Small businesses can grow in boom times as well as periods of difficulty by working smarter and taking advantage of opportunities. Put these effective business growth tips into practise in your business.
1. Utilise new technology
Modern technology can save you time, improve productivitym reduce your operational costs, and contribute to your overall business growth. Make use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools to market your business.
2. Communicate better
Always take a friendly but professional approach to any form of customer interaction including written invoices, quotes and emails. Create guidelines for dealing with customers in writing and over the phone. Reply to messages as soon as possible. If you take too long to return a call or email, you may lose a potential customer to a competitor.
Try writing a blog or column about your chosen industry. Think about sponsoring an event or gifting your products or services to a local sports team, community group or school.
3. Become more innovative
Even if your products and services are selling well, always look out for new ways to refine your business. Organise regular brainstorming sessions and invite your team to share their ideas on ways to improve products or services. Your business growth may hinge on the products and services that you are currently offering, or develop of the future.
4. Tighten up your credit policies
For any orders, make sure your customer completes a credit application and that they understand your terms of trade. Encourage your customers to clear payments quickly by emailing invoices and giving clients a clear time frame to pay. Revisit your terms of trade and make any necessary changes if need be. Make it as easy as possible for your customer to pay you, giving as many options as appropriate including online payments such as integrapay.
5. Improve your record keeping
It’s important to keep business records for the purposes of tax, and also so you can start to develop a database of existing and future customers to market to. Program such as Xero allows you to run all of your accounts within the same progam and for more specialised areas such as inventory management, point of sale, team scheduling, and payables management, there are hundreds of program that will integrate directly with Xero. This allows you to create a very specific stack of technology best suited to your business. Having good records in your business allows you to track your business growth so you can ensure that you’re staying on track with your goals.
6. Join business associations and organisations
Business associations and organisations give you access to industry leaders about current innovations and developments within your chosen market for an annual membership fee, or some of them could even be free. They hold regular events, seminars, short courses and networking evenings which can be incredibly valuable for meeting business owners, identifying investors, and learning more about your industry.
7. Develop an online presence to encourage business growth
Potential customers will be searching for you on the internet – often before they pick up the phone or walk through your door. An effective website needs to be functional, communicating what you offer and your point of difference. And your social medial needs to be up to date and relevant to your target audience.
8. Manage your time more effectively
Take note of where your time is going each day. Some tasks could be consolidated, or completed at a dedicated time each week. There are free or low-cost time management tools such as Toggl and Google Drive that monitor your daily workload and can generate weekly reports.
9. Buy good quality business cards and use them
Even in our very digital world, take any opportunity to hand out your business card when you meet new people – even outside of work.
10. Generate referrals
There are many ways to create referrals and grow your business. For example, you could pay for them per lead, write a blog, attend trade shows, or simply advertise through various media.
Your business will need to harness a variety of methods for it can grow sustainably, so take the time to plan ahead and try some new approaches.