3 Ways to Get Your Small Business Growing

Do you feel like your small business may be stuck in a rut? When the answer is yes, you’ve got some serious work ahead of you. Being in charge of a small business can wear on some people over time, but the hope is you are not one of them.

That said it is important to do all you can to keep your small business headed in the right direction.

Be cognizant of your financial happenings. Also look at the morale of your team (for those with employees). Yes, it can be much to juggle at times, but would you have it any other way?

Keep Shooting for More Business Growth

So your small business can grow as much as possible, remember the following tips:

  1. Goals

First, always set realistic goals for your business moving forward. To use an analogy, some business owners have eyes that are bigger than their appetites. When this happens, they are not able to grow their companies.

At the start of each month, set a few goals that you want to see accomplished by month’s end. Now, don’t get too disappointed if one or even some of them are not completed. The only time to worry is if you are missing out on most or all them.

Also do a review of where your business was a year ago now. By seeing if you’ve grown, stayed about the same, and even taken a step or two back, it is important to compare periods.

The goals you set for your growth must always be within reach, not those that you are all but assured of not reaching.

  1. Funds

Yes, it would be pretty hard for your company to grow without there being a financial lifeline along the way.

That said if you are in need of direct funds for your small business, where will you turn?This can be a tricky question to answer, especially if your options are rather limited.

Do your best to get whatever funds you need without mortgaging your future.

Before accepting a cash funding arrangement, be sure to research each potential provider.
Look at things such as:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they have a solid reputation within the business community?
  • Is their customer service as good as it gets?
  • What kind of record do they have with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

While it makes perfect sense to get financial help to grow your business, do it wisely.

  1. Outreach

Assuming you’ve been doing various forms of brand outreach up to now, is it working?Even though you might think you are doing enough, are you? One of the best ways to grow your business is making sure as many consumers as possible know about it.

This means marketing, advertising, blogging, social media, the list goes on and on.

If you do not have the time or manpower to get all these needs accomplished, reach out for more help. Sure, while you have to spend money to make money may seem like an old cliché, it is quite realistic.

Never take an axe to your outreach efforts, especially as you look to grow your brand moving forward.

As a small business owner, what practices have worked for you in growing your company?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics on the web.

 

 

How To Improve Your Marketing Strategy Today

As marketing is a vital part of business development it makes sense to take time to work out a sound marketing strategy and to implement regular business reviews for ensuring it’s not stalled.

To succeed in the modern world of business it is important to use all the tools of the trade so to speak. Internet is one of the main ones that business people turn to today to ensure their businesses can grow and develop.

Marketing strategy should not be confused with business plan or marketing goals. While business plan describes the whole business structure and process marketing strategy deals with the steps or measures that are necessary to implement to achieve the goals.

Here are some things to consider before proceeding with the business startup.

  • When starting a business it is possible to go through most of the process online. Instead of going through the rigmarole of newspaper and magazine printed ads business marketing can be done on computer which significantly reduces the timeframe for launching new ventures.
  • Establish your target market from the start so you can tailor your strategies and services or products with maximum efficiency which will give you the cutting edge.
  • In the competitive world of corporations small businesses get a fighting chance the moment they join the force of the internet. Search engines (SEO) and websites are the modern tools of any trade whether it’s roofing, bricklaying or cake baking. Modern fashion, design and technology, science and literature industries have already changed beyond recognition due to the wonders of the internet and computers. In other words, the internet has given the small businesses the chance to fight their corner with the help of small business web design and SEO that’s straightforward.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the social media. Apart from networking and direct marketing it can also create influence waves which can increase sales within hours after posting an image or fact about your products. Remember to use this potential to the full if you want to get ahead of your competitors.
  • Keep your marketing objectives focussed on your customers. This should involve everything from product/service development, packaging, pricing and delivery as well as post-sales care where appropriate.
  • Detailed and in-depth market research will be invaluable both in short and long term planning. Companies usually conduct analysis of performance, customer analysis and pricing scans.
  • It’s impossible to create a marketing strategy without a marketing plan. The marketing plan is essentially the manifesto of your business marketing strategy. It should explain all the necessary steps to put your strategy into action as well as set out marketing budgets, goals, profit margins and time targets.
  • A marketing strategy wouldn’t be a strategy without future vision for the business. It should include where your business is going to be in a month, in a year and in 5 years. So any future developments can already take shape now within the marketing strategy.
  • Be sure to create a contingency plan for any possible market changes as nothing is set in stone.

