Growing your business is an exciting prospect. Perhaps you’ve taken the first steps in launching your business and refining your product or service based on feedback from customers. Now you’re ready to expand.
However, planning to grow your business can be a difficult and daunting task. Things have the potential to go wrong, so you’ll need to make a plan to help you know what needs doing and reduce the risks of things going wrong.
So here are some tips to make sure you’re ready to grow your business.
Research is key
Before you start growing your business, you’ll need to do thorough research. You’ll need to assess what the potential demand is from your customers and what resources (such as supplies or marketing and investment funds) you will need to create and meet that demand.
It’s time to access your business accounts. Take a look at how your business has performed in the past. Forecast future sales targets with realistic projections, and plan how to achieve these goals and over what period of time. If at all possible, use customer research to support your sales projections.
If you can afford to, use professionals such as accountants and industry professionals to bounce ideas off. Local business networks and community groups also often offer helpful advice. And of course there is plentiful advice online for helping entrepreneurs succeed.
Set yourself goals
Goals are important in all aspects of life and never more so than when you’re planning on growing a business. Without setting yourself goals, you’ll never know if your business is doing well and improving. Goals offer you something to aim for and help you know if you’re heading in the right direction.
When setting yourself goals, consider creating SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound goals. For example;
- Specific – Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable with real deadlines.
- Measurable – Make sure you can track your progress in real-time.
- Attainable – Working towards a goal which is hard but achievable.
- Realistic – Be honest with what you can achieve and know what you are capable of. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself.
- Time-bound – Set deadlines and make yourself stick to them.
Setting yourself these standards will help you make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. Once you’ve achieved them, set yourself some new goals and start working towards them.
Don’t do everything
You’ll likely be protective of your company as you’ve watched it grow from the beginning. Don’t let that get in the way of you asking for input from outside of your business when you need it. Attempting to do everything yourself might cause you to have burnout and can be damaging to both you and the business. Without outside input and influences, you might not be able to do some of the creative things that are needed to grow your business.
For example, if you’re a small local business, it might be time to look at promoting your business digitally. For this, you might need third party help from people with skills such as low cost & free graphic design, web design, digital marketing, etc. Often this help can be inexpensive and make a significant difference to your business results.
Get feedback from customers
Who are the best people to learn from? The people who are using your products and services. Don’t assume that you know what they want – get to know your customers and you’ll learn what they want from you. This feedback will help you understand what your customers really want and how you can improve what you offer them.
It goes without saying that, for most businesses, it’s time to expand digitally and creatively. Whether you’re looking to create a website or improve the one you have, it’s often how businesses are first discovered by new customers, and you’re likely to need someone to do this for you. It’s also important to have a strong social media presence. Your business should be on at least one social media channel so customers can reach you whilst not being able to physically get to you or contact you. It’s also a great way to keep your customers informed of any changes or new products.
Look for potential new customers
Whilst keeping your existing customers happy as you grow is crucial, it’s also important to search for new customers. A great way to do that is by understanding your exsiting customers (demographics, location, interests, social media preferences, etc) and looking for new customers who look like your existing customers. Or if you’re launching new products or services, then creating a target customer profile and using that to promote your business can be very effective.
Stay focused on your customers
What is the customer need that your product or service is meeting? What is it that you offer that’s different from your competitors? Keep focused on that and don’t change your core values because others have. If you stay focused on your customers, understanding how their needs are changing over time, then you’re more likely to be offering a product or service they will want to buy.
Your business wouldn’t be ready for growth if you weren’t already doing something right. All the advice in the world had nothing on your instincts. Your business is your dream and there will always be opportunities that will come along and might fall outside your set plan. But if you have a strategic plan in place, then you’ll be able to trust your gut instinct and make a decision based on that. And if that means your plan needs to change because you’ve learned something new, then that’s ok.
Growth can be scary, but it’s also incredibly exciting! And if you need creative help, then Createxplore has a wide range of experts and hobbyists on hand to help you grow your business at low cost.