Running a small business today is tricky. As a business owner, you’re constantly juggling between different areas – from sales, marketing, and hiring to taxes, legal and whatnot, the list is truly endless. Add to that the exponentially growing competition and continuously innovating technology, and the pandemic further made it hard to scale in a sustainable way. Apart from impeccable efforts, managing a business needs strategies that you can rely upon.
You have to stay organized and make the best out of available technology. It’s indeed a long journey. No great things come easy, it’ll require you to step out of your comfort zone. But if you’re already here means you’re passionate enough about growth and have the stamina to get through. We will make things easier for you in this blog, with the top 11 strategies answering the evergreen – “how to grow a profitable business?”
Contrary to popular opinion, there’s no one size fits all approach. But that doesn’t mean all businesses have nothing in common. Managing, growing and most importantly – sustaining a small business demands having skin in the game. 81% of business owners work nights, and 89% work weekends. Before setting up the plan to scale and execute, have a clear and strong mindset. Set small goals, and be open to changes – you’ll be good to find ways to grow your business easily.
Let’s now dive in straight to find out the various strategies that you would need towards the path to scaling up.
If you’re struggling to grow your business, the following tactics will surely help you up your game. Stick around for fascinating and actionable tips.
- Create Systems and Stick to Them
“Stay organized” is more than a buzzword. Keeping your systems and processes in place for almost every aspect of your business would help you in unimaginable ways. What do we mean by keeping systems in place? Have a set of templates to follow for every business activity that you do.
Whether it is doing sales calls, onboarding clients, hiring candidates, managing your social media or any other tasks – having internal resources or handy templates will give you directions. It would not only help you run your business seamlessly but will also ensure you have strong processes to fall back on while switching contexts and wearing different hats. So your business doesn’t stop functioning even when you’re not in the most productive state due to any reasons.
Apart from creating templates, you should create and maintain to-do lists every day for your business. Secondly, leverage project management tools to manage projects, allocate resources and stay on top of all your business verticals. All thanks to the astounding efficiency of workflow and project collaboration tools like Clickup, Trello – you can save hours of time and effort on a daily basis.
- Set Clear Goals
Everyone tells you to set goals in life, but why are they even important? Having a goal helps you stay focused if you have a vision that aligns with the same. When it comes to business goals, a great approach is dividing them into long-term and short-term goals. Setting up clear and concise objectives is also the best way to chase growth, and when you’re doing that proactively and mindfully – results would be obvious.
For example – if you’re running a marketing services agency, not having goals in mind related to your target revenue, client results, industries and services niche, would mean directionless business, and hence – rarely any growth. Here’s an optimal way of deciding on your goals - follow the S.M.A.R.T framework, where:
- S stands for Specific
- M stands for Measurable
- A stands for Attainable
- R stands for Relevant, and
- T stands for Time-based
Another major advantage of having clear goals is that you can check if your business needs a pivot and make a decision based on your business goals. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, ensure you keep patience. Build strong foundations for everything – you’ll thank yourself when executing the growth strategy.
- Understand Risk & Reward
It’s vital to understand that reward never comes without risk. However, small business owners often get confused while making a decision because they are not used to comprehensively analyzing the risks. Always ask yourself - What’s the worst case possible? Further, you can make a much better call by analyzing if the results would be bearable.
A general rule of thumb for taking calculated risks is to analyze the external factors carefully. For example – The pandemic made e-learning and Edtech businesses boom like never before. The more such businesses spent on digital marketing during that time, the better the outcomes.
Another major factor to be taken into account is your personal finances, take risks only when your basic personal business and personal finances are in place for the next few months
More often than not, the learning opportunities that arrive with running a business are underestimated. While predicting the results of your fresh new launches, you should also consider the learning experience that comes along.
- Organize Your Finances
The most intricate part of your business and one of the primary drivers is finance. Your books, accounting, financial statements, taxes and legal usually become a huge burden. As a result, you end up missing out on the essential focus on streamlining your business and its growth.
The traditional way of bookkeeping and handling accounts manually is not only costing you time but is also harming your growth. As a small business owner, you have to wear multiple hats but you cannot invest a majority of time and effort into maintaining your books. The road to redemption? Leverage cloud-based bookkeeping and online accounting services to simplify your business finances comprehensively. 82% of small businesses and 58% of enterprises use cloud accounting. And 56% of accountants say technology significantly improves their productivity.
Ease of access to your books and live updates are necessary to keep your business loss-proof today. Digitization of all invoices, bills, receipts and other financial statements & documents would not only amplify convenience, but it would also ensure clear and accurate books.
- Invest Back in Your Business Consistently
You simply cannot grow your small business beyond a limit without investing back in it. It’s the fuel which keeps the fire burning and the engine running. Whether it is investing in marketing, technology, hiring talent, consulting, training or anything else – all investments in growing a small business have the same objectives - streamlining current processes and setting up the foundation for long-term goals.
