Starting a small business can be an exciting, somewhat overwhelming time.
With so many things to think about, and so many decisions to make at once, it’s easy to get lost in the details. When you start making sales and developing satisfied customers, all the hard work will seem worth it. Yet a successful small business rarely happens by accident. You need a new business strategy from day one to manage small business growth and ensure your company is the best it can be.
Here’s what you should know:
What Is a Business Strategy?
You may have heard thought leaders at Fortune 500 companies speak about the importance of having a business strategy, or have read news reports about failing businesses pivoting to focus on a different strategy. Yet you might still wonder, what is business strategy and how does it apply to small business?
In a nutshell, a business strategy, or business development strategy, is a road map. It identifies your spot in the marketplace, the ways you are different from your competitors, the customers you want to attract, your company’s core strengths, the main reasons your business exists, and the products or services you want to provide. Equally importantly, it explains the “why” behind each of these decisions. A strong business strategy will form the heart of your business and marketing plans.
There are a lot of generic business strategies for you to draw ideas from, but the best business strategies are tailored to your company as it currently exists, based on where you want to go in the future. A successful small business strategy typically looks very different from a successful enterprise company strategy. Small business growth strategies may be more aggressive than a competitive business strategy that focuses more on maintaining your current position in the market.
Your business strategy model should never be static. It should change as your business grows and expands, always noting where you are and where you want to go next.
Small Business Growth Strategies
A successful small business expansion strategy is customized to your company’s unique needs, but there are numerous elements that should always be included. These include, but are not limited to:
Know Your Competitors and Find Ways to Stand Out
Take the time to study those who are successful in your market, from small industry disruptors to the behemoths that currently have most of the market share.
Learn their strengths and weaknesses, their core products and services, and even their marketing strategies. Then figure out how to differentiate your company from theirs. Maybe you have new proprietary technology or a top-notch sales team or the best customer service in your industry. Focus on your strengths, find ways to compensate for your weaknesses, and target your business development strategy to what makes your company different from the rest.
Focus on Your Customers
Identify your ideal customers and then get to know them. What do they need? What are their challenges? Where are the sticking points in your sales funnel that keep them from getting to “yes”? How can you improve customer service to create a better experience for them?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If your target market is young families, consider adding a small children’s play area to your waiting room. If your target customers have transportation issues, could you run a shuttle bus to your facility? The more pain points you are able to remove, the more likely customers are to purchase your products or services.
Pay Attention to Organization and Time Management
The most successful companies run like a well-oiled machine.
Take a hard look at your workflows and processes. Is your storeroom well organized, with everything clearly labeled? If you have employees assembling products or food orders, does each station have everything needed within arm’s reach? Is everyone’s day well structured, with clear task lists and the support needed to efficiently accomplish those tasks? Are there too many team meetings or not enough?
Invest Both Time and Money into Your Business and Workforce
The old expression, “time is money” is as true today as it ever was.
Fortunately, modern businesses have seemingly endless choices for tools and technology that can save significant amounts of time. From accounting and bookkeeping software to 3D printers, invest in the things that will free up your time and that of your staff to focus on your core business activities.
Investing in your employees is equally important. Choose well-qualified candidates with the expertise you need, even if they cost a bit more than unqualified workers. Once you have good people on your team, work hard to keep them. The average cost to hire a new employee is around $4,000 while replacing an existing employee could easily cost 50 to 60% of the annual salary for that position.
Reduce turnover by investing in training and education for your existing employees, as well as in fringe benefits that improve their overall satisfaction.
Minimize Small Business Risk
You can never completely eliminate risk, but a smart business expansion strategy takes active steps to reduce it.
Business insurance is one of the biggest ways to minimize risk. From workers compensation insurance to general liability insurance, Next Insurance has you covered. As your company expands, your customized insurance package can grow with you.
You can also minimize risk by consulting with business professionals at least once a year. At a minimum, develop relationships with a CPA or tax attorney and a business attorney, and have them give your company an annual checkup.
Never Compete Solely on Price
While it’s important to keep your prices within the same range as your competitors, competing solely on price is a race to the bottom.
Huge big box stores do enough volume to compete primarily on price, but for small, medium, and even most enterprise-level companies, it’s a losing strategy. Instead, focus on the value that you offer to your customers. Most people want to feel like they got a good deal, so sell based on value rather than price. A great way to do this is to make the things that differentiate you from your competitors part of your marketing spiel.
Ready for a Better Insurance Solution?
At Next Insurance, we pride ourselves on providing small business insurance plans that are affordable, easy to use, completely online, and tailored to your unique needs. Get an instant quote today or call us at 1-855-222-5919 to learn how we can help!