There is no way around it – scaling a business is hard. And if you are at the beginning of that journey and hoping to grow your small business into something more considerable, there are many different areas to consider. For one thing, if you run a small business then chances are you do not have a massive workforce at your disposal. This means that it is unlikely you can rely on a team dedicated to marketing, sales, taxes, and so on. In fact, depending on how small your business is, you could find yourself having to deal with everything yourself! And while being the sole decision-maker might be sufficient to keep your business ticking over from day to day in its current state, scaling that business will before long prove significantly harder.
On the upside, growing your small business successfully means higher profit margins. And with this is the chance to expand your workforce and begin to delegate tasks, whether that be a finance department to ensure the company’s finances are above board or health and safety employee to ensure your place of business has all the proper fire exits and seton.co.uk In the beginning, however, there is no denying that the task of scaling your business can be downright daunting, involving close attention to detail in many different areas, some of which are likely to be outside your area of expertise.
The good news though is that with significant forethought and planning, it is possible to lay out a route to scaling up your business that can then serve as an effective guide to achieving this goal. There are many ways to go about this, but a simple consideration of the resources currently at your disposal and the goals you wish to achieve will make the whole thing considerably easier. This is on top of massively increasing your chances of success.
Every Business is Different
Every business is certainly different, and therefore it logically follows that the precise method to follow when scaling up your small business is just as varied. A short article outlining how to scale up any business would be almost impossible to write as there are simply so many different ways of doing it. Luckily, if you have a small business on your hands, then the task (at least to begin with) becomes quite significantly easier.
Indeed, there are a range of tried-and-true techniques to get the ball rolling on growing a small business. Of course, it only gets harder as things progress but, on the upside, if it gets harder then it means you are getting somewhere and your business is indeed growing.
Of course, even among small businesses, the route to growth is not the same in all cases and the rule of “every business is different” certainly applies here too. Nevertheless, the scale of small businesses means that there are broad similarities across the board when it comes to growing them successfully. It is impossible to be too specific – as there are always challenges specific to an individual business – but it is thankfully possible to put together a list of general tips.
Tips for Growing a Small Business
Scaling up your small business will require a coordinated effort from the various departments making up your business, specifically Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Legal. Depending on just how small your small business actually is, you could find yourself wearing all these hats at once, but you should aim to eventually delegate. The following tips will help you get there:
Conduct Some Market Research
Market research is an essential precursor to any growth plan, and this is simply because you will need to ensure the market that will facilitate your growth actually exists. Perhaps your business is small for a reason? This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes a local business serving specific local or specialist needs is all your business is going to be (or all you set out to achieve in the first place). But if there is a market there, then proper market research will tell you. A great tip here is to research your competitors, or businesses larger than yours doing the same (or roughly the same) thing. Do not forget to offer something unique though!
Create a Sales Funnel
What is a sales funnel? “An essential part of growing your business” might be one answer. A sales funnel works on a simple principle and can be thought of as a sort of visual metaphor for the entire process of making a sale. It can be thought of as a customer’s journey – from when they walk off the street into your business or log on to your website, then they enter the top of the funnel when they make a purchase they exit it – and there is a lot in-between. If your business is small, you may not consider a sales funnel necessary, but even when making it incrementally larger it can very quickly become an essential part of your business. The trick is to consider ways to move people through the funnel using things such as discounts, attractive products on clear display, or the option of subscribing to your website. Make no mistake, your business will not go far without a sales funnel.
Increase Customer Retention
It has been estimated that it costs five times as much to gain a new customer than it does retaining an existing one (although it’s usually free to scare them off). To grow your business, you will need new customers, but in order to expand your customer base, you need to keep the old ones. Otherwise, you could find yourself without any net increase. This is essential.
Practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is something that has steadily become increasingly essential should a business wish to see any kind of success. Customer bases today are overwhelmingly socially conscious, and practicing CSR is a hallmark of all successful larger businesses. As your business grows, its potential to do environmental or social damage also grows (at least in the perception of customers). A small business is rarely a cause for concern, but if you want to create something bigger then it is all but essential to ensure that growth doesn’t give the impression of a small business changing into a big polluter. As your business grows, CSR will – at some point or another – become essential.
The Challenges of Growth
Ultimately, growing a business comes down to doing what is necessary at each stage of the business’s growth. With bigger businesses comes bigger challenges, but the resources you will have to deal with these challenges will grow too. In the end, how far you want to take things will depend on how you meet each new challenge at every stage of growth. And of course, it always helps to keep one thing in mind – if things are getting tougher, you are succeeding.