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Don’t Burn Your Business in Hot Water

Being in hot water with the authorities can leave lasting burn marks on a business even when it manages to pull itself out of the pool. It can taint it in regards to the law, in regards to its customers and in regards to its brand. Because of this it is best to avoid being in hot water altogether. Below you can find a few ways how you, as a business owner, can keep your business out of hot water.

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First and foremost you should never make yourself an enemy — to anyone. You shouldn’t depict yourself as tough and mean person to do business with to your potential clients and customers. You shouldn’t paint yourself as horrible boss to our employees. In doing so you could very quickly find yourself in the midst of a lawsuit. If you are ever accused of misconduct in the workplace by an employee, for example, you are then in hot water. Even if you manage to come out of the embroilment without charge, being in the hot water in the first place is not going to do you any favours for your brand image. And misconduct is just one reason why an employee may take to suing you. Because of this you have to constantly be in control of your actions and should never let emotions drive you to make decisions or act in a certain way.

You also need to be in control of all the legal boundaries that are in place on you and your business. It is very important that you never overstep these boundaries and that you work towards remaining in them at all times. One such legal boundary that can sometimes be passed by without knowing is the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement. This is a regulation put in place by the authorities to prevent identity theft and other fraudulent activities. As a business owner you simply must comply to it. If you don’t know where to start in doing so, however, then rest assured that there is assistance out there. Identify verification solution for businesses is on offer for you to implement in yours so you can always be sure exactly who it is that you’re doing business with. Knowing who it is on the other end of a transaction is hugely important. If a customer of yours has their identity stolen on your watch you are never going to come out of the situation smelling of roses, regardless of if you were legally punished for it or not.

And you can also find yourself in hot water online if you aren’t careful. When using SEO to grow your business it is possible for you to end up in hot water with Google, and other search engines, if you start ‘keyword stuffing’. By this it is meant that you stuff in too many keywords in the hope of getting higher in the search engine’s rankings. However, by doing so you will just find yourself being pushed to the back of the queue by the search engine.

So, if you don’t want your business to be burned by hot water then don’t get it in hot water in the first place.

 

 

5 Ways to Market Your Business Online

With technology only improving, businesses and consumers are becoming closer than ever before. Social media is more prevalent in society than in the past, and small businesses everywhere are embracing the new ways to market their services using online tools to help promote further customer reach. Here is a list of 5 ways to help market your business online:

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  • Facebook

Facebook is a great way of advertising and raising awareness of your product. By creating a page for a business and adding its location you are opening up the possibility of having customers digitally check themselves into your venue. Customers are then able to engage and review a businesses services and share this with their social network. It is important to remember to reply to comments to continue to build the rapport between business and consumer. Facebook also offers paid advertising and marketing campaigns through their business portal

  • Twitter

Twitter is another way of attracting customers, although it does take longer to build a large network on Twitter. The key to a successful Twitter is to always engage in relevant posts, follow any relevant profiles and be smart while still being funny. Engagements are what build your followers on Twitter. If you’re worried about having the time of running your social networks, organisations out there to provide social media help to develop a content marketing strategy that will help build your online growth.

  • Website

Having a website allows you a stronger online presence, and gives businesses the opportunity to display a list of the services available to customers. A website is also a great way of sharing the products, events, sales and opening times. Services such as WordPress are simple website builders. For a low cost it is possible to buy your own domain from these sites, with the option of an email address attached.

  • Emails

In the modern world email is the best form of contact for most customers. Whether you sign up for a free email service or get one through a website, email is a great way of responding to customers enquiries in a professional manner. Customers respond positively to speedy responses from businesses. Through having a registered email address assigned to your business, you can provide subscription services directly to customers, providing them with the option of being notified of sales or further events.

  • Coupons Vouchers

Everyone loves to think they’re getting a good deal. Sharing coupon vouchers through your social platforms will drive business and grow the customer base. New companies that have provided new customer discounts or free delivery have been successful in entering the market in major cities across the globe. Through having a campaign offering free services or VIP sales to clients, for things such as signing up to your email subscription service, discounts on their birthdays, free delivery or new customer discounts, consumers are urged to try a product for the first time.

