It is possible to build small business success in more challenging competitive times.

The fundamental principles of staying focused on delivering real customer value while remaining faithful to your goals should underpin your policy.

 

If your business is growing, or you would like it to, here are some useful ideas to consider:

 

1. Customers first

Value your customers and build a growth plan around protecting your existing relationships. Sustainable small business growth depends on keeping your customers happy. Consider creating customer reward programs (discounts, priority delivery terms, extended payment terms, etc.) to encourage customer loyalty.

2. What makes your business unique?

Being able to express your business’s core principles and values will help you choose appropriate growth strategies. Try creating a polished “mission statement” that summarises your business uniqueness. This summary will help you focus branding and marketing efforts, and will provide the foundation for conversations with people you engage with.

3. Sell solutions, not products

You are selling a result, not a product. Avoid descriptions that emphasise the characteristics of your product and concentrate on how it benefits your customer. The most effective sales conversation begins with questions to determine if your prospective buyer has a need for what you are selling. The goal is to match small business products and services to prospect needs. If you cannot make a match, then move on.

4. Have a marketing strategy

Complementing sales efforts with marketing is integral to growth. It helps you get your message out to more prospects which creates demand for your products or services. Develop your branding and incorporate it in all your marketing. Include a “call to action” telling prospects what you would like them to do.

Your marketing strategy should also include a compact version of your “mission statement” for consistency then check over this to see whether this ties in with your message.

5. Manage growth

A challenge for many smaller business owners is shifting their perspective from within their business – the day to day activity, to outside the business – developing a strategy for growth, researching markets, understanding competition, etc.

Look for ways to harness the expertise and experience of others through networking and outsourcing. Join groups and attend meetings, and research on-line and social media facilities. It takes time but can yield valuable benefits without significant expenditure.

6. Fund growth

When your new business level requires expanded facilities, new equipment and increased staff, how will you pay for it all?

Managing cash flow is the biggest small business hurdle, better to plan ahead by making contingencies than facing them head on when times are critical. Funding opportunities have grown dramatically in recent years, arm yourself with information and dig in.

For advice on business funding, visit the Government business finance support finder at https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support-finder.

7. Manage expansion

As your business grows, the workload becomes more distributed, requiring more employees. Controlled growth means adding these employees slowly and deliberately. Consider temporary contract employees and freelance/consultant staff. It is an excellent way to harness a skill you may only need temporarily, and ‘test driving’ an employee helps to find if you have a good fit for longer term employment.

If you feel you need support consider peer board mentoring or business strategists using them as a soundboard to test, evaluate or discuss your ideas. There is a wealth of information out there which comes from a plethora of experience far greater than yours alone. What you do with it, however, is up to you.

If you read up on truly successful people, you often hear stories on how they choose purposely to work with others whom they considered better than them, those who offer an alternative skill set to theirs or how they chose individuals with the same goals, aspirations, and ethos as their own. Whichever you prefer make it a considered decision.

8. Going forward.

Everyone in your business will have an impact on sustainability and growth. Keep to your business principles, focus on your customers and engage help when you need it.

Running a business requires dedication, time and commitment, it also requires faith and energy. If you feel yourself flagging be kind to yourself by recharging your batteries. Evaluate what you’ve achieved so far and involve others around you, be it friends, family or acquaintances and remind yourself why you chose this path in the beginning.

 

To learn more on how we may help, give us a call and tell us a little about your business or email hello@mediaboxmarketing.co.uk. Check out our page on workshops available in your area.