Growing your business can be a daunting prospect, so having the skills and knowledge is vital. In this article you will learn many skills and advice for growing your business.
5 Powerful Growth Strategies for Your Small Business
Every business owner starts out brimming with motivation and enthusiasm, and yet according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. Jump ahead to five years and that number rises to a terrifying 70%. These numbers are alarming, but that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel just yet. It’s important to put a strong business growth plan in place so that you make it past the first year goalpost and continue to grow. You need to know what to do when your business hits a plateau and how to accelerate business growth so that you’ll see success sooner. Here are five powerful strategies to ensure that your small business grows.
1. Increase Market Penetration
Market penetration means the sales volume of a good or service in relation to its total target market. Increasing your market penetration should in turn increase your market share for the product or service that you are selling. Ramping up your advertising efforts and creating attractive promotional offers are two reliable ways to increase market penetration. Broadening the range of products or services that you offer may also prove effective.
2. Market Development
If your market has been saturated or you’re struggling to attract customers in your local area, it’s time to think about market development. Market development means finding new customers for your current products. This could mean B2B marketing, promoting your products to a different demographic or expanding into international markets.
For example, a spa might consider selling their signature products via a local supermarket or cosmetics store. Similarly, a restaurant owner might expand to offer catering for private parties and business conferences.
3. Expand Your Product Line
Expanding your range of products or services can prove hugely beneficial and make your business significantly more appealing to your target market. It’s a great way to refresh customer interest and generate a buzz that will help to attract new customers, too.
Of course, it could be that you already offer a large range of products. If this is the case, consider taking a look at how much revenue each product brings in and phase out weaker-performing items to make room for new products to excite your loyal customers.
4. Marketing Channels
If your marketing efforts just aren’t bringing in business, it’s time to consider changing the channel. This doesn’t mean abandoning your current efforts, but it’s always worth investigating new ways to reach your target customers.
Most small businesses use email, social media and a company website. If you aren’t already employing these three marketing channels, then it’s time to do so. If you are regularly using all three channels to communicate with your customers, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the emails clear and engaging?
- Is the website content rich, or does it simply show your opening hours and contact details?
- Do you show up on social media every day, or once in a blue moon?
On top of this, it’s time to consider further expanding your marketing channels. Here are some of the most popular and cost-effective marketing strategies that many small businesses are capitalising on:
- Video content
- Influencer marketing
Market segmentation means dividing your market into various groups and creating targeted campaigns to appeal directly to each group. The most effective marketing is specific, rather than general; you can’t be all things to all people.
You may want to divide your market up by:
Of course, you will need data in order to be able to create the above segments. Email surveys, site analytics and customer purchase history is enormously helpful for this. It may be worth employing a CRM tool to accurately optimise your segmentation process, as this can save you a lot of guesswork and man hours.
If you’re struggling to grow your small business then the above strategies, when employed correctly, should help you to grow at a steady and sustainable rate. Of course, the effectiveness of the above strategies will depend on the needs of your specific business. For example, a business with a large customer base will benefit more from segmentation than one with a few big customers. Take some time to sit down and develop a plan that is realistic for your specific business and monitor your progress carefully to help you optimise growth.
The Importance of A Growth Mindset and How to Achieve It
It’s certainly not easy to change your mindset overnight, so read on for tips on how to adopt a growth mindset so you can achieve success.
A growth mindset is a set of beliefs and thoughts that help people to be more open to challenge, learn from mistakes, and improve themselves in the face of adversity. As a business owner, a growth mindset is vital to your success; it’s what will enable you to overcome tough times and keep you striving to improve when the going is good, rather than becoming complacent.
Growth vs Fixed Mindset
A growth mindset is essentially the belief that humans have an unlimited capacity to grow, change and improve. A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is centered around the idea that talents and abilities are innate and thus cannot be changed.
Someone with a growth mindset views failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. They see challenges as a chance to grow their skills, rather than something that they should avoid at all costs.
