Owning a small business is not for the faint of heart. With a global pandemic still rocking the economy (not to mention the challenges of staggering rates of inflation), having a business that’s still standing is a Herculean effort!
Even so, it’s 100% possible to transition from running a business that’s surviving to one that’s thriving through sustainable and smart strategies for growth.
You started your small business because you believed in your product or service. You know it’s the best thing since sliced bread. You also know it takes more than an amazing product to scale your small business, especially in difficult times like these.
It takes time to grow your business and increase revenue, but you can expedite that process by following our four fundamental steps for scaling your small business.
1) Evaluate your capacity (and funds!) for growth.
Step one? Get your ducks in a row! Imagine you woke up this morning with triple the customers you had last night. Could you handle it? Do you have the manpower and infrastructure in place to accommodate this growth? If not, it’s time to do some serious self-evaluation.
Why go to any effort in scaling your small business if you’ll just collapse under the influx of orders? It’s a bit of a cart before the horse scenario, but you have to have everything ready on your end before you’ve secured all of those new customers.
Since all of this expansion will likely be taking place before you’ve seen an increase in your revenue, you’ve got to get creative with securing the funding to scale. In addition to applying for small business loans, consider submitting to small business grant contests. A few of our favorites:
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest: Awards $50,000 to three winners per year, and $20,000 to seven winners.
- Arch Grants Startup Competition: Willing to relocate to St. Louis for at least a year? You could win $75,000 of equity-free funding, $25,000 to relocate, with additional funding of up to $100,000.
- Nav’s Small Business Grant: A quarterly grant with a grand prize of $10,000.
2) Be good to your people.
Scaling starts with treating your employees well. After all, they’re your most valuable resource! Hiring and training new employees is expensive and time-intensive, so your primary focus should be employee retention.
Never drive your team to burnout. Asking your workers to burn the midnight oil might work for a short time, but you’ll eventually end up with employees using their lunch breaks to look for new jobs.
Avoid burnout by building a strong sense of work-life balance into the culture of your company. Here are some of our favorite tips for keeping your employees healthy, happy, and productive:
- Encourage your team to block off time on their calendar for independent work. Respect that time!
- Ensure that your employees have built an adequate amount of breaks into their schedule. Never make your workers feel guilty for going to the gym or taking a walk to clear their head-space. When people take breaks, they’re more productive.
- Never ask your teams to take work home. That time should be for family and rest! Keeping work within contracted hours is a great way to build trust and respect among your employees.
Attract top-tier talent by evaluating your incentive packages. This is not the time to be cheap. Your team will become more invested in your mission if they’re financially taken care of. Some package elements to consider aside from pay:
- More PTO
- Reimbursement for adoption expenses
- Covering domestic partners under health benefits
- In-office perks like fitness centers and free food
When you invest in your employees, you guarantee future growth.
3) Build salespeople out of your customers!
The power of word-of-mouth marketing can’t be overstated. According to a Nielsen study, 92% of consumers worldwide say they trust recommendations from friends and family over any other form of marketing. Take care of your customers, and they’ll take care of you!
Before you work to secure new clients, consider what you can improve for the ones you already have. For sustainable growth, you’ve got to retain your customers. Send surveys or call up current clients to get their feedback on your services and overall customer experience.
Feedback is invaluable, but you shouldn’t always wait for your customer to express their needs. It’s your job to anticipate their needs before they even ask! Are there any add-ons you could offer? Is there a way to make your service more user-friendly? Hold regular brainstorming sessions for improving your client experience.
Happy customers make enthusiastic (and free!) salespeople. Don’t take them for granted!
4) Don’t be afraid to say “no.”
You’ve probably heard this piece of advice, but it rings true in every part of life…especially when it comes to running a small business: When you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else.
If you said yes to takeout, you said no to cooking dinner. Neither option is wrong, but it’s important to remember that saying yes to everything isn’t possible! That’s why it’s vital to carefully consider how you spend your time and money. You only have a certain amount of cash in the bank and hours in your working day, so use them wisely!
Don’t make the mistake of taking on every idea for a project that comes your way. They may be great ideas, but take the time to evaluate if they’re great ideas for you. Spreading your resources across too many projects is a surefire way to ensure that all of them fail.
Scaling your business is no easy feat. That’s why it’s so important to enlist the help of a trustworthy financial expert to help you through it all. Contact KYN today to get started. We’ll be there every step of the way to ensure that you have a rock-solid plan to sustainably scale your business.