Authored by Ed Carter of AbleFutures
A growing business is a good thing, but the pains of growth can be challenging to manage. With the proper planning and tactics, you can successfully expand your business and weather the bumps along the way. Deciding how and when to scale your business is the first step.
You are most likely exploring business expansion because you see signs of growth and don't want to miss out on opportunities. However, you may be at a point where you can't make more money until you have more money. Securing funding doesn't have to be an obstacle, especially if you look to more than one source. In addition to a traditional bank loan, investigate microloans, angel investors, or crowdfunding options.
To kickstart your growth by reaching a larger audience, create a strong marketing strategy so that your advertising dollars are more likely to give you results. According to one study, content marketing can be very effective when a strong marketing strategy is in place. To start, consider hiring a marketing agency to create and maintain your website for you. Then, when potential customers find you on the internet, they'll have a good idea of what you can do for them and know the next steps for hiring you or purchasing your product.
If it seems like your business has reached its saturation point with your current product or service, the answer may be to create something new. Design a product or service that complements your current line once you find a problem to solve by addressing customers' pain points. Testing your idea is easiest when your ideal customers overlap.
To keep track of your product design and its iterations, consider using a product roadmap template. Although it's designed for software development, you can use the same processes and tools to create new physical as well as digital products. A template makes it easy to arrange an efficient workflow for a product launch, from prioritizing the tasks team members need to complete and setting deadlines to laying out clear business goals. Additionally, consider using the Tempest Gateway to provide a platform where current employees and all new hires can easily see your operating procedures, continuity plans, emergency response protocols and more.
Whether you're hiring help for the first time or adding to your current team, find and recruit the best people for the job instead of rushing to fill a position. Be mindful in your hiring approach by being respectful of your candidates, clearly outlining the role and listening to their concerns. Once hired, get to know your new hire's strengths, skills, and communication style during the onboarding and training process. When you know your people well, you can fit them into the business structure where they work best, making them a true asset to the company.
Delegating tasks to new employees is difficult for some business owners, especially ones who have worked alone for a long time. If you find yourself asking for help, only to then take over the task you've asked someone else to do, think about why you do that. Does the person need more training before being ready? Do you need to learn to trust workers once you've trained them? Once you get to the root of the problem and correct it, you can hand parts of your business to your trusted team members and focus on the aspects of business management that only you can do.
For optimal growth and minimal disruption, look for the balance between growth and stability. Don't try to add customers, products, and new employees all at once. Instead, make a change and wait for the dust to settle before moving to the next stage. Although your business expansion won't be strictly linear, try to pace yourself so you don't lose your balance.
Branding is the process of setting your business apart from the competition. It's how you control how people view your business and connect with it. Branding is used by major companies, from Coca-Cola to McDonald's. However, small businesses can also use it to influence public perception.