It is important to not to put all your eggs within one basket, and be able to see the broader picture. One method of marketing may work better for you than another, however the important thing to remember is that all this does not have to be done alone. Consulting with services that provide provide social media help can alleviate some of the stress that can be added when struggling between traditional face to face services and online services allowing the balance to be achieved within the business.

 

 

 

 

Is It Time To Grow Your Small Business?

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It takes a lot of work to get to the point where you can seriously consider trying to expand your business. First, you had to take the steps of entrepreneurs before and go out into the world with an idea and the determination to make it work. Many people don’t get that far. Secondly, you have to maintain the success that you have found. Your business should be a foundation for further growth. Before thinking about expansion, you need to be confident that what you have at the moment is not going to fall out from under you. Expanding an existing business is actually a greater risk than starting one: if you fail to establish a business, you are left where you were to begin with, which is with nothing. If you fail to expand your business and it folds in the process, you are similarly left with nothing but that is a lot less than what you once had. If you feel that it is the right time to grow your business, you should immediately stop and carefully plan what it is that you want to do. It stands to reason that you would not have reached this point if you allowed your judgement to be clouded by reckless ambition. Here is a checklist of things to think about before making a life-changing decision:

Growing your business, at least at first, can be an expensive endeavour. You may need to move into bigger premises or take on more staff or substantially enhance your technological capital. All of these things require money and if your business is not making the requisite profit, you may be in trouble. If your business is successful enough to brook these costs, you have to make sure that the money is available to you now. You do not want to start your new business with too much debt. If you want to free up some money, consider taking advantage of invoice finance options. They allow you to get 80% of future invoice payments within a few days of issuing them. At a time when you are looking towards the future in any case, this can make the difference between success and failure.

Besides the need for more money, you will also find that you are facing greater responsibilities. If you are doing more business with more customers, there will be more paperwork and a greater need to ensure that everything is exactly right. While it may be necessary to take on more staff to do the extra work, you should also consider bringing in someone to whom you can delegate some of your newer responsibilities. It can be difficult letting go of the thing that you have had complete control over since its inception, but success can sometimes be difficult and this is one such instance.

The most important thing, however, is to know what you are getting into. It is one thing to ensure that your business is ready to grow, but if you don’t know what it will be growing into, you should find out. Market research is more crucial in this instance than in any other.

 

 

Are You Ready For The Next Step?

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If there’s one thing that you can guarantee about your business, it’s this: if it’s not moving forward, it’s falling behind. There is no such thing as being able to settle down and stay still in the world of modern business. As soon as you decide that you’re comfortable where you are, your business is going to stagnate, and your competition is going to leave you in the dust. Every business owner should be looking forward to the next stage in their business’s evolution, ready to face whatever it is that’s going to come along. Of course, the doesn’t mean that you should throw your business into the future without thinking about things carefully. If you try to push it forward without thinking carefully, then you could well end up in a pretty precarious position. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when trying to make sure that your business is ready for the next step.

How can you reach new customers?

If you want to grow your business, then you need to expand your customer base. Otherwise, your business simply won’t be able to sustain its growth and will end up collapsing under its own weight. There are plenty of ways to reach new customers, and each come with their own unique challenges. You might want to expand to new demographics, in which case you’re going to need to put a lot more time and effort into creating effective marketing strategies. Perhaps you’re looking at expanding into more international territories. If that’s the case, then you’ll need help from one of the UK’s leading translation companies so that you can be sure that you’re communicating effectively with customers no matter where they are in the world. Being able to understand the challenges involved in reaching new customers is the only way to avoid making obvious mistakes or losing out on potentially profitable markets.

What new additions does your business need?

As a business grows, so do its needs. This could be in terms of your employees, technology, or financial support. Figuring out how any form of expansion impacts on the structure of your business isn’t always easy but it’s definitely worth doing if you really want to get the most out of any given situation. Do you need new employees? Then you need to figure out how many and where they’d be best utilised. Is your company’s tech not up to scratch? Then you’re going to want to figure out what technology will benefit your business most and whether or not you can afford it.

