• 5 Steps to Growing Your Business the Smart Way

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    Once you launch a small business, you may quickly become complacent about generating new business as you deal with the day-to-day responsibilities you’re faced with on top of client work. And then one day, you look up from your work and realize you really want (or need) to get serious about growing your company. But where do you begin?
     
    Here, we’ll look at some key steps to assist you on your journey.
     
    Step 1: Establish Processes
    You might have gotten this far in your business doing it all on your own, but if you plan to grow, you’re going to need to bring on additional people in your company. The easiest way to transition some of your tasks is to create processes that others can follow.
     
    For each task that you undertake, write the steps for it. If, for example, you log into your social media dashboard each day, start with the URL and login information, then list the steps you take to review social media mentions of your brand, schedule updates, and review analytics.
     
    Ideally, anyone who reads these steps will be able to complete the task. Hiring help frees you up from having to do so much of the work yourself.
     
    Step 2: Automate What You Can
    Automation is an entrepreneur’s best friend. The more of your processes you can put on auto pilot, the more time you will free up.
     
    You can automate a variety of things in your business:
     
    • Recurring invoices
    • Email marketing
    • Social media updates
     
    It may take some time up front to set up these automations, but once they’re established, they’ll work to nurture your leads, build brand loyalty and generate revenue, while you focus on other aspects of your business.
     
    Step 3: Invest in What Will Help You Grow
    Budgets are always tight for small businesses, so every investment has to count. Reflect on what tools, equipment, or resources will help you grow the fastest.
     
    Would hiring a full-time employee help you get more done? Would bringing on an outsourced marketing firm allow you to reach more potential customers? Would customer relationship management software step up your sales game? Would a new website attract more business?
     
    Start with just one investment. Once it has helped your business reap rewards, move on to the next item.
     
    Step 4: Keep Learning
    It’s easy as a business owner to be trapped in a bubble. Who has time to read books and blogs about business when you’re busy running one? And yet, you must understand that knowledge is power when it comes to helping your business succeed.
     
    Reading publications, attending industry events, and teaching yourself new skills will help your company remain competitive as it grows.
     
    Step 5: Constantly Look for Ways to Improve
    Even as your little business starts to stretch its wings, know that there is always room for improvement. Keep assessing results on sales and marketing efforts and looking for ways to cut costs or increase revenue. This will ensure that the growth continues rather that stagnating.
     
    As you already know, business growth takes dedication. If you’re willing to put in the effort, your small business will expand and increase its success. But be patient! Success doesn’t happen overnight. Give it time and reinvest into your business, and it will happen.
     
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    Brenda Stoltz is the Managing Partner of Ariad Partners, a marketing and sales firm specializing in helping companies grow their traffic, leads, and revenue. Brenda blogs about lead generation, sales and technology at AriadPartners.com, Forbes.com, B2Community.com, and AllBusiness.com. Connect with Brenda on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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