A Step-by-Step Approach to Build a Stronger Small Business
Author: Patrick Bergen, Compass Operations
It’s an essential part of the American dream—owning and operating your own business, calling your own shots, reporting to no one but yourself. But it’s also common knowledge that running a small business is a risky proposition—about half of all new business enterprises make it five years and little more than half of those last another five years. The reason many such companies fold?—failing to have a plan to facilitate and manage growth. As a general rule, the small businesses that do survive are the ones that take intentional and well-conceived steps to ensure that operations are continually growing, andthat they have the procedures in place to effectively respond to that growth. If you have what you believe is a sound business opportunity, but you’re struggling to keep momentum moving forward, here’s a step-by-step checklist to help you grow your business:
Step #1—Identify What Makes You Different
If you can’t determine why your customers should come to you (as opposed to the competition), neither will your customers. What makes you different? Why would someone choose to purchase your goods or services? Maybe you are able to compete more effectively than others on price. Maybe your product has proprietary features that set you apart from the competition. Determine what your “value proposition” is and focus your energy there. Don’t try to compete in areas where you can’t.
Step #2—Know Who Your Customers Are and Target Them ::Read More
Step #3—Establish Meaningful Metrics::Read More
Step #4—Know Where You Can Expect Most of Your Revenue::Read More
Step #5—Learn from Your Competition::Read More
Step #6—Stick with Your Strengths::Read More
Step #7—Invest in People
Your employees are your greatest asset. Don’t waste precious resources on a modern warehouse or fancy offices, unless you’ve already built a solid and loyal team of motivated and dedicated workers. It’s better to hire fewer employees at first, but pay them a little bit more. You’ll get the work done and you’ll build a committed team. If your employees know that you will pay them a fair wage when times are good, they’ll often be willing to stick with you when times are lean.
Step #8—Be Willing to Delegate
A common problem with small growing companies is the concentration of decision-making and strategy among a very small group of people. By doing so, you get less perspective and learn of fewer options for moving forward. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, you are better served to bring in talented people and let them do their jobs. The less time you have to spend with the nuts and bolts of your product or service, the more time you can spend strategically positioning your business for growth.