TIPS FOR SCALING YOUR BUSINESS
It’s time to scale your business but you’re not sure how. As a business owner, you may be working 6-7 days a week, wearing numerous hats, and are like a hamster running on a spinning wheel. The key here is you’re too busy working IN your business to take the time and work ON your business. The first quarter of 2019 is nearly over. Are you on target? Here are some tips for taking your business to another level.
Ready Set Grow….
Intel – do you know your competition?
By understanding the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, you may be able to capitalize on their weak points. Or…at least you are prepared to go head to head with their strengths. Are you ready to offer a new product or product bundle? Can you create an added value service to leverage that strength? Why does a client come to you?
Pick Up The Pen
Handwritten notes and thank you notes take some time, but it’s one of the best ways to keep clients and get new referrals. Those notes become treasures for small business owners who may not otherwise receive much-deserved accolades and you’ll be top of mind next time they or a friend is in need of your product or service!
Develop 5 Star Customer Service
Think about service at the Ritz Carlton or an upscale restaurant. Your water glass isn’t half empty but what it’s being refilled. Train employees to value each client (even the difficult ones) as they choose where to spend their money. Let it be with you.
Build Referral Relationships
A professional service consultant that can partner with a complimenting business to refer businesses back and forth. The Edmiston Group has some strong referral partners and our businesses collaborate to help each other grow. If you have a brick and mortar business located next to other businesses, collaborate and promote as a city or neighborhood. The more ways that you can find to work and promote your businesses together, the more ways you will create a friendly and warm environment that your clients will love and increase your business exposure not only to your client list, but theirs as well.
Understand Your IDEAL Client
Are you using surveys to poll clients on what you’re doing right and things that can be changed? This will allow you to better meet their needs. Remember the reason you’re in business is to satisfy a client need. It’s about what they want and how your business can design a service to meet that need. If you master this concept, you truly identify your “ideal” client.
Pick Up The Phone
Set yourself apart from the pack. Do something unique – pick up the phone or have face to face contact to establish trust and maintain that strong relationship.
Is Your Website Tired
Simple changes such as logo placement, a call-to-action, using concise, keyword-rich content that is understood easily; and the addition of hyper-linked buttons to your product or service page placed above the “fold” or “scroll” line can make a big impact in user experience and bounce rates. If your site is 5 years or older – platforms have changed. It’s time for an update.
Plan Your Cash Flow and Go Broad for Financing
As your sales increase, it’s even more important to do this, since your inventory and payroll expenses will probably occur before your client’s money hits your bank account.
Usually, the front line of financing sources are the banks and rightfully so. That is what they do best. There are some who use the SBA guarantee programs and others who don’t. Other options that start at the neighborhood level, are Community Development Corporations (CDCs) whose mission is to improve their own business districts and have funding to do that from tax abatements to grants. Municipalities have an economic development component helping businesses located within their jurisdictions. Kiva has crowdfunding options. Bridgeway Capital, a nonprofit organization that ignites economic growth across western PA, may also be an option for financing. Business owners need to explore as much as possible in their quest to get financing
Delegate and Let Go
Are you clutching every detail of your business with closed fists? As a business owner, we wear a lot of hats. Whether you have employees, subcontractors or family pitching in, learning how to delegate effectively can be the difference between reaching new heights and burning out. Because small business owners are working IN their business, they are accustomed to doing a variety of things themselves instead of enlisting the help of others. It can be challenging to identify the tasks you don’t need to do yourself and assign the work to someone else. Once you overcome the challenge, though, you will have more time to dedicate to what you do best — grow your business. My philosophy – if it’s not your specialty that is making you money – find someone who can do it for you.
The reality of running your own business is that you can work 24/7 and there’s still more to do! When helping clients prepare an operating plan, I always recommend scheduling time away. Let colleagues and clients know you aren’t available and/or find a person who can cover for you while away. You’ll come back recharged and ready to go. Are you up for the challenge of business growth? Need some help, email or give us a call at 724-612-0755.
About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.