Do any existing elements need adjusting?

If there’s one mistake that many businesses make more than any other, it’s assuming that their existing business is strong enough to build on top of. If the foundations that you’re building on are crumbling, then everything’s going to come crashing down. Look at the infrastructure, workforce, and working methods of your business and figure out what works and what doesn’t. The things that work can act as the basis for all future developments to your business. The things that don’t need to either be adjusted and fixed or left behind entirely. Refinement is one of the most important things in your business.

How to Climb the Corporate Ladder

Climbing the corporate ladder, which ultimately ends in you sitting pretty at the helm of a successful business as the boss, is something that people all over the world, every single day, seek to do. Because of the sheer volume of competitors out there, even in the market in which you are seeking to get to the top of, you have to be able to stand out from the rest. Below are a few hints and tips on how you can climb the corporate ladder and leave all your computers in your wake at the bottom of it.

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And standing out from the rest is, first and foremost, what you need to do. If you are seeking to climb the ladder on your own terms, i.e. by starting your own business venture, you must be able to spot gaps in the market in which you are climbing. You must be able to tap into a previously untapped area — in doing so, you will never lose customers that are seeking for something new or seeking to do business with someone who has their finger on the pulse of the market. There are a plethora of ways in which you can spot a gap in the market: you could partake in a bit of ‘creative’ swiping, where you take ideas from another company and twist them, or relocate them, so that you are not doing anything legally wrong and so that you are providing something new for the customer; or it could entail you absorbing all the latest trends and make use of them, i.e. by tapping into the usage of specific social media sites and the services they offer. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, and take your own business with you, then you must be brave enough to try things that you may not have tried before, and you must be brave enough to stand on the toes of a few of your competitors.

But you don’t just have to start your own business in order to climb the corporate ladder: you can do so by making your way to the top of a business that is already there. However, to make your way to the top of somebody else’s business you have to be just as brave in your attempts to stand out from as you would be if you did in fact own your own. You need to be able to stand out from your colleagues, and most of the time simply getting on with your work and doing it well isn’t a good enough way to do so. You need to be brave enough to bring visibility to your work; this means  that you should do all you can to demonstrate your work, skills and efforts to your superiors, whether that be by telling them or showing them. And when it comes to the process of making them aware, you should always seek to do it directly in order to ensure that the message has been sent and not become lost in transit (either purposely or accidentally). Having an active and open relationship with your boss will help in this situation. As well as this, you should always seek to take recognition for your work and never allow for others to take credit for it — you have to make sure your boss knows it is your work, and you need to show to them that you are proud of the work you have produced, which could itself convince them that you are ready to take the next step in the corporate ladder.

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Another way to climb the corporate ladder, or even start on it a few steps above the bottom, is to seek professional qualifications. Specifically, you could devote your time to taking a degree that teaches about the world of business so that you can enter the business world with a built-in knowledge of how it works. Taking such a degree will allow you to learn about aspects such as economics, finance and marketing from knowledgeable professionals. In completing a degree in business you will be able to enter the world of work with the skills to be able to interpret business concepts and make informed decisions regarding them. However, you should be aware that taking up this sort of venture is very demanding: it is demeaning in the sense that it is over a prolonged period of time, it means you may not be getting as much ‘real’ world experience as is desired in certain areas and it may even mean uprooting your life completely. But, if you’re the type of person that thrives in educational environments and would rather do this than find hands on experience in the sector, then you should go for this option and not let anybody tell you otherwise — and there will be a lot of people willing and waiting to do that. And you don’t even have to completely uproot your life and go to a university or college: you can look to the Internet for the solution through an Online Business Management Degree. This kind of option is asynchronous, which means that you can simply log on and complete assignments at a time that is convenient; all you need it a strong Internet connection and the discipline to be able to take the work into your own hands and complete it even with the lack of an authority figure looming above you.

What you should always remember is that it is is the little things that makes a big difference in business: it is the little things that you do every day that contribute to making your way up the corporate ladder. When doing anything in the world of business, you have to do it in a way in which it reaches its optimum potential. As well as this, you must be brave. You must be brave when it comes to making decisions, when it comes to showcasing your work and when it to the choices you make in life regarding your development.