I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about what small business owners can do to increase their marketing to help grow their revenue. What I don’t talk a lot about is how you can grow your business. Many small business owners do a great job of getting started and building a base of customers. But then they reach a certain level, and they stagnate. They cannot figure out how to take that extra step that puts them above where they are currently. The funny thing is, this ceiling has nothing to do with the core business model or the business owner; it’s simply a matter of approach.
That said, here are some tips to take your business to the next level.
1. Hire the Right People
“Hire the right people” is probably the most crucial piece of advice any small business owner can have. When the right people are in place, you don’t have to worry about their jobs and yours. If you want to grow your business, you need to put people in place that will help free up your time so you can focus on the growth of your company.
There’s also a financial impact if you don’t hire the right people. It will cost you more money and time in the end if you’re constantly trying to fill employment positions because you did not hire the right people.
2. Be Adaptable
According to Business News Daily, the ability to adapt may be the quickest way to grow your company.
“One trait that many successful startups have in common is the ability to switch directions quickly in response to changes in the market,” writes Business News Daily. “An agile approach to development, both in your product and your company, will help you grow more quickly.”
3. Many Buckets
Many small businesses find themselves taking one step back for every two steps forward they take.
One of the solutions to this issue is the many buckets approach that I’ve talked about in previous posts.
The idea behind the many buckets approach is that you don’t have one or two sources of income; you have several. When you have several buckets of income, your business doesn’t suffer as much if one or two of those buckets is empty. That’s because you have other buckets to pick up the slack.
The setbacks are going to happen no matter what. However, when the setbacks are less impactful, you can move forward much faster.
4. Close the Right Clients
A lot of small business owners make the mistake of taking any client willing to pay. The trouble is, it sets you up for is a lot of heartaches, stress, and possible pain.
Marketer Neil Patel says in his Marketing School podcast, “You need to close the right clients. It’s not just about bringing in revenue. Churn really hurts morale; hurts growth. It’s better to have the right companies that you can continually upsell and grow into.”
5. Dig into Your Numbers
It’s easy to just look at the profit and loss of your company and call it a day. However, understanding what’s driving those numbers is what’s going to grow your business.
Kayla Rossiter, a Business Development Specialist, told Forbes, “As an established business, you should be using accounting software. Once you understand the basics, what else can you measure? Understand your inventory turns and dive into your cash flow. Now is the time to start to measure your business and use metrics to take your business to the next level.”
6. Recognize the Value of Diversity
It’s good to have a company culture, but don’t allow that culture to change who your employees are and what they stand for. Step 1, hire the right people doesn’t work if you immediately try to change those people.
As the small business support company Xero says, “Complementary skill sets can mean contrasting personalities…Trying to ‘fix’ these differences so everyone’s the same will not work. In fact, it’s likely to backfire badly…Accept that people are different to you – maybe even very different. Race, gender, sexuality, and personality differences are irrelevant. What really matters is how good people are at their jobs.”
7. Free Your Own Time
The Unstoppable CEO Steve Gordon stopped by the Intentionally Inspirational podcast a while back to talk about his tips for getting your business to the next level. Gordon says once you’ve found freedom in your business through revenue growth, it’s time to free your own time.
“A lot of times, I’ll see business owners get themselves into a position where the business centers around them so tightly, they got their hands in everything. No one can do it as well as they can,” said Gordon.
Gordon says small business owners need to slowly start handing things off to focus on what they love and growing the business.
You can read all of his advice here.
8. Ask and Share
The exchange of ideas may lead you to your next big thing.
“Never hesitate to ask questions from other business owners for fear of looking like you’re not the expert,” Merly Thomas, Director at Illinois SBDC, told Forbes. “Truth is, you’re not the expert, you’re the entrepreneur! Be willing to share business knowledge. It’s in the exchange of information that others perceive your confidence in building a business, and new partnerships are discovered.”
9. Invest in Yourself
In the early stages of your business, take only what you need to survive and feed all other revenue back into your business.
“A startup’s ability to invest in itself [helps] accelerate growth,” Christian Lanng, CEO and co-founder of business software provider Tradeshift, told Business News Daily. “In those early years, it’s critical to make sure that you’re redirecting any revenues back into the company. It’s vital to invest early and heavily in order to grow quickly.”
10. Trust but Verify
Eric Siu of Single Grain talked about this in his Marketing School podcast. Siu said when he first started, he wanted to be a laid-back business owner with an open office policy. As long as employees got their work done, things were good. It turns out he ended up being too lax.
“It’s important, especially in the very beginning, especially when you’re trying to save something to trust but verify,” Siu said on the podcast. “Be there in person. Be there in the trenches showing that you’re there and have some kind of vision for the company as well.”
In the early stages, presence is essential, especially your presence.
I love this one simply because it’s a head-turner.
CFIMITYM is an acronym for “Cash Flow Is More Important Than Your Mother.”
“Lack of cash is one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail. Inadequate cash reserves (aka “running out of money”) will shut you down faster than anything else. You can’t pay your bills. You can’t make payroll,” Cliff Robbins, a Senior Business Advisor, told Forbes.
“It’s possible for your business to make a profit but have no cash. Profit is an accounting concept, while cash is the amount of money in the business checking account,” Robbins continued. “You can have assets, like inventory or accounts receivables, but if you can’t collect on what’s owed, you won’t have cash. And if you run out of cash, you’re out of business.”
12. Trust Yourself
I like this one from the website Keap because it highlights one of the things that got you to where you are today—your instincts.
“All the advice in the world is no substitute for your finely-honed instincts. This is your small business. These are your dreams. And there will be times where opportunities come along that fall outside of your plans and projections,” writes Keap. “If you’ve set yourself up for success with strategic planning, scalable systems, and a solid bottom line, you’ll be in a position to listen to your gut and make that leap of faith in a way that feels secure and sensible – not risky and rash.”
Written by Erika Towne