their head above water by fulfilling the day-to-day tasks needed to keep the business going. The more time that goes by operating in that manner, the more risk of stagnation when it comes to the growth of the business. If you can relate, just know this: Making the choice and the time to prioritize and put in the necessary work towards the growth of your business is one of the best ways to increase the chances that your company will not only survive, but thrive.
With careful planning, and the right partners by your side to provide guidance and expertise, your growth goals really are within reach, no matter how specific. We’ve provided some points that we hope can help you as you consider your next steps …
Rethink Your Customer Experience
Your business’s reputation has never been as important as it is right now. In our digital age, anyone can make their opinion known online, and as everyone knows, online reviews have become a vital part of almost any business’s success. Hence, customers’ (or potential customers’) perception of your business can potentially affect your chances for successful growth more than ever. So, be sure to set systems in place that prove your worth to customers by focusing on delivering a quality customer experience. Take a hard look at your current way of doing business and ask yourself: What are some internal processes you can improve to deliver a seamless purchasing experience for your customers? While you’re at it, another thing you’ll want to do is conduct a fresh evaluation of the quality of some of the more essential customer-facing aspects of your business, such as your website user experience.
In addition to improving your customer experience, consider giving special care and attention to your existing customer relationships. They are, after all, responsible for getting you to where you are now! Remember, if you exceed your customers’ expectations, they are likely to recommend you to their network. And just like online reviews, referrals have become one of the most trusted sources of information influencing people’s shopping and purchase decisions. So take the time to reach out to your loyal customers to show your appreciation for them – whether it be through a phone call to check in, requesting a customer satisfaction survey, or sending them a gift.
Study Your Competition … and Look Within
To paraphrase an old saying, keep your friends close, and your competitors closer. It is never a bad idea to take an objective look at what your competitors have been doing, to see what’s working for them. Research the methods your competitors are employing to further establish and grow their businesses, and, with an open mind, benchmark those strategies against your own practices. You just might learn some valuable insights that spark ideas to incorporate new or revised practices that enhance your business and give you a better edge in the marketplace.
New ideas for expansion might also be within your own wheelhouse. For example, if your business involves working relationships with one or more supplier partners, take the time to talk with those vendors to learn more about the other types of businesses they support. This is a great way to identify opportunities to create new business partnerships that may allow you to expand into new markets and grow your business exponentially, while at the same time strengthening your professional network of resources.
Refresh Your Social Media Presence
Having a strong, consistent presence on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to showcase your company’s brand, and connect with customers on a personal level. When your business posts social media content regularly, consumers can find your pages more easily and are also more likely to share your business with their friends and colleagues.
Posting content on social media organically isn’t the only way to grow your online audience. To take your efforts one step further, your business will need to position itself in front of the right audience. A great way to do this is to consider paid social media advertising. Through tools such as Facebook Business Manager, you can run custom ads while specifying the demographics of the individuals your ads will be targeted to. Since this can be done at a relatively low cost, you could be one step away from attracting a new customer base without incurring substantial financial investment.
If you already feel your business has an established presence on social media, great! Find out how you can improve upon that presence by seeking a consultation from a digital marketing agency that will be able to provide you with expert advice regarding recommended next steps.
Make Smart Hiring Decisions
When considering your company’s growth goals, you will need to make sure that you have the necessary staff in place to make them possible. To start, discuss your expansion plans with your existing team, to gain their insights – after all, they are “the boots on the ground” making things happen every day. This is a great way to potentially identify the areas of your business that need the most attention, and to determine if adding roles to those areas would contribute to the future growth and success of your business or not. If so, always keep in mind that businesses should hire new employees when doing so is financially feasible, to avoid any potential setbacks. And, while conducting the interview process, make sure to keep a consistent list of questions for each applicant, phrased specifically with each open position in mind. This approach will enable you to better objectively compare applicants, and help ensure you hire the right person for each role on your team.
Consider Your Financial Options
More often than not, businesses require financing in order to meet their long-term growth goals. This financing is typically used to purchase things such as equipment or a larger space, or to provide working capital. Do you have a trusted financial advisor to discuss your goals with? A financial advisor will be able to provide expert guidance for your business by suggesting financing options and unique products and services that can help you better manage your funds as your business grows.
No matter the size of your business, our team of business banking professionals at Sunflower Bank and First National 1870 are ready to help. We offer a variety of business accounts to best suit your needs. And with products and services including everything from business lines of credit, to credit cards and SBA loans (and more), our financing options provide the right solutions to help make your goals a reality. We also realize that every community is unique, so we offer business banking solutions tailored to where you live and work. Contact our team of financial professionals today to see how we can help make your business’s vision for growth a reality.