Running a successful small business is an achievement in itself. You have to build your brand from scratch while also looking to recruit and train new people, and actually stay afloat as you do so. Now, add growth to that list and you get an entirely different ball game. This gruelling period for small business owners presents its own set of challenges. Ones that are not so easily overcome. If you’re interested to find what these are, just keep on reading.
When you open the door to a new market, it’s only natural that others will follow suit. Don’t look at this development as a potential threat. Look at it more as a new business opportunity to further consolidate your power and establish yourself on the market. In a matter of fact, you should be thanking your immediate competitors for keeping you on your toes. There’s but one thing that’s worse than the competition — complacency; that will put a dent in your reputation more than any competitor ever could. So, whatever you do, don’t go into panic mode, focus on doing what you do best, and don’t lose yourself in the crowd. Also, work on offering impeccable customer service as, according to HubSpot, 93% of consumers are more likely to become repeat customers with companies that excel at customer service.
Keeping Up with the Market
Things are bound to change; there’s no stopping that.
Now, you can either turn to melancholy and recollect old glory or you can adapt to these new market changes and stay relevant. Therefore, do continuous market research and find out what’s trending at the moment. Moreover, ask for customer feedback and seek to better your products and services; customers love being heard. You can even conduct some surveys to gain more in-depth insight into customer behaviour and their needs. Also, consider re-training your staff to meet the need of the expanding market demand. Some industries are more uncertain than others; they need to be prepared for whatever comes their way. In addition, when you have a surplus of funds, invest in innovation; otherwise, they’ll just go to waste if you sit on them.
Cash Flow Management
Business expansion — the process where you spend money to make money. For some small businesses this growth period can be particularly challenging as it requires adequate cash flow management; keeping the business operational only with the cash that’s pouring in is a fine balancing act, to say the least. Though, when money gets tight, small business owners can always look for fast no security business loans to help them stay afloat. The second option would be to ask for a bank loan. However, these applications take time and require enormous sums of paperwork. When operating costs are concerned, you don’t need money tomorrow or next week — you need it right now! Otherwise, your business can’t continue its normal day-to-day operations and everything grinds to a halt.
When you’re just a small business, each day brings its own set of challenges. Yet, as you grow, you need to change this approach and find more permanent solutions. You cannot expect to have crises on your hands every single day; something’s bound to break if you do — either you or your staff. For instance, don’t spend large sums of money on complimentary drinks each day to satisfy disgruntled customers who got their orders mixed up — find a new chef! Forget about the short-term and think long-term instead. Investigate key areas of your business and get rid of all the loose ends and weak links. You want to have some stability before you expand, lest you pop like a balloon.
Over the years, you developed a small client base of two to three contractors that makes up the majority of your income. In the beginning, this can be a good thing. However, as you grow, you want to diversify your client base as much as possible. For instance, one of your top paying clients suddenly bails on you, leaving you without the necessary funds to pay all those new employees you’ve just recruited. To avoid such a scenario, work on expanding your network; establish new partnerships; post on relevant blogs to showcase your industry expertise; host seminars and other events; build an engaging email list; ask for referrals; and so on and so forth. In short, get yourself out there and present yourself as the answer to your clients’ needs.
While undoubtedly an exciting period for owners, growing your business is truly one heck of a challenge. Stay persistent, adapt, evolve, and you’ll overcome any obstacle that comes your way. Good luck.