For many entrepreneurs, expanding their business is the number one priority.
There are external factors at work which may prevent business owners from seizing growth opportunities.
According to a March 2019 survey by the National Association for Business Economics, GDP growth is expected to decline from 2.9% in 2018 to 2.4% in 2019.
The escalating trade war will increase the costs of imported goods from China and reduce margins for many small businesses. While there is plenty of economic uncertainty, there are ways that owner-managed firms can still succeed. Take the proactive approach and meet with your advisory board to assess your strategy, going forward.
Here are three ways to scale your business:
For small business owners, there are many opportunities to streamline their operations. One way to do this is by moving manual operations into the cloud.
At the basic level, cloud computing is the delivery of different services through the internet.
For example, a small firm may have used spreadsheets or bookkeeping software to manage their financials.
To become more efficient, the firm would migrate their existing accounting functions to a cloud-based solution such as QuickBooks Online or Xero. These platforms allow you to access financial data in real time from any device.
You don’t have to worry about large upfront costs or downloading software with these services. The monthly fees are reasonable and as you scale, the platform allows you to increase capacity.
These services also integrate with payroll and HR, billing, and CRM systems to help you manage processes more effectively.
By utilizing cloud services, you can free up intellectual capital, financial capital, and time to concentrate on revenue-generating activities.
Partner with your customers
Your customers are one of the best sources of intelligence. They may not often tell you what you’re doing right, but they will tell you what you’re doing wrong.
Get them involved in your business by incorporating surveys into your customer service delivery process. Domino’s Pizza listened to their customers and reported a jump of 14.3% in same-store sales.
Many business owners have had success with SurveyMonkey. It also integrates with email platforms like Outlook and Gmail to help drive your business forward.
The feedback that you elicit can help to improve the service experience. It may also help you develop new products, services, and solutions based on their ever-changing needs.
If you run a business to consumer (B2C) firm, building your brand by developing a loyalty or rewards program is the way to go.
Align with your vendors
As business owners, we’re continually looking at ways to reduce costs.
Our costs of goods or services are usually the line item that we attack first. I’d like to suggest another perspective.
Instead of looking at your vendor as an expense, look at developing partnerships with your vendors.
If you work to incorporate your vendor relationships into your strategy, you can set yourself apart from your competitors.
Focus on cultivating referral relationships with your vendors.
If you become the center of your supply chain ecosystem, your vendors become your allies.
This may lead to better terms and also the ability to obtain credit to finance your purchases. This is essential when you are optimizing your cash flow.
When you are entering the expansion phase, it’s critical that you leverage your resources.
Working with a trusted advisor can make the adjustment easier.
Together, you’ll put your business on the right track to create value for your customers, employees, owners, and community.
(Levar Haffoney is a 2016 Network Journal 40 Under Forty honoree. He is a principal with Fayohne Advisors LLC. You can connect with him at www. fayohne. com, LinkedIn and Facebook.)