Growth is most certainly on the mind, the to-do list and wish-list for many entrepreneurs.
In a world cluttered with businesses, products and online noise, it is not easy to convince customers that you are the best – whether you offer a service or a product. To apply a mantra from the personal development world to your business – if you want it done you should schedule it.
So if you are ready and keen to draw up that growth plan to scale to your business there are some valuable strategies and steps offered by experts in the field. Here are six strategies for a small business to grow and scale their business.
Commit to grow
Growth in most cases doesn’t happen automatically and business owners should set realistic growth targets and draw up a plan. This plan can then be expanded to include a set of concrete actions that will achieve growth targets. As a first action when designing this plan, businesses should get clear on what their core competence and strengths are and focus on these – no business can offer everything to everybody. By having a clear picture of what you do best and zoning in on this, you put yourself in the best position to scale.
Expand your leadership skillset
Entrepreneurs should build a team from people with broad and complementary skills. The skills brought to a company by someone with an MBA are not valuable only for big business. Having a diverse and in-depth range of skills in your company is not only useful but vital for growth and success.
Build on partnerships
Next, further develop a growth mind=set by creating partnerships outside of the business. This would include an alliance with a service provider, for instance. These partnerships are not limited to businesses but can also include people, and all can be useful to your business in a variety of ways.
Establish standardized processes
In preparing for growth, entrepreneurs should design and implement a set of standardized processes. As a small business, it may be manageable to do things on the fly, but as you scale, a systematic approach becomes essential. The most efficient and effective are standardized and repeatable processes, create a line of delegation and establish support systems.
Think like your competition
Competition analysis can be highly beneficial at all stages of business growth, but particularly when scaling. A good growth exercise for entrepreneurs to view their business through the eyes of their competition as this will give them a good view of their strengths and weaknesses.
Don’t’ get stuck in your ways
The CEO of Slice, Ilir Sela, writing for the blog Big Commerce warns against getting stuck in your ways. He said that this creates a blind spot for what must be done to get even better.
“Hit the pause button. Look at some components of your business that aren’t working and ask yourself: Am I in the way? Is it really so bad if we try something else?” he advises.
He said this would also count for hiring talent. “There might be a COO out there who’s not only better at it than you—they might even have experience doing this for several businesses of your size,” he added.
Understand your customer
No business can grow without understanding consumer demand. It would be useful while designing your growth strategy to also have a look at where your customer will likely be in 5 years’ time. In this way, you can grow with them.
Find a mentor
Sela advises that entrepreneurs eager to grow find people who have already accomplished the same goal and trust them. A study of 5,700 companies found that almost half failed to grow over the course of a decade. A mentor can be invaluable to provide guidance, advice or simply a sounding board.
Find out why businesses are not growing
In “When Growth Stalls” a study done by Steven McKee he highlighted the main reasons why companies were not growing – a problem affecting 41.2% of nearly 5 700 companies he studied over ten years. In this study he highlighted the following factors why this happened including a failure to focus, no competitive point of difference, weak brand images and identities. Understanding why others in your sector are failing to grow means you can overcome these challenges and scale your business.
Also solidify what you have
Entrepreneur Ryan Robinson writing for Forbes says finding what you are really good at and consolidating on that, while it sounds counter-intuitive, is also an excellent growth strategy.
“It may sound simple, but if you really want to scale, you need to demonstrate your unique value proposition to potential customers,” he added.
Robinson further explained that this also means maintaining quality and good customer service.
He adds that there is no reason for an entrepreneur to spread herself too thin.
“Even something as basic as automating data input can save your team several hours each week, giving them more time to focus on the big picture aspects of scaling your business,” he added.
Given modern technology, like SumUp Payments, your cell phone can even become a credit card machine making it possible to take a retail business almost anywhere.
Robinson adds that in a highly connected age, the power of the “word of mouth” recommendation should not be underestimated. You can also market your business at a low cost for maximum growth including mastering the art of blogging, email marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimisation.
In the age of Google, SEO is more important than ever and spending time and money on getting this part of your marketing strategy right would provide a good return on investment. To be assured of maximum results, it is best to implement at least two in-depth strategies in this regard.
Finally, remember that growth does not happen overnight. A long-term future plan is essential and progress should be measure against that.