Growth is a natural aspiration for every small business owner, especially as the market landscape shifts and customer demands evolve. Achieving sustainable growth requires a strong foundation. And understanding how to prepare your small business for growth will set you on the path to success.
What is small business growth?
You could compare small business growth to helping a small plant grow into a big, strong tree. It’s about making your business bigger and better. But like anything, to achieve this you have to do something you haven’t done before. And doing more of it. Like reaching more customers, increasing your average order value or being more visible in different places.
Imagine your business is a small shop. Growth is when you open more stores and offer more items. But it’s also about remembering what made your shop so special in the first place. Of course, growth can look different to different people. It might be you open new shops, add new things to sell, show up more online or talk to more people. What’s important is that your business stays strong and makes more money for a long time.
How does small business growth work?
Think of small business growth as a puzzle. You’ll put different pieces together to make it complete. So, let’s break down the foundations of how you can prepare for growth:
- Set a clear vision.
- Optimise your processes.
- Embrace digital transformation.
- Empower your team.
When you put all of this together, you’ll make your business strong and ready to grow. However, let’s not forget that growth takes time and effort. Let’s go back to that plant analogy. You water it, give it sunlight and watch it grow. You’re giving your business the best chance to flourish and reach new heights.
In this article, we’ll review four essential steps to lay the groundwork for small business growth. Each step is a building block that contributes to the overall stability and resilience of your business as it navigates the challenges and opportunities that come with expansion.
Define your goals for growth.
Now that we understand the essence of small business growth, let’s delve into the first step – setting a clear vision.
First consider where you’d like your business to be in the next one, three, or even five years. Would you like more customers? A higher revenue? New products/services? Setting goals like these is essential as it will guide your actions and help you make smarter decisions. This will help drive growth.
Look at it like a roadmap for your business. If you don’t have a clear vision, you’ll just move along and not make any progress. Defining your goals for small business growth will help you keep focused and make your efforts more effective.
Plus, having a clear vision makes it easier to allocate your resources. You’ll know where to invest your time, money and energy to get the best outcome. You’ll be much more strategic with your decisions to support the expansion of your business.
Optimise your processes.
With your vision in place, let’s move on to the second step – strengthening your operational efficiency.
As your business grows, your operations will become busier – and you’ll need to have efficient processes in place to make things easier. To achieve this, you’ll need to take a closer look at every element of your business. From your supplies to helping your customers, you need to see exactly how things work. And you’ll need to anticipate where things may hit a stumbling block.
If you can streamline the process and make it both simple and faster, you’ll set yourself up for success. This could be as simple as outsourcing your customer service, or even looking into technology to help do some of your repetitive tasks. This will make your customers happier too because questions will be answered quicker and your orders will be delivered on time. It’s a win-win because you’ll save time, money and energy to re-invest into growing your business even more.
Embrace digital transformation.
Moving forward, the third step involves building a robust online presence.
The first step is to set up a user-friendly website. Think of it like an online store. People can visit, see what you offer and even buy your products or services.
The next step is to find your community. Join social media platforms and start telling people about your business. Don’t just put up posts and do nothing with it. Make sure you’re engaging with people too. After all, people buy from people.
You could even use a live chat function on your website to help guide your customers. 50% of consumers say that having a live person answer questions in the middle of a purchasing decision is one of the most important features a brand can offer.
Digital marketing is like putting up a sign to attract customers. It allows more people to find you online. Thinking of selling online? You should, it’s like having customers from all around the world visit your shop. That’s the magic of the internet, it connects you to people from everywhere. And if they like your product or service, they’ll want to buy from you. It’s another way you can grow your business faster.
Empower your team.
Our fourth step centres around investing in your team.
Your team are the ones who make things happen – they are the engine that drives your business growth. So, give them the tools they need to thrive. Look at them as the plant too. By offering them training, guidance and chances to learn new things, you’re not only nurturing them; you’re setting them up for personal and professional success.
When your team feels supported, they’ll better support you. They’ll help bring new ideas to the table and look at ways to work better together. Giving your business the right foundations will help build a positive environment for them to thrive in.
And let’s not forget; happy employees make your customers happy too. And statistics show that happy customers will share their positive experiences with about 11 people. When staff feel valued, that positivity is passed on to those they help too. It’s like a chain reaction of good vibes that will further grow your business.
How to build a strong foundation for growth
Small business growth isn’t a sprint. Think of it instead as a well-paced marathon. It needs careful planning, strategic execution and a commitment to delivering value to your customers.
Here are some essential steps to equip your business with the tools so it can thrive:
- Outline your short-term and long-term growth objectives. Develop a roadmap that guides your business expansion.
- Evaluate your operational workflows. Identify areas for improvement and implement changes that enhance efficiency.
- Establish a strong online presence through websites, social media and e-commerce platforms. Leverage digital marketing strategies to connect with a broader audience.
- Invest in employee training and development. Build a positive work environment that encourages innovation and teamwork.
It takes time and dedication. But with the right foundation, your small business can achieve remarkable and sustainable growth in the years to come.