New business owners have many goals when they start, including the rapid growth and recognition of their business. Overnight success is not often the norm: there is no “special sauce” to add to the recipe for instant results, and nothing is guaranteed. However, there are opportunities to reach the growth stages that can make a business successful. We asked small business executives to share their tips for accelerating growth.
Hire the right people
- Before you even think about the growth path of your business, you need to make sure you have strong people who can help you with it. “When a small business grows, it’s important to have the right actors at the table, people who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves.
Focus on established sources of revenue
- Rather than attracting new customers, draw your attention to the customers you already have. You can do this by implementing a referral or customer loyalty program, or by trying out marketing strategies based on past buying patterns to encourage repeat business. This focus on your established market is especially important if you are seeking funding.
Reduce your risks
- Risk is an inevitable part of starting up and growing a business. It is impossible to control everything, but there are many ways to limit internal and external threats to your business and its growth. An important resource to help you with this is your insurance company. Small businesses need to manage their growth to avoid disruptions that can hurt operations as small businesses grow, add space or equipment, create new products or services, or increase their operational footprint.
- A common feature of successful startups is the ability to quickly change direction when market changes occur. By being able to quickly adapt and change, you can test different business approaches and find out what works best.
Focus on your customer experience
- Customer perception of your business can really make or break a business. Provide high quality experiences and products and they will quickly sing your praise in social media; spoil, and they will tell the world even faster. “Small businesses are agile and often better able to identify, anticipate, and respond to their customers’ needs than larger companies.” Small companies with the best performance benefit from this advantage, they bring new and innovative products and services to market faster. They also build and maintain long-term relationships with their customers.
Invest in yourself
- In the early stages of your business you are likely to see a very low profit margin (or no gain), so all the money you make should go straight into helping you grow. “The ability of a start-up to invest in itself [helps] accelerate growth.” In these first few years, it’s important to make sure you drive sales back into the business. It is important to invest early and massively to grow quickly. “
Always think in advance
- While agility is an important feature for a start-up, you cannot fly past the seat of your pants when running a business. Planning your next step, even if you need to anticipate all sorts of scenarios, is the best way to stay sound and secure as you grow your business.