For a business owner with a growth mindset, success is less important than striving for improvement in all areas of life. When times are tough, the person will have the resilience needed to get back up and try again.
In contrast, a business owner with a fixed mindset is more likely to become discouraged and give up when things don’t go their way the first time around. They are less willing to take risks or challenge themselves because they fear failure, and see it as absolute.
But how do you cultivate a growth mindset?
Surround Yourself with the Right People
People who see themselves as fixed and static can sometimes be contagious, so it’s important not to surround yourself with the wrong people. Negative attitudes are contagious, so if you want a growth mindset then make sure that those around you think similarly.
When talking about your own business or career goals, for example, you should always surround yourself with people who are actively trying to grow themselves. These types of conversations help you adopt a growth mindset, while also being an opportunity to learn about new techniques and skills that could be useful in the future.
Doing this will inspire you to push towards self-improvement on a daily basis, which is vital.
If you have family and friends who question your goals and encourage you to slack off rather than motivating you to work harder, then it’s important to find a group or community of like-minded people.
It’s also important to seek out a consultant/advisor who understands the particular struggles that you are facing and can guide you along the right path.
Find Your Why
One of the most important things that you can do when trying to adopt a growth mindset is finding your “why”. Having a strong reason why will help you persevere in times of doubt and frustration, so don’t take this step lightly.
Some helpful questions to consider are:
- What is your business’ core purpose?
- Who are you trying to help, and why?
- What impact will it have on the wider world?
Start Using the Word “Yet”
The way that you talk about your goals, ambitions and tasks can have a huge effect on the outcome.
Instead of saying “I’m not comfortable speaking in front of large audiences”, say “I’m not comfortable speaking in front of large audiences YET.”
When you say “yet” the implication is that the gap between where you are now and where you want to be will change.
This subtle shift in language helps reinforce a growth mindset because it shows that nothing is ever set in stone; there’s always room for improvement.
It also gives an indication of your desire to grow and improve. The words we speak are powerful, so be mindful of what comes out of your mouth.
Focus on the Process, Not the End Result
When trying to achieve a growth mindset, it’s important that you focus on the process and not just the end result. Focusing on the end result is a surefire way to become demotivated and slip back into a fixed mindset. Remember that the biggest changes happen little by little – you may not notice a difference from one day to the next, or even one month to the next. However, over time, results slowly but surely compound to achieve a transformation.
Don’t Neglect Personal Growth
Finally, it’s vital that you take time to grow yourself as an individual. Even if your goals are purely business-based, you’re still a human being who needs nurturing and care just like anyone else.
Read self-development books, try new things and challenge yourself outside of work, whether that means learning new skills just for fun or taking up a physical activity.
When you become the best version of yourself, you are able to show up as the best business owner you can be.
A growth mindset is the key to success on your entrepreneurial journey. It will help you persevere when things get tough, and allow you to grow into the best version of yourself. A growth mindset not only allows you to achieve more, it also enables you to enjoy the journey on a deeper level, which is crucial in entrepreneurship.
The reason why you’re afraid to invest in the growth of your business
Why You Need An Accountant For The Growth Of Your Business
Businesses often put off hiring an accountant until they’ve grown bigger, but that’s a mistake that can actually delay growth. The services of an accountant extend beyond simply minimizing your tax bill, although that’s an undeniably valuable advantage. In addition to saving you time and money, a good accountant helps you to manage your cash flow, plan ahead, make smart decisions and reduce any risks to the financial health of your business. Here’s why investing in a quality accountant beats the DIY route every time.
1. Save Money On Your Tax Return
Let’s start with the most obvious advantage of hiring an accountant: to save money in taxes. Filing your taxes is notoriously complex and even a small, innocent mistake can result in a hefty fine. Chartered accountants train for years in order to be able to complete this process accurately, so doing your own return puts you at risk of making expensive mistakes.
Furthermore, a qualified accountant will have up-to-date knowledge of tax breaks, loopholes and business incentives to save you a sizable sum of money that you can re-invest in scaling up. If you do your own accounting or go with a very cheap firm, you’re unlikely to benefit from these savings.
