Everyone knows that maintaining a business is not easy. Most businesses fail and only a few ones succeed.
30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10. A business owner needs the right skills and knowledge to sustain a business, and also the know-how to manage and grow it. Sustaining the growth of a business also requires a strong operational foundation, as this will, in turn, reduce the risks of a business closing down.
Here are 8 key elements you can do to create growth for your business and hence, sustain them in the years to come.
- Utilise low-cost marketing tools
Marketing is an important aspect of a business yet a lot of business owners do not fully understand how to market their business effectively. They either spend a lot unnecessarily or they spend as little as possible, both outcomes which can affect the profitability of the business.
One way to start marketing your business if you are new, is to focus on getting direct sales first. Sales will bring in revenue as new businesses should focus on securing money before spending it on marketing.
As for marketing tools, digital marketing is a great way to expose your brand to a large audience without breaking the bank or going beyond your budget. For example, Facebook marketing is a great tool to target audiences based on demographics and interest for way less as compared to traditional marketing done in the media, newspaper or billboards, etc. For more information, go here.
- Provide excellent customer service
Your customers are your biggest business’ driving factor. They are the reason your business can be thriving or not, which is why customer service is of the utmost importance.
Businesses are encouraged to go the extra mile while taking care of their customers. This is because it takes a lot of effort for a customer to trust your business. A good review from one customer can generate a few more sales for you, whereas one bad review can ruin the reputation of your business that you took years building.
A perfect example of this would be the incident where Canadian singer/songwriter named Dave Carroll wrote his complaint through a song called “United Breaks Guitars” detailing about his bad experience with United Airlines. United Airlines refused to compensate for Carroll’s broken guitar worth USD 1200 where clearly Caroll saw United Airlines’ staff throwing his guitar along with other luggage on the tarmac. The video went viral and the whole incident caused United Airlines’ stock prices to drop 10%, a decrease in valuation equivalent to USD 180 million.
If you provide good customer service, they will be more inclined to come to you again when they need something, instead of going to your competition. Besides, it is more expensive to acquire a new customer as compared to keeping existing customers or regular customers. This is why keeping customers happy throughout your business is the right way to go.
- Do not be afraid of risks and failures
Being scared of failure or not taking risks would do your business more harm than good. Being complacent or stagnant would ruin your business and your competitors will eventually win in the long-run. Take The Five Star Tours for example.
Many businesses and competitors play safe. Taking risks such as introducing new products into your business will freshen the scene. Who knows maybe by introducing a new product, it will be your next hit and that may put the name of your company on the top of people’s minds. By doing things differently, you may discover an entirely new and exciting niche within your field. Even if the new venture fails, you will get a valuable experience and lesson out of it, so long as you keep trying.
As cliche as it sounds, the most important thing here is to never give up and keep trying. As a business owner, you will eventually learn what’s best for your business and what’s not.
- Hire the right people
Hiring the right people for your organisation will go a long way for your business. One important strategy is to not hire employees your company desperately need for today but hire employees that you will need for tomorrow. Look out for employees that can bring long-term gain to your company, or have the potential to grow your business.
“Sustaining growth requires you to share your momentum with others. It demands that you have the best interests of others on your team, and colleagues throughout the organization, at heart. Driving sustainable growth can never happen alone. It not only demands a strong team but collaborative departments/business units that together make up a strong ecosystem with the right intellectual capital.” – Glenn Llopis.
Hiring the wrong employees will also cost more for your company. These employees may be getting the same pay with contributing employees yet their productivity can never measure to be the same or more than the contributing employees. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh once estimated bad hires had cost the company “well over $100 million.”
- Embrace change
This point is similar to taking risks and accepting failure. A business has to adapt to the trends of the world to stay relevant. When a business stays complacent or too comfortable, their competitors may very likely win the race.
If your service or product is deemed less of a necessity or has disappeared from the list of today’s trends, it’ll be difficult to get your business back on the radar. It is better to keep up with today’s ever-changing technology and your customers are also chasing the latest craze and trend.
It is important to go where your audiences are. For example Facebook. It makes more sense to advertise on Facebook as more and more people are on Facebook as compared to a billboard sign where you pay tons of money and target people aimlessly. Selling your products online is also a way to keep up with the trend of people buying things online. Either have an e-commerce store or list your products in a well-known marketplace so that it will be more convenient for your audiences to buy from you.
- Review your financial reports frequently
This tip is a must-do for all business owners as this habit will give priceless insights into the performance of their business. Reviewing your financial reports will not only give you a bird’s eye view of the expenses coming in and out of your business but also informs you about which department of your business you should spend on and which department you can cut costs from. In a way, it allows you to make better-informed business decisions and also to grow your business from there.
For example, if your company is experiencing losses, then as a business owner, you would have to cut operational costs, lay off employees, sell equipment or company assets, etc. Whereas if your company is in the green, then you can reinvest your earnings and expand your business operation, invest in a new product, enhance the technology of the business, etc.
Your financial statement usually includes 3 reports namely the balance sheet, the income statement and the cash flow statement. These financial statements will present a clear financial standing of your business and it can be used to allow banks or investors to review your company. A more detailed breakdown on analysing your financial statements can be found here.
- Consistency is key
In many scenarios, as a business owner, you would have to put in more time and work into your business as compared to if you are working for someone else. That also, unfortunately, means less time for your family and friends.
Many times, you will fail initially, but the determination of perfecting what you are doing wrong can bring immense value to the business. Keep doing what is working and immediately stop anything that doesn’t contribute to the growth of your business. For example, developing an app may seem like the right path with the boom of smartphones. However, if you find that creating an app isn’t bringing in the revenue it should, then the efforts for it should come to a halt, or you can start focusing on other important areas of your business.
- Know when to take a loan
Whoever says that a loan is only meant for the bad times of a business might not know how to run a business. A loan can do wonders for your business, even when your business is not in need of cash. Besides, taking a loan when your business is in peak condition will more likely guarantee a loan approval for when your business isn’t doing well, especially when your business is in need of a loan soonest possible.
A loan helps in the expansion and improvement of a business, it is also a cushion for when a crisis hits, acting to sustain the business through weathered periods. Taking a loan when your business isn’t doing well may seem like the right thing to do, but most banks require the latest 3 months bank statement and when it shows that your business isn’t looking up, then you would have a harder time securing the loan.
Try FS Bolt for your business instead! Business owners will get a quick injection of cash of up to SGD 50k with only 2 minutes application period. There are no complicated paperwork involved and approval time is only within 2 hours! Unlike applying for a loan from banks, the processing and approval period may take up to weeks! Download the mobile app and just follow the instructions on the screen.
Many business owners only think about the here and now, rather than focusing on the potential for future growth and sustainability. It is always better to work on tomorrow than working solely for today. Being leaders, most of the time you would be solving problems at hand and being active rather than reactive. Take the initiative to grow and improve the business, and in the end, it will be worth it.
These tips will hopefully help you in growing your business.
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