Instead of worrying about the returns, focus on utilizing the capital in the most optimal way possible. The talent that you acquire and nurture would act as an incredibly important resource in the long term and hence, should be prioritized.
Brand building and marketing are the most popular investments that often generate good ROI and contribute to the long-term vision of growth.
- Be Creative
Contrary to popular opinion, creative thinking is not only required in marketing or promoting your business. It can be used in anything from planning your offerings to providing a unique customer experience. Thinking out of the box is not a ‘nice-to-have’ aspect anymore, it has become a necessity to stand out in the crowded business landscape.
Now curating your products or services to make them truly different requires a lot of time and effort. But you can always take an uncommon route in presenting your servings to the audience. Additionally, make your customer touchpoints the priority for adding fresh new experiences which are engaging and exciting.
Involve your team in such discussions more often than not. Creativity is not spontaneous and comes with collaborative efforts.
- Prioritize Core Revenue Resources
When it comes to scaling up, startups and SMBs often do the mistake of shifting their focus and efforts from primary revenue sources to new spaces they want to explore. Growth is the ultimate objective but it shouldn’t come at the cost of your core revenue sources. Put enough effort and investments into keeping those revenue sources stable. Once you are assured of consistent revenue coming up from your core business and have adequate resources to invest for the same, explore new spaces for growth. Another aspect which will help you transition smoothly is the retention of your top talent, so put consistent efforts towards the same.
- Be Adaptive
Blackberry was once a global leader in mobile phone manufacturing. However, when smartphones with the Android OS became the new big thing, they didn’t adapt to it. As a result, the brand got almost wiped out from the mobile phone market in the next 5 years.
As a small business, you need to be adaptable in order to sustain today. Trends are changing in a jiffy, technology is improving every day, and consumer demand is evolving at a pace faster than ever. Whatever the requirement of your target market, you should be able to deliver that quickly and efficiently.
Do not depend on a single source of customer acquisition either. Experiment proactively and capitalize on what works best for you. Growth comes outside the comfort zone, and you need to be adaptive to step out there in open.
- Focus on Your Customer Experience
73% of consumers say customer experience is their primary deciding factor when making purchase decisions. However, when the conversation is around how you can grow your small business, customer experience is often underrated. No matter how powerful other forms of marketing become, word of mouth remains the most effective way to acquire new customers. More satisfied customers mean more referrals. Hence, customer experience defines your growth trajectory.
On the other hand, a negative customer experience could overshadow even the greatest of products. Here are some of the top tips you can utilize to avoid that:
- Respond to your customer queries proactively via multiple channels
- Conduct periodic customer surveys
- Your first 100 customers will define the business curve for the next 10,000 – interact with them often to address their pain points
- Engage with them consistently
- Guide them on 1:1 calls and produce value-adding content that educates them about your products, services and relevant use-cases.
- Go Big on Social Media Marketing
Billions of people are actively using social media daily. Over 55% of people learn about new brands on social. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a B2B or B2C business, the best way to get found by your target customers is by being present where they spend most of their time online. From a top-level view, here’s what you can accomplish using social media:
- Build brand awareness
- Boost brand reach
- Build authority with consistent and engaging content across channels
- Promote your unique offerings creatively
- Do influencer collaborations
- Generate leads for your business
Social media is driven by trends. Currently, videos, especially byte-sized informative ones, are getting maximum engagement. They are here to stay and brands should make the best out of them.
- Leverage Automation Wherever You Can
Automation is clearly the highlight of this decade for businesses to boost their productivity multifold. It’s now easier than ever to get rid of mundane repeated tasks using numerous SaaS solutions catering to different use cases. From lead generation, marketing, and customer relationship management to accounting, finances, recruitment and more – every vertical of your business can be streamlined through automation today.
Especially while scaling up, your processes can be processed at a much faster rate. 88% of small businesses surveyed say automation enables them to compete with larger enterprises. Not to forget – automated workflows and processes are helping businesses save a fortune both in terms of capital and human resources.
When it comes to managing small business finances – you have to maintain consistent bookkeeping, accounting and taxes, which can be too overwhelming if done manually. As you plan to grow your small profitable business, it’s vital to focus on the more analytical tasks. Accounting, on the other hand, eats up a lot of your time too. Fincent helps you simplify your business finances with comprehensive online bookkeeping and accounting software. With dedicated bookkeepers assigned to take care of your small business and end-to-end tax assistance, you can shift your entire focus to growth. Do you want to streamline accounting and fast-track growth for your business? Sign up now to solve it all in one place.
Fincent: Your Business's Personal Financial Wizard - From Bookkeeping to Tax Filing