Running a small business means balancing many factors in order to stay afloat, and even more if you aim to grow. Here are five essential things to keep in mind.
Customers need to feel supported and appreciated from the moment they discover your brand to any post-purchase care. That way they’ll spread good word and organically drive your business.
You want to build a trustworthy brand that people feel comfortable with. You can achieve this via:
- employee training
- timely support
- boosted responsiveness
Implement employee education and training programs that will equip them to handle all customer concerns. They must be knowledgeable about your products and services, up-to-date with upgrades and deals, and capable of quick research if a customer asks a tricky question.
Likewise, make sure your employees are patient, tolerant, overall friendly, and good at conflict management. Successfully de-escalating an upset customer can actually convert them into an organic brand ambassador.
Always have call operators or email monitors available to handle customer communications. This includes complaint tickets, online reviews, and generic question forms. Provide answers in a timely and professional manner.
Make sure everyone knows how to tactfully handle negative feedback. Conversely, make a point of appreciating positive comments and acknowledging constructive criticism. Make your customers feel like their opinions carry some weight.
You might also automate part of your customer care process to make it more efficient. Consider investing in a chatbot for your website to streamline the most common questions. The bot could direct customers to your help center, and forward the query to a human agent if none of the prepared material answers their concern.
Invest time and resources into digital marketing. To begin with, you need a professional website. Your own blog is an enormous plus. If a blog is not viable right away for whatever reason, compensate with social media content.
Establish professional company pages on several platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn etc. Choose the ones that are the most relevant to your target audience.
Create a content calendar to maintain a consistent level of posting. Share valuable and visually appealing content. Photos and videos always grab attention and are multipurpose. They can be promotional, entertaining, sharing stories, etc.
On both your website and social media, optimize your pages for easy navigation, implement a robust search function, and adapt your digital presence for mobile.
Your place of business itself reflects your values, company culture, and overall attitude, so invest in it. Make it look, feel, and function at the highest possible level. This includes design, organization, equipment, decor, and maintenance.
Consider relying on Strata maintenance professionals for the day-to-day tasks of this aspect of your business. They can take over things like landscaping, interior painting, waste management, communal space management, periodic repairs, and other specifics of keeping your premises in optimal order.
This leaves you free to tailor the finer points of your business location, such as the visual themes, equipment installation and management, and overall feel of the space. Office atmosphere plays a great part in employee motivation and productivity. It also indirectly affects interpersonal relationships in the office.
For example, your choice of wall paint can have a soothing or dynamic effect. Plants offer a breath of life and relaxation to stuffy offices. Quality lighting arrangements boost employee alertness and focus.
By contrast, dull, gray surroundings with poor lighting and no hint of the outdoors adversely affect the mood and concentration levels of your employees. They become less productive, more grumpy, and more prone to workplace conflict or unhealthy office dynamics.
Finances and budgeting
Achieving target growth largely depends on money management. You need a long-term financial plan and a way to implement it into your operations on the daily or weekly level.
Select a period in the immediate future, like the next quarter or six months. Outline the income you expect in that time and project any known expenditures. These include office space, utilities, equipment, marketing, payroll, etc. Add a buffer for unexpected expenses as well.
Then decide how much funds to dedicate to each expenditure category and stick to that. Implement other money management policies to support your efforts, such as:
- paying bills immediately,
- avoiding debt,
- cutting unnecessary spending,
- backing up all financial documentation, etc.
Every business has its desired goals (and growth is a goal in itself). To maximize your chance of reaching them, you need to account for five key factors:
- tactics, and
Clarity depends on your communication skills. Everyone in the company needs to be aware of what you’re collectively working towards, what their individual roles are, and how best to cooperate to achieve your targets.
Buffering means accounting for inevitable setbacks. Plan ahead for cash flow problems, market changes, losing employees, changing stakeholders, etc.
Actionality means having several smaller in-between goals on your way to the big ones. Divide your long-term plans into manageable chunks to keep your employees continually motivated and prevent burnout.
Tactics will vary between businesses, so take the time to do some professional reflection. What business methods will get you where you want to be? Which of those are best suited to your particular needs? Which are the most appealing to your clients and/or investors? Which are the most realistic, given your resources?
Metrics enable you to monitor and optimize all of the previous. They provide you with a clear measure of how well your tactics are working and how clearly your goals have been communicated. Accurate metrics enable you to make the right decisions at critical moments along the line.
In summary, the key factors affecting a small business growth are financial planning, marketing, and the customer experience it provides. The condition of the business space also affects productivity. Above all, make sure your growth is strategic and communicate your goals to staff clearly. When everyone knows their part, the whole company functions at an optimal level.