2. Free Up Valuable Time
In addition to saving you money, an accountant will also save you a lot of time that you can put to far better use. As a small business owner, it’s vital that you keep accurate financial records and stay on top of your accountants. However, it’s equally true that your efforts are most valuable when concentrated on your area of expertise. Hiring an accountant allows you to ensure that your accounts are being managed well whilst allowing you to focus on growing your business.
3. Startup Advice
As mentioned, many small business owners are reluctant to hire an accountant in the beginning stages. However, an experienced accountant will be able to provide valuable advice during the startup stage that can accelerate your growth on areas such as:
- Key financial risks
- Financial forecasting
- Tax incentives
- Overall financial health
Hiring an accountant from the very beginning can help you build a solid financial foundation to ensure that your business is around for many years to come. They can advise you on which legal structure to choose and offer unbiased, constructive criticism of your business plan. It’s also worth noting that an accountant-approved business plan is more attractive to prospective investors.
4. Manage Cash Flow
Managing your cash flow well is essential to the growth of your business. Poor cash flow management is a serious threat to even the most profitable businesses, so it’s very important to get it right. Accountants are experienced in managing cash flow and can produce regular forecasts to ensure that you always have enough funds to continue operations as you scale up and market conditions change.
5. Growth Management
A quality accountant can help to fund and manage the growth of your business. Firstly, an experienced accountant will help you to identify sources of funding and present your case to potential investors. Additionally, they can also help you manage sudden growth spurts and ensure that they don’t overwhelm you and damage the financial health of your business, as is often the case.
6. Market Knowledge
It pays to hire an experienced accountant who knows exactly where your company is positioned in relation to your market sector. You can leverage this knowledge to create your unique selling point, price your services appropriately and gain a competitive advantage. In short, an experienced accountant allows you to benchmark your company which is incredibly useful for growth.
An Accountant Is An Investment
It pays to hire a high quality, proactive accountant. Whilst there are many cheap services out there, you’ll see the greatest return on investment from hiring an accountant who has the time, knowledge and experience to grow your business. A good accountant will do everything they can to not only save you money on taxes but to provide valuable advice, manage your cash flow and secure the financial health of your business for years to come.
When is the best time to start planning for growth?
I’ve spoken to many entrepreneurs over the years that have a clear idea of what they want to achieve for the future of their business but don’t have the time to make it happen.
An early start
There are many business owners out there who only think about the next steps when their business reaches full capacity in one way or the other, this could be when they can’t take on more clients due to the size of their premises, don’t have sufficient funding to branch out into new markets or even when they need more qualified staff. Some of these limiting factors for a business can take months or even years to overcome and that’s time where your profits are lower than they should be and your competitors might be moving ahead.
The best laid plans
While growth should always be at the back of your mind, a plan needs to be put together to identify the exact mechanism you will use. If you think back to when you started your business it’s fair to assume that the next stage of your business will take a similar amount of time, effort and risk, with that in mind it can be helpful to create a new business plan and spend some time reflecting on your successes and things you would do differently if given the chance.
Don’t wing it
It’s easy to start taking little steps towards growth without a clear idea of what the endgame will look like, and while some people would argue that it’s better to do something rather than nothing, I have always believed in getting the full potential out of every resource that I invested. Business owners are often put into situations where they have to choose between 2 good scenarios or 2 bad ones its very rarely black and white, which is why having a plan can help you decide on what fits best for your business.
It’s important to give yourself time related objectives and to coordinate the various different parts of your growth strategy to work together in order to save time and money. For example you don’t want your new marketing campaign to start 3 months before you move to your new premises because you will then receive customers that you can’t provide a service for and they will be dissatisfied. Timelines can also be a great motivator when things get busy and you need something to focus on.
This is such a common theme that they even have a word for it, overtrading occurs where a business owner is so distracted expanding their operation that they forget about the existing clients that their business is built upon and the levels of service drop. Whatever you do the core of your business still has to be handled consistently and loyal customers need to be looked after.