Most small businesses fail within the first few years of operation and big entrepreneurial dreams of their founders never come to fruition. The main problem is that success neither comes easy nor overnight. Like it or not, you need to play the long game to sustain growth and outpace your competition.
While going about these vital tasks, you better forget about emulating other people’s success and looking for one-size-fits-all solutions. You are better off with a custom-made growth strategy that takes into account your unique set of risks, challenges, and opportunities.
Test the waters before diving in
The first thing to do before throwing money at a business idea is to use a reality check. Namely, conduct extensive market research to inform your business/growth strategy. Scope out what your competition is doing and how that is working out for them. Get familiar with trends and technologies that shape the industry sector.
Based on the insights, establish tangible and realistic goals you are going to pursue. Pick key performance indicators that allow you to evaluate and manage constant change and lay growth trajectories. You can also carry out some A/B testing to see what really works. This kind of legwork will help you stay on track and brave the ever-changing market conditions.
Build business around people
Furthermore, figure out what it is that makes you unique in the eyes of consumers.
You cannot compete just on price and get shoved under a heap of similar brands. So, set yourself apart with a killer value proposition. Define your ideal customers (by creating buyer personas) and uncover why they would choose you over your competition. Try to fill the void in their needs: ideally, you are able to solve real problems and everyday pain points with your offerings.
People are important in one other way—they are the glue that holds business organizations together. To leverage human resources, create a sound hiring policy. Hire highly-driven individuals that fit your company culture and relate to your mission. Make an effort to motivate and engage them properly and they are likely to stick around for the long haul.
Steady revenue streams are the lifeblood of any business. In a nutshell, you need to know exactly how much money you need to cover day-to-day needs and fuel growth. Therefore, do an analysis of your overheads, sales, receivables, assets, rent, and inventory. This kind of comprehensive growth diagnosis should provide you with a roadmap for success.
For good measure, anticipate potential problems with the cash flow and financing. Likewise, evaluate receivables and payables to see if your liquidity is in good order. Plan for these issues ahead of time and make sure you are not expanding too fast (is your inventory following growth, for instance). Calculate major areas of expenditures, including bills, payroll, supplies, and equipment.
Explore ways of trimming the costs in order to boost your financial health. For instance, if you operate in the oil industry, you can seek specialized providers such as oilfield equipment marketplace. By requesting quotes and comparing different prices, you can secure the most favorable deals for major purchases. You are able to stay in control of the expenses and jumpstart business growth and expansion campaigns.
The power of smart marketing
The final piece of the puzzle comes in the form of a marketing plan for cutting through the noise.
Having great products but no means of getting them in front of customers is the worst thing that can happen to a business. To avoid this grim fate, discover what channels your customers prefer to use and then tailor messages that resonate with them. There is no shortage of cost-effective tactics to try out, from traditional to social media marketing.
Whatever you do, try not to overwhelm customers with sales pitches. People have grown leery of them and readily employ tools like ad blockers. So, how about you add real value to their lives with content and other innovative forms of marketing? You should be able to maximize customer acquisition, satisfaction, and retention. It is a clear win-win for you, a way to future-proof the organization.
If you really mean business, embrace a proactive, data-backed, step-by-step approach. Vigilant planning is your best shot at succeeding, so work out a detailed growth plan. Find your target market and serve people’s real wants and needs.
Moving on, get your financial house in order and allocate your resources properly. Always make informed decisions based on facts and figures instead of a whim. Build upon your strengths and competitive advantages and assemble a great team.
Following these steps, you should delight your customers and see them coming back for more.