Growing your small business requires planning and investment. And while keeping your operations as is could be the smartest thing to do right now with regard to your capabilities and setup, expanding is a worthy goal once you’re ready for bigger returns and a stronger market presence.
Read on for smart tactics for your small business, to grow even more this coming year.
SMALL BUSINESS TACTICS
Innovate your service or product.
Depending on what your current offerings are, slight tweaks to your services or products can make a big difference in your customers’ reception of its benefits.
HOW TO START
Begin with a thorough examination and review of what you have right now, and think of ways to make this more exciting and beneficial for your customers. Glean extremely useful info from customers’ reviews, polls, surveys, and take note of the most popular sentiments—this is key in taking your innovations in the right direction. What are your fans clamoring for? If it’s feasible and won’t oblige you to go over your alloted spend, then develop it right away.
Sometimes it’s as simple as launching the same product in a more easy-to-use format (think spray disinfectants versus screw on capped bottles) or the same product in the amount that the customer thinks is most cost-efficient—therefore saleable—for them (perhaps you’re missing out by not creating a medium SKU between your 20ml product and 1000ml product which could have its own large customer base).
Are you a designer charging per hour and having difficulty securing clients? Calculate your margins and innovate by grouping related services. Why not offer a packaged price to make your services more comprehensive and less costly for them, while keeping a price premium for you?
The bottom line is, innovation doesn’t even require you to modify your services or products. Often it is the discovery and focused promotions of new applications for your products and services to hook more customers in… A good example are popular content focused on a hundred ways to use petroleum jelly, a single product sold simply by focusing on the different beneficial applications, without the product ever changing its formulation!
What’s crucial is creatively answering the needs of your customers and potential customers with your clear perspective of the most viable action points that will help your business flourish.
Cut cost in areas that aren’t performing well and develop those that have greater potential.
Learning how to differentiate between an investment and a cost is a vital skill that takes business acumen through experience and sound judgment. When in doubt, ideate with your team or department heads. Different takes on how your small business is running right now helps you gain razor sharp focus by taking into consideration all the working parts of your service or product.
HOW TO START
Review your financials—the main goal is to grow your bottom line. Reviewing operational efficiency to help you do this might not be applicable to all small businesses, especially if your team is super lean or if you’re a solo entrepreneur. Go on an compare pre-tax and post-tax money—this is why your bottom line matters!
An effective tactic to apply to help grow your small business is by improving your inventory turnover. How efficient you are at managing and selling your products largely dictates sales and profits. A low inventory turnover means you’re holding products that aren’t selling as fast as they should (consider expiry dates, if your product follows trends, and the like) and could be rendered obsolete. With a high inventory turnover, you’ve got less funds tied up, a more liquid business, and more profits that aren’t being eaten up since you’ve got inventory control. Look at your inventory turnover ratio right now: Take your net sales (from your income statement) and divide this by your inventory (from your balance sheet).
Take your roster of services and identify the highest and lowest performing on your list. Are your weakest services better off as future developments with your current business setup coupled with customers’ feedback? If yes, liquidate by appropriating the weak services’ R&D, marketing and promotions budget to support your stronger services. You’ll be better off doing one thing perfectly compared to doing many things poorly just so you can cover “everything”. If your skill sets aren’t strong enough, then don’t do it.
Staunch bleeding and cut cost after an in-depth review of what isn’t working right now.
The freed funds can do so much better on different areas, and you’ll have that extra budget for marketing and promotions of your tried-and-tested services and products.
Invest in lead management.
There isn’t that one perfect way to cultivate leads. If you’ve invested in lead generation tactics, another tactic to add to this is lead management.
Don’t let your morale be dampened if you lose a deal or prospect. This is not the final step in the process. The goal here is to keep improving lead management by sharing insights with your team and continually developing a workflow that nurtures the leads that you have right now. Ask the important questions: Why was our lead hesitant to purchase from us? How will we get them to the tipping point after overcoming hesitations? How many steps or action points on average do we need to accomplish before converting a lead into a paying customer?
Focusing on lead management as a tactic isn’t rocket science, but it does involve patience and dedication. Think like your customer and forget about selling for a moment—what are your concerns, biggest problems and needs, where and who you are in the buying process. Would successful selling require a specific mode of communication? How long does a customer need to deliberate (buying insurance and buying a picture frame are certainly opposite ends of the length of time deliberation spectrum)?
Define what a qualified lead is so that you can fine tune your targeting.
Get a CRM application that is easy to use for all members of your team. All information about your leads should be properly organized and in one place for quick access and reference. We cannot stress enough the importance of updating the system rather than keeping details on emails or handwritten notes that can get lost in the clutter. A good CRM platform means all your data about where your leads are in the sales process is accurate, consistent, and actionable.
- A caveat: Remember that not all tactics will work for you—businesses and markets in different industries are unique, and it is up to you to correctly apply these based on what your own small business’ demands.
LOOKING FOR A BIG CHANGE THIS YEAR? OUR CHEAT SHEET FOR SMART STRATEGIES TO GROW YOUR SMALL BUSINESS MIGHT BE A BETTER READ.
Thanks for dropping by, and hooroo for now!