There’s absolutely no doubt that the last eighteen months have been difficult—and, for some, that’s an understatement! Many businesses, across all sectors, only came through the pandemic because they received support from the government, their families and their local communities.
Now, surviving is all well and good, but fire-fighting and that frozen feeling of stasis will not help your business if another lockdown, a third wave or a completely different pandemic is waiting around the corner. You must push forward now. You have to start thinking about the future, your long-term goals and how to stimulate growth—as these are the things that will protect you if the worst happens. If you’re still living hand-to-mouth and working all the hours God sends for little profit when the next crisis hits, you’ll be more at risk of becoming one of the statistics.
So, how do you evoke growth in your business?
Can you make a product from one of your services, or a service from one of your products? Can you create an information-based item that will sell itself as you sleep? Do you have a sales funnel in place?
It’s much easier and wiser to create new products/services that are related to what you already offer, simply because you only need to tweak your sales messages and people won’t become confused about your core offering. Plus, you will also have an understanding of your market and know what motivates them to buy.
On a similar note, perhaps you could pair up with another business that complements what you offer, and create some one-stop-shop type packages between you. Nothing has to change, just a few little tweaks and very soon you could be reaping the benefit of having access to each other’s audiences, and as you will both be promoting your joint package, you’ll have double the exposure for little effort.
Alternatively, you could stock/carry products by a third party in your space/as you deliver your own offering, to sell for a commission. This works well if the product enhances/enriches yours.
If you’ve been totally focussed with getting through the pandemic, you may have lost the ability to look objectively at your business and its operation. Maybe you’re paying for something you don’t need, such as premises, or you are paying over the odds for some of the components you use in your business and there are cheaper providers/suppliers available.
A healthy business is an agile, lean one, i.e. it doesn’t feature any surplus, extraneous spending. Whilst streamlining may seem like a backwards step, it’s actually necessary for growth—if the cost savings are reinvested into the business towards something that will expand your enterprise.
After everything we’ve been through in recent months your goals may well have changed, so now is the time to flesh out where you want to be in one, three, and five years’ time.Then figure out how you’re going to get there; work backwards and write down each step/thing that needs to happen for you to move onto the next. How can you scale up what you do? Make your goals realistic, with profit and growth at the heart of your actions.
Think about your customer service, pore over your analytics, create a plan for online and offline growth. Consult your market about their needs…maybe these have also changed because of the pandemic?
Lean on Others – Your time is worth a lot to your business, and it won’t thank you if you waste hours on jobs that could be passed on to someone else. You should be working to propel your business forward, to widen your network, to look for and take advantage of new opportunities—but it’s difficult to do that if you’re spending half your week on business admin and menial tasks. It’s also tempting to bury your head in the sand and remain resolutely within your comfort zone after the upheaval the pandemic brought, but this won’t move your business forward at all—you’ll simply remain stock still.
Being a solopreneur is how most businesses start, but there will come a tipping point when you need to bring other people into your business, whether employed staff or freelance assistance, to help you shoulder more work, to take over non-productive tasks, and to bring accountability and a much-needed sounding board as your enterprise gets bigger.
A virtual assistant is not an extra expense but a cost-effective component of your growth plans. With the time you free up from outsourcing dead’ tasks, you can bring on more work. Invest in systems that automate tasks, too, to free up even more of your time.
Business owners should spend a good portion of every week working on their business as opposed to in it. An investment into outsourcing is an investment in your business, and in YOU; no one will swoop into your business and scale it up for you, it will only happen from your efforts. That doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone, though; there are business coaches and consultants who can help and guide you.
These are just a few ways in which to stimulate growth in a small business. Different strategies and techniques can vary in their effectiveness from one sector to another, depending on outside influences and market forces. If you’d like more information on how I can get your business nicely chugging forward, towards success, give me a call on 07711 933457.