Small businesses can grow in boom times as well as periods of difficulty by working smarter and taking advantage of opportunities. Put these following effective tips into practise to help grow your business.
Modern technology can save you time, improve productivity and reduce your operational costs. Make use of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media tools to market your business.
Dropbox is a cloud-based service that can be used for document creation and sharing, while Skype is commonly used for calling or video conferencing.
Always take a friendly but professional approach to any form of customer interaction including written invoices, quotes and emails. Create guidelines for dealing with customers in writing and over the phone. Reply to messages as soon as possible. If you take too long to return a call or email, you may lose a potential customer to a competitor.
Try writing a blog or column about your chosen industry. Think about sponsoring an event or gifting your products or services to a local sports team, community group or school.
Even if your products and services are selling well, always look out for new ways to refine your business. Organise regular brainstorming sessions and invite staff to share their ideas on ways to improve products or services.
For any orders, make sure your customer completes a credit application and that they understand your terms of trade. Encourage your customers to clear payments quickly by emailing or posting invoices and giving clients a clear time frame to pay. Revisit your terms of trade and make any necessary changes if need be.
If you’re selling products, keep a record of every product sold and ensure you’re aware of how much stock you have. There are free or low-cost point-of-sale (POS) computer programs that can manage stock inventories and provide a record of each product sold. Create a database for future follow-ups by recording clients’ names.
Business associations and organisations give you access to industry leaders about current innovations and developments within your chosen market for an annual membership fee. They hold regular events, seminars, short courses and networking evenings which can be incredibly valuable for meeting business owners, identifying investors, and learning more about your industry.
If you’re a well-established business, potential customers will be searching for you on the Internet – often before they pick up the phone or walk through your door. An effective website needs to be functional, communicating what you offer and your point of difference.
Take note of where your time is going each day. Some tasks could be consolidated, or completed at a dedicated time each week. There are free or low-cost time management tools such as Toggl and Google Drive that monitor your daily workload and can generate weekly reports.
Take any opportunity to hand out your business card when you meet new people – even outside of work.
There are many ways to create referrals and grow your business. For example, you could pay for them per lead, write a blog, attend trade shows, or simply advertise through various media.
Your small business will need to harness a variety of methods for it can grow sustainably, so take the time to plan ahead and try some new approaches.
Good luck and let me know how you get on.
|Tags: Business Advice Business Strategy Business Growth Business Planning|