No matter the economic climate or the product you wish to sell – establishing a small business is one of the most difficult things to do. What can be even more complicated, however, is monitoring your small business’s growth over time. Since there is no one road to success within the business world, and various models of establishment and growth have led different companies to great success, what is more important is your involvement in following the progress of your company through all stages, from early development to international operation and high generation of profit.
Starting out as a Small Business: Defining Your Niche
One thing that successful small businesses indubitably do well is cater to a specific need or niche. Though it may be tempting to serve as a one-stop shop that fulfills all the needs of your client base, it is often better to determine a very small area of expertise and stick to that plan. When expanding your services over time as profits rise, you may find yourself investing materials and money, never mind time and energy that can drain your company’s abilities and hinder your advancement towards better profit margins. Instead, select a key service, or truly frame your products and materials, that customers will become dependent upon your small business for.
At these early stages, watch the patterns in which your clients and potential customers interact with your business. Do they make constant purchases, or do you expect intermittent sales? Are your products or services seasonal, or are you going to be able to expect consistent business without large peaks and falls? At this early stage, instead of worrying about how to be more effective with a large range of services, focus on one or a particularly defined few so that will completely satisfy your customers each time you work with them.
Efficiency vs. Expansion: The Big Decisions
At some point, even with a clearly defined purpose for your business, you and your staff might realize that your company has grown so much you need to either expand, or become far more efficient to accomplish your everyday tasks. Instead of making rash decisions when you realize your company is ready to grow, consider beyond the current quarter. Before any more investments are made, make projections of your profits that take both best and worst scenarios into account. Technology may be tempting in terms of outfitting your staff, but remember that all purchases must be optimal in both efficiency and price points for your staff. By keeping in close communications with all levels of your staff – perhaps through weekly written five minute online surveys in each department that address the critical questions of technology, management, and workplace environment that each individual faces, you may be able to narrow in on what next steps are necessary and ideal for your company to make, instead of choosing based upon superficial values and desires that are unfounded.
Marketing and (Re)branding
No matter how profitable, a business never stops interacting with the public: business is about the big conversation between companies and customers. When customers start reaching out with both criticisms and compliments, it can be a trigger for hasty decisions to be made in terms of staffing or structure of a company. This is when marketing strategies can come into play. If public relations is not your strong suit, invest in a marketing consultant, and boost your social media presence, to attempt to draw and sustain more customers while projecting a positive image about your company to the public.