Setting up and running a small business is, in itself, incredibly challenging. Yet, once this has been achieved, the subsequent challenge is equally difficult – how do you sustain business growth?
There are strategies you can put into place to consistently grow your small business year on year (and they go beyond simply marketing).
Retain Your Customers
Keeping existing customers should be a priority, particularly if you are looking to grow. Not only is it common sense to generate repeat sales, but it also creates advocates who will bring more sales your way. Let’s take a look at how this can be achieved.
Firstly, try to keep in touch with clients to stay fresh in their mind, which could mean via e-mail newsletters, leafleting or social media. Employ a customer loyalty scheme (if it’s suitable for your business). Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for your customer’s opinions and take them on board when developing your service or products.
Don’t forget, acquiring new customers can cost a company around five times more than retaining their current ones.
Connect With Your Community
Making an effort to become part of the community helps your business to build recognition, credibility and trust. If you’re present in the community then you will stay relevant in the minds of potential customers. There are many ways to become active in your local area, from participating in or sponsoring events, to working with local charities.
Efficiency is Key
Growth inevitably involves an investment of time and money. However, you’re not likely to have much of either of those things if your business isn’t running efficiently. Efficiency is key to maximising profit and freeing up time for to focus on growth opportunities. Take a look at this article on how to increase business efficiency
Stay Attentive to Your Finances
It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to be clueless about their own financials. Even if you have a bookkeeper, it’s essential to give your finances some attention and make sure your business is financially fit.
Cash flow forecasting is an area that many businesses fail to get right. An article on score.org states that ‘unreliable cash flow can be catastrophic. Each year, poor cash flow forces many small businesses to close.’
It’s important to be realistic when making predictions. Overestimating your cash flow can leave you with inadequate funds to settle your commitments.
Regularly review your expenses to see if you’re focusing your funds in the right areas, and if there are any potential savings to be made. It’s easy to become complacent about small expenses, but these build up over time and many may be unnecessary or present cost-saving opportunities. By regularly reviewing your finances, you will be able to manage your expenses and maximise profits.
Don’t let standards slip
As your company grows, it will become very easy to let standards slowly decline. When you first set out it’s likely that you had the time to pay attention to detail, whether that’s providing a superior product or an exceptional service. However, as a business grows, priorities will change and you may not have the same level of contact with employees or customers. It’s important to nurture these relationships and be diligent when it comes to standards. Are you still providing the same level of customer care as you were on day one? Are you listening to your customer’s recommendations and complaints?
Director of The CSL Group Andy Perkins has stated ‘that the current climate is tough and achieving organic growth year on year can be a challenge and expensive’. The company has managed to achieve growth of 10% to 15% per year, much of which is thanks to focusing on maintaining a high standard of service, and giving all clients the same level of customer care.