Running a business requires a significant amount of work, and growing one necessitates even more. Many entrepreneurs can tell you stories about sleepless nights, neglecting personal relationships, and maybe even going back to school to bridge skill gaps. Perhaps you have a few of your own. While your business is important to you (as it should be), you shouldn’t put the rest of your life on hold to run it. If you believe it’s time to grow, but do not have more time to spare, here are a few ways to do so without feeling overwhelmed.
One of the worst mistakes entrepreneurs make is attempting to handle everything themselves. There’s inventory to oversee, customer relationships to manage, marketing to do, bills to pay, operations to streamline, and more. It’s tempting to fall into this trap because no one knows your business as well as you. However, taking on more responsibility than you can handle is a sure way to overwhelm yourself, and your company will pay for it. So hire qualified employees and use proper tools. You probably do not have the expertise to do everything alone anyway, so lean on the knowledge and skills of others.
Technology can have its problems, but it still intends to make your life smoother. Online accounting software like QuickBooks can help you easily keep track of your cash flow. Store your data in the “Cloud” so relevant parties can access it. You will save time printing, sharing, and searching for lost documents this way. Automate available processes. Use an email management system to keep track of your communications. If there is a device or program that can reduce the time you spend performing a task, leverage it.
Business owners sometimes become so preoccupied with reaching new customers that they neglect their current ones. Harvard Business School reports that increasing customer retention rates by five percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent. Returning customers should be dear to you, so pay proper attention to them. Offer them special deals, give them sneak-peeks at upcoming products, and reward them for their loyalty. You do not want to lose them, and when new customers see how you treat consistent ones, they will be more inclined to stay with you.
For reaching out to customers you have not met yet, social media is an excellent way to grab their attention. Billions of people browse their social channels every day. Instead of dealing with the intricacies of organizing a TV commercial or cold calling folks, use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Instagram to interact with people. They each offer paid options for advertising, but you can still build a community for free—and you can schedule your posts with services like HootSuite.
Mike DeHetre, Vice President of Product Development at Travelers, says:
“Small businesses need to manage their growth to avert disruptions that can bring business to a grinding halt… the theft of employee data, customer records, and product designs can destroy a small business… Not every small business owner’s policy covers data breaches or other cyber losses. Small businesses should be prepared by seeking insurance products that help them recover, including those that cover the cost of remediation lawsuits.”
Having the best security available will save you a great deal of hassle should disaster strike.
One way to grow without opening up another storefront is acquiring another business. If a fellow entrepreneur is selling their enterprise and you have the funds to buy it, you can adapt it and all of its revenue into your own business family. The business does not even need to be related to your own; if you are prepared to handle the complexities of another industry, this could be an opportunity to expand your brand into new fields.
You can always partner with another business so that what benefits them, benefits you. If your partner offers customers a deal that gives them a discount at your place, that’s easy marketing right there. You are tapping into their customer base without having to build another one from scratch.
Do you want to grow your business without overwhelming yourself? Contact us today if you have any questions about strategies to grow your small business.