We’ve all heard it before. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy and being a business owner can be hard. You’re the captain of your ship and the buck stops with you. How do you separate yourself from the crowd? How do you grow your business and become successful as an entrepreneur? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do it.
There are things you can do differently as an entrepreneur for your business to be successful. Here are seven growth strategies you should know as a business owner:
1. Understand the Pareto Principle
You may have heard of the Pareto principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule. It is a widely used adage that says that roughly 80% of a given outcome will be determined by 20% of its input. For example, in a business context, this could mean 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers, or 80 percent of your complaints come from 20% of your customer base.
The Pareto principle has been applied to numerous contexts over time, but it can vary depending on the situation and shouldn’t be taken too literally. However, you can use it as a practical tool for finding areas in which small changes can make big differences.
2. Digitize Your Business Processes
If you’re still using spreadsheets, it’s time to move on. Digitize them and simplify your business processes. There’s software available that can automate almost every process you have in your company, from lead generation to invoicing. Take a moment to think about how much time you spend on each task in your business. For example, sending out invoices is a tedious and time-consuming process, but there are tools that can do this for you—and typically for free. Platforms such as Otals can also help with digitization.
It all comes down to choosing the right software for your business goals. Look for a tool that gives you the ability to build better customer relationships, improve processes, and automate tasks – saving you time so that you can focus on growing your business instead of running it.
3. Measure Your Progress
It’s not enough to just have a business strategy and goals. You need to track the progress of each strategy and adjust your efforts accordingly. If you don’t measure your progress, you won’t know if what you’re doing is working, which means that it’s impossible to optimize and make adjustments in real-time. Backing your decisions with concrete data also becomes an impossibility.
Make sure that your measurement reflects where you are compared to where you want to be. While it’s helpful to compare yourself against the competition, it’s also good practice to compare your growth against industry benchmarks. Compare where you are now with where you were a year ago—or even six months ago—and determine whether the numbers are moving in the right direction for your business goals.
Finally, keep track of results so that you can revisit them later on as needed.
4. Focus on Cash Flow
Cash flow is the lifeblood of a business.
If you don’t have enough cash to pay your bills, you’ll be out of business in no time. That’s why it’s so important to monitor your cash flow closely and know where you stand financially at all times so that you can adjust accordingly if needed.
To improve your cash flow, make sure that you’re collecting money from customers as quickly as possible and paying your bills as slowly as possible without risking penalties or harming relationships with vendors. It also helps to set up a system for monitoring your accounts receivable and accounts payable regularly, so that you know how much money is going out and when, and how much money should be coming in and when.
If there are times when you have excess cash in the bank, talk to your accountant about how best to invest it until the next lean period occurs (and there will always be lean periods), since putting more than three months’ worth of operating expenses into savings doesn’t earn interest anyway.
5. Expand Into New Markets
Expanding into new markets or locations is a smart way to grow your business. When you’re the only company in town selling a particular product or service, you can be more profitable than your competitors in other markets.
Depending on your industry and what kind of business you run, there are a few ways that expansion could work for you. You could open a second location to give people who live further away from your first storefront easier access to your products, or partner with another merchant who sells related products to reach a whole new customer base. You may even want to expand into an overseas market if there is demand for your product internationally. eCommerce has made venturing into international markets quite easy. Leverage the opportunity.
6. Learn How to Delegate and Inspire Employees
The most successful businesses are the ones that can grow their company without getting overwhelmed. You should learn how to delegate and inspire employees.
The key to success is hiring the right people (made easier with social media recruiting) and surrounding yourself with the best team possible, which is a lot easier said than done in practice.
As an entrepreneur, you might be tempted to handle all tasks related to your business personally. This mentality might work in the initial stages of your business… but as you scale, it’s impossible to operate this way and maintain a high level of productivity. To prevent overwhelm (and burnout), learn how to effectively delegate tasks so that you only have to take care of the most important ones — this will allow you to focus on growing your business instead of doing administrative work.
7. Outsource Your Marketing
You may be a jack of all trades, but when it comes to certain aspects of your business, it can be crucial to outsource. Marketing is one of those business processes you should outsource so you can focus on running the business while experts handle the rest.
Read here about why you should outsource your marketing services.
When choosing an agency for outsourcing your marketing needs, there are several key factors to consider. They include:
The ability to adapt: A good agency works with you, not just for you. They’ll adjust their strategy based on your individual goals and market research and make a plan tailored specifically for your brand’s needs. This kind of flexibility allows them to stay ahead of any problems that may arise down the line and constantly optimize their efforts as they go along.
Transparency: It’s important that this agency is able to explain their processes in clear terms so that you understand where their expertise lies—and how it’ll help your business grow! If they’re just tossing jargon at you, run the other way: while experience is a valuable asset within an agency like this, they should also have solid communication skills in order to work effectively with clients like yourself who may not have much background knowledge in these digital practices yet.
Reputation: You should work with a digital marketing agency with a good reputation. It should be able to meet deadlines, offer top-notch services, and also provide you with excellent customer service. Do a background check, look out for customer reviews, and ask for references you can speak to before signing a contract.
Turnkey Marketing Solutions: As a growing business, you need turnkey marketing solutions. If an agency doesn’t offer full-service marketing solutions, from web development to search engine optimization (SEO), PPC advertising, social media marketing, and content marketing, what’s the point of working with them? Even if you’re only looking for one service, it’s still helpful to partner with a full-service agency. This will enable you to scale and adapt your marketing when your business grows.
Portfolios and Case Studies: According to TrustPilot, 89 percent of consumers globally rely on online reviews before making a purchase. If a digital marketing agency is worth its salt, then it will provide social proof of its capabilities. This includes online portfolios, client testimonials, and case studies.
Get The Right Partner For Top-Notch Marketing Services
You’re not alone as an entrepreneur. Millions of businesses are set up every year, and although volatility is to be expected, you can really make a difference by simply taking a minute here and there to think about the future. These tips can help you do things differently and grow your business.
If you’re looking for bespoke digital marketing services suited to your business needs, Salt Marketing is ready to help you. We have helped thousands of Irish businesses and entrepreneurs to grow.