One of the keys to the success of any small business is continued growth. Innovation and forward-thinking are vital factors to driving the profitability of your company. So the question becomes, how do you continually move your business forward? Recognizing that you need to grow is the first step, and then the challenge becomes identifying ways to do so. In this article, we look at ways to encourage business growth and ensure you’re providing your customers with the best products and services available.
Ways you can fuel business growth
Do your research
Neil Armstrong once said that “Research is creating new knowledge,” and this can be especially true of your business. Reading industry publications and related academic research will help you stay on top of the trends, advancements and changes in your industry. Some great publications to start with are Forbes, CanadaOne, Entrepreneur and WIRED. Google Scholar is also a great research tool – it allows you to research any number of topics and provides academic articles from various outlets including The Journal of Finance, the Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Economic Perspectives. These articles are written by industry experts and can provide insight on topics that business owners may find highly beneficial. For example, The Journal of Economic Perspectives has a very insightful study available (for free) entitled, “When and Why Incentives (Don’t) Work to Modify Behaviour.”
Twitter is becoming an increasingly vital tool that business owners use to keep up to date on industry news as well. The handy “List” feature on this social media platform allows you to create a one-stop-shop for all your industry contacts. The 140-character limit per tweet keeps things short and sweet, making it easy to determine if the contents of an article are of interest to you. You can also use Twitter’s “Like” feature to bookmark things you’d like to review later.
Networking is a term those in the small business world will likely hear on a daily basis, and that’s because it’s crucial to the success of any brand. Attending industry events and tradeshows is one of the easiest ways to look for opportunities to grow and improve your business. One of the biggest benefits of networking is the opportunity for shared knowledge. These events allow you to talk to like-minded individuals working in the same industry as you are. Sharing ideas, challenges and solutions with one another may help you identify ways to improve.
You can also use this opportunity to bridge new connections and relationships. Partnerships with other companies could be your next big success. And even if you can’t achieve either of these things, you’ll inevitably be increasing your business’ profile just by being in attendance.
Keep an eye on the competition
Networking with your competition may be important, but going a bit further than that can also help grow your business. Maintaining an understanding of your major competitors will help you ensure you don’t fall behind. Here are some items to keep your eye on when tracking your competitors:
- Company websites
- Company blogs
- Press releases
- Company newsletters
- Annual Reports
- Social media accounts
- Online and print news articles
Connect with your customers
In today’s increasingly digital world, there are so many outlets available to connect with the demographic you’re trying to reach, so why not use them to your advantage? Make your business changes based on feedback that has come directly from your target demographic. Customer satisfaction surveys are one of the most successful ways to do this. Another way is by connecting with people on social media. In fact, 33% of consumers would prefer to connect with a company via social media than on the telephone. Pay attention to the feedback being given to you through these channels and leverage it to improve the quality of your products and services. More often than not, you’ll find that your customers will tell you exactly what they want, saving you valuable time trying to figure it out on your own.
It’s surprising how many small businesses don’t realize the importance of tracking their numbers. Ensuring that you always have an accurate understanding of your company’s daily, weekly, monthly and yearly profits will allow you to identify trends and areas for improvement. If financial tracking isn’t your strong suit, hiring an accountant is an easy way to ensure you’re up to date on all important details.
As your business grows, don’t forget that you might be exposed to new risks that require the right coverage when it comes to insurance.
This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.