If you have been working on your business for more than a few months, you realize there is more to growing it than high hopes. The truth is, it is very hard to grow your small business. There are many ingredients that go into a successful venture, never mind seeing it build. What can be done to successfully grow your small business that you aren’t doing now?
There are times when owning your own business can be frustrating, leaving you wondering if you are doing the right thing, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some things that need to be considered before you decide to throw in the towel.
What You Need In Place To Successfully Grow Your Small Business
If you are going to be successful, then you are going to have to get honest. It takes more than a good idea to build a company that thrives in today’s market. It’s okay to realize you don’t have all the answers, most entrepreneurs know they aren’t going to inherently possess every skill they need to have to make their venture take off.
Get A Mentor -Let’s get to the point. If you have never run a business before then chances are your first go at it is not going to be smooth. There is a tremendous amount of pressure in the first year and a half to make something happen and worrying about running out of finances before you get going is always going to be looming. Give yourself a chance to successfully grow your small business, find a person who has done this before and ask them if they are willing to mentor you.
Sometimes your mentor is a former colleague or someone you know in your industry with wisdom and experience. Ask them to grab a cup of coffee, share your vision and ask if they’d like to help you in some way. Humbling yourself enough to know it will take more than you is the first step to successfully grow your small business.
If you can’t find a mentor in your circles, there are some great organizations of retired entrepreneurs who donate their time to fledgling CEOs like you. SCORE helps small business owners every day. You can contact SCORE about their mentorship programs and services if your list of mentors comes up short or if you don’t want to work with someone you know.
Formulate A Sales Strategy – By strategy we mean a solid, detailed plan. Just like your business plan, a sales strategy is essential to growing a business. You will need to know who your ideal customer is (besides just having the means to purchase), who your closest competitors are and why your ideal customer should buy from you.
You will need to be able to articulate in your sales strategy why your product or service is better and different from your competitors without throwing them under the bus. Your sales strategy should be able to help someone understand why your product or service can stand on its own without bashing your competition.
If you need help on how to build a sales strategy from scratch, see essential #1.
Understand What It Really Costs To Do Business – Too often small business owners don’t really take the time to figure out what it actually costs to run their business and so they fail to price their product or service accordingly. Going with the 50% margin rule may not be enough or may be too much. You really need to understand what everything costs per month so you can understand how to price and most importantly, how many sales you need per month in order to grow. This can be a sobering exercise but worthwhile.
If overhead looks like more than you realized, it might be time to look at more cost effective options. PEOs can really help the young entrepreneur be able to cut enough overhead to successfully grow a small business. They are able to offer benefits and insurance at a much more cost effective rate than other solutions geared towards small businesses. It’s worth looking into to see where you can save and increase your profit margin.
Embrace Current Marketing Trends – Did you know that 85% of consumers do their research on a given product or service on the Internet before they even pick up the phone? If you are not trying to reach your customers through current social and Internet marketing trends, you are missing out on great opportunities for potential customers to find you and do their homework on why your service is better.
Not knowing much about technology is no excuse to cost your business income opportunities. Talk to others in your industry, or better yet look them up on the Internet, and find out what they are doing to be successful in this area and start implementing them as well. Blogs, social media accounts and Search Ads are just some of the ways you can tap into this amazing resource.
Learn To Manage People – By Now you have probably figured out that managing people is a little harder than you thought it would be. Most new small business owners make the mistakes any first time manager would make on the job and it may be making it difficult to successfully grow your small business..
There are two stages to failing at managing people:
Being the nice guy (gal) – A lot of inexperienced people managers start off thinking that being nice motivates people to want to work for them. The syrupy tones, agreeing to things you don’t want to and letting people run over you instead of setting good boundaries is a recipe for disaster. No one respects a doormat and a good leader isn’t one.
Taking on the role of task master – this is really the second stage but some start from here. If you do, you will fail faster than being nice first and you’ll still wind up wondering why you have employees that don’t want to be led by you. The Task Master behavior usually kicks in when being The Nice Guy didn’t work. One way inexperienced managers attempt to establish control when being nice fails is to start being difficult to please, inflexible and impersonal. No one wants to work for someone like that either. This behavior quickly leads to costly turnover. You don’t want that.
There a few great authors on how to be a good leader. One amazing resource on the topic is the series by John Maxwell. His books on leadership and dealing with people will quickly get you on your way to better people management skills.
Deciding to successfully grow your small business is not for the faint of heart but done correctly the rewards are great. Help yourself to success and start implementing one or more of these into your daily business operations today.