Growing a Small Business

Small companies often turn into big companies. Have you ever wondered why some restaurants, retail outlets, consultancies, financial institutions –enjoy business growth, whilst others don’t? If your business isn’t enjoying the success of other companies, here are some suggestions from business owners who’ve made small business big business.

Schedule everything.

Each day you go to the office or manufacturing plant, there are going to be distractions. This department head needs to speak with you now! Your business manager is waiting on that report, and your bank representative is on Line 1. When the owner is distracted, the tasks that need to be done sometimes fall by the wayside. Use a scheduler. You can find them for browsers, tablets, smartphones – and in many cases, the scheduler is free. Plan you time well. Avoid distractions. Hang out the DO NOT DISTURB sign and get your tasks finished before heading to another department to handle yet another emergency. The fact is, there are some tasks that only the owner can handle. Handle those tasks first.

Another tool often overlooked by business owners is customer satisfaction surveys.

The information provided by these surveys can point your business in different directions, increase productivity, and establish a stable client base glad to know that you’ve listened to their comments. Your customers are, perhaps, the best source of feedback and constructive criticism. Listen carefully to what they say – especially if you want to keep them as customers. Send out your survey soon after the purchase or delivery of services so you (and the job your company did) is still fresh in the minds of clients.

Hire the best.

This old chestnut has been around for decades because it makes sense. You can hire someone right out of university, but you don’t get the experience of an industry veteran who can help take your business to the next level. Good hiring practices will ensure that your business will continue to grow. Why? You’ve got the best people as part of your business team.

Look for synergies within your business sphere.

If your company makes widgets, set up a meeting with the buyer for Widgets ‘R’ Us. You may not strike a deal on that first meeting, but now that buyer has options – and you’re one of them.

Be famous.

Attend industry trade shows and take a booth. Arrange a local seminar with you as the keynote speaker – the expert. Build the business brand, but don’t forget to build your professional brand simultaneously. Post to industry blogs and forums. When prospects hear your name, they associate you with expertise – the kind of expertise they’re looking for.

Never burn your bridges behind you.

That vendor who always delivers late may be a pain, but cutting that vendor off may not be in your company’s best interests – even if late deliveries continue. Keep looking for a more reliable vendor, a better sub-contractor, but that “never-on-time” vendor may bring in some business you weren’t expecting. It just makes good business sense to be respectful and treat all stakeholders with courtesy – even if they do cause trouble.

Get techy.

Technology sure has grown quickly over the past 20 years. It’s hard to remember a time when there were no search engines, no Internet, no smartphones – but relatively speaking, these are new technologies designed to boost your company’s productivity. These tools and apps can also save money. It can cost a lot to travel for a business conference. It doesn’t cost a lot if you use online conferencing services like VoIP. You can do more for less, dramatically increase company productivity, and save on travel expenses using the latest in digital tech.

Treat your team well.

Things are changing in the business realm. Employees enjoy flexi time and job sharing to create a work-life balance that keeps them on your payroll. Finding and recruiting new talent for your company is pricey. Keeping current employees happy costs less, and maintains productivity levels. You also keep the time and money invested in employee training in-house. There’s nothing more annoying than to train an employee to use your software, only to have that employee take that knowledge across town to your main competitor. Smart business practices aren’t always obvious. Often owner’s plateau. The company has covered the service region and growth opportunities just aren’t available the way they once were. The business world is changing fast. If your company doesn’t keep up, you can bet your competition will. Project the future. Set goals and objectives, and assign these tasks to your most qualified employees. Make sure your team has the tools needed to get the job done properly and quickly.

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