Today, we are going to be talking about some of the top ways to make a small business succeed and grow, as well as the advantages, disadvantages, and characteristics of each method. Let’s get started. Here are a few ideas beyond the obvious product and service improvements that can push your company to the next level: outsourcing, property/equipment upgrades, increase in smart marketing and sales efforts, social media presence, location expansion, and franchising.
First let’s talk about outsourcing. These days, you can pretty much outsource almost anything that you need to do for your business. Outsourcing just means that a lot of the tasks that you need to do on a daily basis can be transferred to outside specialists that spend all of their time doing these types of tasks. For example, if you need to revamp your business logo to make it look more professional, you can outsource it. If you need a website or Facebook page created, you can outsource it. If you want help in making your marketing program the best it can possibly be, you can outsource it. If you want accounting, financial, or funding help, you should outsource it. If you need new eye-catching menus for your restaurant written, designed and created, you can also outsource it. Even if you need professional voicemail greeting, you can outsource that as well. And the cost for much of the outsourced work that you will need to do can often be very inexpensive, especially if you use my favorite 3 sites I recommend for finding outsourcing help are: Fiverr, Elance, and Guru.com.
Property and Equipment upgrades
Mostly for customer facing businesses –
Now this will apply more to you if you have retail or service business, like let’s say, a restaurant, or a nail salon, or a bike shop, or something similar that’s directly customer-facing, and probably with a storefront. This will apply much less so to a small business that’s just housed in an office. So what are property upgrades? Well, basically, you would be improving your physical look and feel, whether it be the outside of a building or the interior, or both. It could also be major equipment, depending on your business.
Improves customer experience –
Doing this will help improve the overall experience for your customers and help prop up the reputation and word-of-mouth for your small business. There are many things you can do to a business to improve the look and the way it feels to your customers. You can work on making the outside facade or parking area better, if you can control that part of your property. You can do a lot of interior renovation and construction. You can expand your physical space by building outwards or taking over neighboring space. You can update major equipment, furnishings, walls, floors, and ceilings. Though this can sometimes be costly, it’s often necessary to stay competitive and grow your business in the face of stiff competition from similar businesses around you.
Now, let’s talk about how to get the right contractors and workers to perform these property upgrades while getting the best deals possible.
We usually direct our small business clients to go to Angie’s List, which is a quick and easy way to find local contractors and service people to help you with your property upgrades.
There are tons of reviews on this site that can help you make quick and informed decisions on who to hire in your area. And the best prices possible.
Increase in smart marketing
Smart marketing is the best way to get the word out about your small business and both increase your brand recognition as well as build your sales revenue over the long run. There are many ways to market your business, both online and offline.
Internet marketing can often be more effective, and cost-efficient, than marketing and advertising in more traditional ways. Whether online or offline, though, the best type of marketing for small businesses, in our opinion, is the type that directly results in sales through offers, discounts, or coupons. Simply advertising your business in print media, radio, tv, or direct mail may result in some brand exposure for your business, but it usually doesn’t immediately result in what you really want and need – sales.
Providing offers, discounts, and coupons through media, whether it’s on the Internet or through printed offers, tends to work best for small, local businesses. Some businesses use Groupon offers exclusively to help build their customer base, and have done phenomenally well with it.
Social Media Presence
What is social media? It’s websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a lot more. But let’s concentrate on the big two for your small business – Facebook and Twitter. Because both of these online communities reach a phenomenal number of people, including those local to your business, they can be remarkably helpful in helping you keep in touch with your customers and creating buzz for your products or services. Some small businesses keep their customers updated on new events or offers and discounts exclusively through either Facebook or Twitter, mostly Facebook.
Doing so for your small business can really help you to increase your connection with your customers and prospective customers as well as lead into direct sales on an ongoing basis. You can issue messages and posts on social media about upcoming special events, periodic offers and discounts, and pretty much just present your businesses’ story to the public. Let’s take a quick look at both Facebook and Twitter to see how they can help you.
OK, that brings us to something that’s very OFFline (as opposed to online), which is location expansion. This is one of the most common ways of expanding. Whether a hair salon or a restaurant or a liquor store or an auto repair shop, or really any other type of business, expanding locations is a logical way to increase sales, service a larger universe of customers, and spark much quicker growth.
When choosing to expand into another location or locations, the most important considerations are: the ability of the business owner to control multiple locations, the suitability of the new location, and the cost considerations. In order for location expansion to work, the business owner, partners and/or any hired management must be willing and able to control quality and service at more than one location. This is often a deal killer. Not only does it have to do with the physical proximity of the locations from each other (which is a big consideration), but just having more than one location will multiply the workload and require significantly more manpower.
This should be seriously considered before undertaking such a growth strategy. At the same time though, there’ll often be savings in terms of efficiency and shared resources among the locations. All of this should be weighed out carefully before embarking on a location expansion. Of course, a lot of planning should also be done on the actual locations of the new branches. Depending on the type of business, new location considerations include the type of area, foot traffic, proximity to competitor businesses, and much more.
Finally, and equally important, are the cost considerations. Not just how much it’s going to cost to add locations, but more about what the potential returns might be on the money spent to expand. The sheer amount of investment needed is not the most important thing, as a business loaner cash advance can certainly help with that. It’s more about if the expansion is even worth it in terms of what kind of financial return can be expected from the investment. Usually, if your business model is already successful in one location, and you choose a new location wisely, chances are that you can duplicate your success across locations.
Finally, let’s talk just a little bit about a growth concept related to location expansion- which is franchising. This is one of the ultimate ways to grow and expand your business exponentially. Franchising simply means that you take your business model, make it turnkey and systematic, then sell your business system, along with your brand name and centralized support to other entrepreneurs, called franchisees.
This is probably the quickest way to expand your business into multiple locations. While this expansion is rapid, you won’t actually own each location – you’ll only get an initial franchise fee and then ongoing franchise royalties in the form of revenue percentages that your franchisees will pay to you for ongoing support. Some of the largest businesses in the world are franchised businesses.
This includes retail businesses, bars and restaurants, as well as an infinite variety of service businesses. If you’re looking to go this route of growth and expansion, though, keep in mind that you’ll need to have a highly reproducible or duplicatable business model – one that you can teach to other entrepreneurs and they can have similar levels of success as you. This means you’ll have to systematize every single aspect of your business. Franchising is not for every small business owner, as it takes a lot of time, work, and funds. But again, it’s one of your best choices if you want to grow and expand as quickly as possible, and of course, if your business concept is already a successful one.
So those are some of the top ways to make a small business succeed and grow, beyond the usual product and service improvements. Keep in mind that there are many other ways to achieve growth in your business, but whatever you choose to do, it has to be done with a lot of determination and thoughtful planning in order to succeed. But once ongoing growths achieved, the time, effort, and money that you put in should all be worthwhile. You cannot just stay stagnant and not do anything, and still expect your business to magically succeed and grow by itself.
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