As a small business owner, figuring out how to grow your business is usually all your responsibility. Implementing new growth strategies can be exciting, but it can also be extraordinarily nerve-wracking at the same time – unlike multinational businesses, you do not have the same solid base to fall back upon if you make a mistake.
This is why it’s essential to have a clear idea of what you’re doing before you commit to a strategy. With so many options out there, it can be challenging to determine which one is right for your business, especially if you’re looking for ways to grow as quickly as possible.
To make things easier, you should consider these four options when growing your business:
1. Build and Update Your Website
A number of small business owners get their start on social media platforms and depend on them to reach their consumers. While this is a great way to get started, a website is a must if you’re looking to truly scale your business.
A website ensures you have a permanent online presence, allowing customers to buy from you even if you’re not online personally. It also allows you to get listed on search engines, which can help you reach out to a new customer base. It also provides you with credibility – clients are more inclined to trust and buy from companies that have a website they can look through, as they are able to quickly learn about your business history and your credentials.
However, building a website is not the end of this step. Once you have a website, you will also need to make sure to update it frequently.
Websites that are not updated look unprofessional and out of date. Additionally, clients who visit your website through search engines may conclude that the lack of updates means you are no longer in business and approach competitors instead.
Your website does not need to be complicated or crammed full of features. A simple website can work just as well, as long as you use it to build consumer confidence.
2. Minimise Financial Risk
A lack of cash flow is one of the biggest challenges that can hold businesses back from expanding. This can happen due to a variety of reasons. For one, growing too fast can leave you cash strapped until you build your reserves again. However, another, more concerning issue is delayed payment from clients and other debtors.
If your clients do not pay invoices on time, you’ll find that your existing cash reserves are being depleted very quickly. This is because they rely on prompt payment to be replenished – if you’re not paid on time, you will have to draw from savings to pay your suppliers and other creditors. Additionally, you’ll have to use savings to pay for overheads until your pending invoices are paid.
This is why it’s essential to look for a way to reduce this type of financial risk. One of the best options available to you is to invest in a credit management software to help ensure your clients pay their bills on time. An effective credit management software can be linked to other software your business already uses, allows you to understand why clients are paying late, and helps you come up with ways to address these issues.
3. Hire the Right People
It can be tempting to hire people who are right out of college or who are willing to pay for minimum wage or just slightly over minimum wage. After all, keeping costs down will help free up more money to allow you to expand, correct?
Bad hires can have two major drawbacks for businesses – they negatively affect your company both financially and in terms of your reputation.
A report from the US Department of Labor shows that the average cost of a bad hire is essentially 30% of what you pay the employee. So, if you’re hiring someone who isn’t appropriate for a job, you should essentially budget 130% of what you plan on paying them. This financial hit won’t be visible at first but will show itself when you consider the amount of time you spend training the employee, advertising for a replacement, and then training their replacement.
And you will need to replace a bad hire. If an employee is unqualified or inappropriate for a job, they will affect the morale of the rest of your team. If that employee is in a customer-facing role, they will cause your company to look unprofessional to clients and may even result in lost business.
Remember, that 30% number is an average – a bad hire may well cost you much more than that. This is why it’s always best to hire the right people from the get-go, even if you have a budget a bit more for payroll.
4. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Most small businesses already know the value of social media. However, if you’re not already leveraging this tool to your advantage, it’s time to do so.
Using social media is not only limited to businesses that sell products that lend themselves well to photographs. Even if you offer services, it is still possible to create content that will engage people on websites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
These websites will also allow you to reach out to a wider audience who may not have heard of you previously. If your social media content is engaging, it encourages people to visit your website, look at your business in further detail, and potentially hire you or buy from you. It’s a great way to grow quickly because you’re able to connect with people who may not search out your niche on search engines but may still be interested in your services.
Growing your business may seem like a challenging and costly undertaking. However, if you take the right steps and are careful with every step you take, it is possible to accelerate the progress of your company without hurting your savings or affecting your relationship with existing customers and staff.