So you have survived the toughest phase of your business. This phase has challenged you physically, mentally and emotionally. Your creativity, resourcefulness, trust and initiative have all been tested and you have come out with flying colors. However, this is just the beginning of your business. Now you need to carry forward what you have started and grow your business.
Obviously business cannot be static. Whether it is a small store at the corner or a large ecommerce website, your business is always active. It needs to remain so and to grow; it needs to get sharper and smarter. While this may not seem a concern as you may still be basking in the glory of your success, remember it does not take long for competitors to catch up and then it will not be long before your customers start moving away.
Many experts believe that most entrepreneurs tend to work ‘in’ their business as opposed to on their business. The business is built around their specific skills and is reflective more of what they can offer. Once they lose interest in the business, the business is doomed to failure. However, there are the more successful entrepreneurs who work ‘on’ the business. Their goal is to provide customers superior products and services. These entrepreneurs take the time to develop skills for themselves and their staff, build on customer relationships and technological know-how and establish an organization where the entire staff works for the comfort of the customer.
If you have successfully launched your business and are now aiming at upgrading and growing your business, consider some key areas to focus on. Remember these activities need to be done on a regular basis and not when you believe you will find time for them.
– Always keep working on your business plan.
The business plan is a guideline for the regular functioning of your business. Based on your experiences so far, update you plan with new financial projections, new details about your product service and possibly new job positions,
– Work on an operations manual.
Let your employees know your how your business works and what are that standards that are expected from all employees.
– Keep an eye on new sources of growth.
An idea for expanding a business cannot be implemented in one day. In fact if you are keen on growing, you need to be on the lookout for openings that may suggest new sources of worth. However, under no circumstances should the current clients be affected. Obviously, it is unfair that your current clients are affected because you would like to expand. Secondly, you need to be extra careful of your reputation now.
– Understand your customers’ needs.
A recent survey by a computer-security firm tried to sell their products recently to a new set of customers along with the old. When a comparison was made as to who made the most purchases, they turned out to be old customers. This shows that better results may be achieved by understanding the result of present customer and gradually trying to increase the market. Try and listen to your current customer a little more. You may want to get more feedback from them and now how you can improve your product and service.
– Maintain your network.
Always maintain contact with your lawyer, a accountant, banker and mentor. Take the effort of updating them with developments in your business.
– Consider exporting.
If you have already established your self well here then why not consider sending your product to other countries. You could try by understanding the markets in other countries also how you can establish relations with local customers and distributors. With global payment systems in place, you can export products easily.
Your business is well settled now and may be at a stage where it is ready of take off. However, this means the current batch of employees will need to be retrained to handle the pressures of new responsibilities. Try to keep them motivated by letting them be in charge of new project and letting them travel.
– Keep a ready source.
Your growing business will need more resources to keep pace and to track what the competition is doing. Try to bring in new and fresh marketing idea, try out new products and build on a list of prospective customers.
– Build a company culture.
All your employees should know your values and ideals and through implementation of regular, well-thought policies; you can create a business culture that actually values integrity, hard work and customer service.
– Never stop learning
Never give up your curiosity and never give up learning. You will never be able to fully master the art of enterprise management if you cannot understand important aspects of leadership and employee motivation, time management, marketing, finance and selling. Make sure you have an open mind on them and read all you can from magazines and books, seminars and course or of course from industry experts.
– Maintain good credit rating.
Maintain a good credit rating with your banker. Make sure you ask him for more credit when you things are going well so that payments are prompt and your credit rating goes up.
– Understand the outreach of the Internet.
Technological innovations especially on the Internet front are really changing the way we do business. Understand what application can be made use of to grow your business. Try blogs, newsletters, webinars, ecommerce auctions and podcasts to learn how best you can grow your business by exploiting the full potential of the Internet.
– Always, think about your exit strategy.
While it is great to be thinking about growing a business, one should always be working on an exit strategy. You should consider what would make you move away from the business. If so what would you do next? It is true that strategic entrepreneurs always keep their options open and manage their business well so that the business is always in sales-worthy shape.
No one knows what opportunities the future will bring, but with these tips and helpful guidelines, you can be sure that you are now fully equipped to step out and make those opportunities work for you.