This is a guest post by Chelsea Lamb of Business Pop.
Every business goes through five similar stages of growth: Existence, survival, success, take-off, and resource maturity. The first three stages are about having a working business in place, while the latter two are about being extra successful. Regardless of where your small business falls on the scale, there are some best practices that you should, ideally, follow for stable growth.
Research the market and competitors
Growth involves finding demand and satisfying it – preferably faster, for cheaper, and better. Research the target market to figure out your customers’ expectations and needs. Some facts to pinpoint are industry trends, challenges, consumer pain points, pricing, and purchase habits. Also, it pays to keep tabs on the competition to see what – and how – you can do better.
Come up with specific, attainable goals
Your expansion needs to be guided. Depending on your market research, you should be able to come up with concrete short-term and long-term goals that you can realistically attain for maximum success. According to Business Growth Simplified, you can set and follow three simple goals to ensure growth: breaking even, achieving profitability, and scaling.
Plan out the financial details carefully
You know it takes money to make money. Around 82 percent of businesses fail due to poor cash flow management. Make it a priority to ensure you have enough cash on hand to meet your expansion goals. You may also want to create an emergency fund or find a fallback line of credit to borrow money to meet unforeseen expenses – there are bound to be some.
Diversify and test your product or service
Based on your market findings, you may spot opportunities to meet consumer demand in new, better ways. You may need to diversify your product or service along the way. Leave enough time for this – it can take weeks or months to get a product or service market-ready, as you likely know. You may want to test your offering out thoroughly before launch. Also, test your existing processes to make sure they can withstand heightened demand.
Use business process management (BPM) to be more efficient
Business process management (BPM) is a powerful data analysis technique. It’s an excellent tool for growth if leveraged right. It automates and optimizes processes and workflows by analyzing how people, systems, and data interact. Then, it gives you insight into how you can streamline previously laborious business operations to operate with extra efficiency. When creating a BPM framework, you must constantly monitor the effectiveness and then take extra steps to improve the process and output.
Hire new staff
You may need to hire new staff to meet your expansion goals. This can be harder than you think – you need skilled people who are up to the challenge of expansion. You will need to set up a solid recruitment process to attract top-tier talent. Alternatively, you could work with agencies or freelancers to access services on-demand.
Revamp your marketing
Changing up your marketing – making a new, more relevant campaign – will generate buzz and help you achieve your expansion goals. Cross-promotions, influencer marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing are good strategies. Promotional videos that showcase your services or products in-depth are essential accompaniments to your marketing copy.
Prepare for risk
Growth can be challenging. You may encounter several issues – money problems, shipping delays, employee sickness, unexpected losses, and more. You must develop resilience and learn how to think on your feet. Prioritizing a healthy work-life balance for yourself and your employees can help. Keep a healthier home and reduce stress by decluttering, organizing, and adding some indoor plants.
Business growth is a process that involves research, planning, creating goals, and then achieving them. Techniques like business process management are worth exploring for gathering insightful data, which you can use to make informed decisions. Be persistent and focus on achieving goals consistently for maximum business growth.