As exciting as it is to be in business for yourself, there are many unique challenges you’ll face. A small business owner has to handle all the challenges of selling, delivering, financing, managing and growing the business often with no support, while trying to make it a success. You need to make sure you are on top of your game while ensuring your customers are happy. We’ve compiled a few tips on making these challenges easier to handle.
- Establish a value proposition
A clear value proposition can go a long way. For your business to sustain long-term growth, you must understand what sets it apart from the competition. Identify why customers come to you for a product or service. What makes you relevant, differentiated and credible? Use your answer to explain to other consumers why they should do business with you.
- Identify your ideal customer
You started your business to solve a problem. Who is that audience? Is that audience your ideal customer? If not, who are you serving? Nail down your ideal customer, and target this audience as you adjust business to stimulate growth.
- Define your key performance indicators
Proper identification of KPI (key performance indicators) can make or break your business. Your key performance indicators are things you can measure in your business that define your success. For example, many businesses will track the value of sales but you may also want to track how many clients you register each week. Changes must be measurable. If you’re unable to measure a change, you have no way of knowing whether it’s effective. Identify which key indicators affect the growth of your business, then dedicate time to those areas. .
- Verify your revenue streams
It’s obvious that revenue is life line – a clogged revenue stream can bring your business to a grinding halt. What are your current revenue streams? What revenue streams could you add to make your business more profitable? Once you identify the potential for new revenue streams, ask yourself if they are sustainable in the long run. Some great ideas or cool products don’t necessarily have revenue streams attached. Be careful to isolate and understand the difference.
- Look to your competition
Learn to learn from your competition. No matter your industry, your competition is likely excelling at something that your company is struggling with. Look toward similar businesses that are growing in new, unique ways to inform your growth strategy. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Ask yourself why your competitors have made alternate choices. Are they wrong? Or are your businesses positioned differently?
- Focus on your strengths
Sometimes, focusing on your strengths – rather than trying to improve your weaknesses – can help you establish growth strategies. Change the playing field to suit your strengths, and build upon them to grow your business.
- Invest in talent
Most small business owners try to cut corners when it comes hiring staff. Your employees have direct contact with your customers, so you need to hire people who are motivated and inspired by your company’s value proposition. You can be cheap with office furniture, marketing budgets and holiday parties. However you should hire a few, well qualified, employees, and pay them very well. The best ones will usually stick around if you need to cut back their compensation during a slow period. Make sure your payroll system gives your staff a great experience.
- You need a strategy
Developing a growth strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. In fact, due to changing market conditions, making strategic decisions based on someone else’s successes would be foolish. That’s not to say that you can’t learn from another company, but blindly implementing a cookie-cutter plan won’t create sustainable growth. You need to adapt your plan to smooth out your business’s inefficiencies, refine its strengths and better suit your customers – who could be completely different than those from a vague, one-size-fits-all strategy.
- Numbers talk
There is magic in numbers. Do not shy away from them because if you understand your numbers, you can steer the company in the right direction. Your company’s data should lend itself to all your strategic decisions. Specifically, you can use the data from your key indicators and revenue streams to create a personalized growth plan. That way, you’ll better understand your business and your customers’ nuances, which will naturally lead to growth. Some of the best tools for managing your business finances are integrated with your payroll.