Businesses are constantly under pressure to keep getting bigger and better, but not everyone has the same resources to stimulate this growth. In the business world, standing still may as well be the same as drowning, but pushing growth might be more than you can handle. If you're looking for some ways to steer your business in the right direction with some gentle, consistent growth, here are some steps you can take.
1. Evaluate Current Practices
When you think of growth, you may think of big, expensive marketing campaigns or hiring pricy consultants, but one of the best tools you have is probably right under your nose. You can see big chances in your company just by making small changes that have a big impact. For example, maybe you've noticed your employees are spending a lot of their time billing clients. By reevaluating the process, you may find that the billing forms are too long and convoluted for your needs, or maybe you need a platform clients can use to easily view their bills. With a few small changes, you can streamline the activity, save time, and help your employees move on to more urgent tasks that actually need their attention. There are plenty of tools you can use to evaluate the tasks in your company, like time tracking software, to help you pinpoint where you're losing efficiency.
2. Plan Your Trajectory
If you don't care which way you're going, then it doesn't matter your direction, but it's a lot easier to meet your goals when you know which ones you want to accomplish. Make a list of different goals of different scopes and timelines. Don't make so many that you get overwhelmed, but don't make so few that you're not excited or encouraged to meet them. If steady, slow growth is your goal, then just map out the tasks you need to keep your company going in the right direction.
3. Protect Your Cash Flow
Many companies see cash flow as the lifeblood of a business. Small businesses, which typically have smaller cash flows, need to be even more aware of this. If you invest a big portion of your cash into a marketing campaign without understanding the risks, you may not see the results you want. Not only will you have a failed campaign, but the rest of your business could come crashing to a halt because you don't have money to buy products, fill orders, or worst of all, pay your employees. If you don't have a lot of extra cash to spare, don't put your money towards anything that doesn't have a guaranteed return. Sometimes the best thing you can do is be patient until you have the capital to invest in new ventures. Experiment with marketing little by little. Request samples of new materials and get customer feedback before switching over your entire stock. Try renting or buying used equipment. There will come a time for risks, you just need to keep moving in the right direction until then.
4. Connect With Your Customers
Your customers are an essential cog in your business machine. Roping in new customers gets expensive, but holding onto the ones you have doesn't cost much at all. When you treat your customers with respect, provide an impressive product or service, and follow through on your customer service, these customers will return again and again. If you're lucky, they'll bring their friends along, too. These are the people you need to listen to when you want to expand or offer new products. How can you serve them so that they want to keep coming back? What do they want to see from you? With the rise in social media, this information is easier to gather than ever.
5. Pay Attention To Detail
If you want to grow your business but don't have much cash to make that growth happen, look at the details for quick improvements. Maybe the stickers you give away tear easily, making it difficult for anyone to use them and actually advertise your company. Maybe everyone is passing you on the street because the paint on your sign is dull or the bushes are obscuring it. If someone needs to leave you a message at the office, is your tone welcoming? Are you asking people to follow or comment on your social media posts? Sometimes these simple, quick adjustments can make a big difference.
Not everyone needs to grow their business into a huge corporation, and that's okay. There are still minor, relaxed changes that can make your life easier and improve your bottom line as a result of steady growth.