Growing a business is a reality that many small business owners and entrepreneurs face after they have passed the start up phase. Some businesses may grow too quickly and fail due to inadequate planning. However, there are some steps that one can take to ensure that the business meets its goals and objectives and achieves success. Growing a business entails focusing on branding, scaling strategies, innovation, reevaluation and succession planning.
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Creating a positive brand is one way to build long-term value and create a leading reputation for your business. Branding is one of the strategies to adopt when growing a business. But, branding is much more than your logo. It is a smart way for you to define your business as the best of the best in its particular niche. It simply tells customers that you can do something and shows them what to expect from you.
When you think of a popular brand, what are some of the things that come to mind? Are they positive? When you are looking for a particular product in that specific niche, is that brand the first thing that comes to mind? These are the positive qualities of a good brand. If your branding strategy is effective, your customers will connect their needs to your ability to fulfill those needs.
To create a powerful brand, business owners should focus on creating a strong and achievable brand strategy. Your brand strategy defines the “how, what, where, when and who”. How will you attract your customers? What will you do to attract customers? Where specifically will you target these efforts? Who are your customers?
When creating your brand strategy you should be thinking of a long term plan which will allow you to achieve your goals. Make sure that you understand why you are focusing on this particular strategy, be consistent in all of your efforts (including social media and employee impact), and always be cognizant of your competition.
Take a look at some of Odd Cents‘ favourite articles on branding for small businesses:
- The Basics of Branding
- What is Branding? And Should Small Businesses Care?
- Why Branding Is Absolutely Critical for Small Business Success
- 10 Tips to Help You Build and Grow a Stand-Out Small Business Brand
Many business owners aspire to growing a business successfully and it makes sense. Simply put – if your sales do not grow, your business will not grow. Scaling strategies are the approaches that one can take to increase sales and business profits and essentially grow your business. Strategies may differ from industry to industry and even from company to company in the same industry and will be determined by the company’s defined objectives.
To create a scaling strategy, you should identify the core objectives of the business. If your business is profit focused, then your strategy should be to increase sales in products and services. This can be done by selling more to existing customers, attracting new customers, entering new markets, adding new products and services, partnering with other businesses, hiring the right people to work with you or incorporating new technology into the operations.
An important lesson when creating your business plan, is to include your scaling strategy. This becomes part of your strategic operating procedure and is much easier to incorporate into the culture of the business. Thinking long term will enable you to make better plans and identify risks. Having a scaling plan also allows you to be more flexible, so that you can respond to changes in the marketplace.
Scaling is one of the most important strategies for growing a business. Don’t know how to scale a business? Take a look at the links below:
- Scale – Here’s Why You Need To Scale or Go Out of Business
- 4 Ways a Small Business Can Scale to Profitability
- How to Scale a Business: 4 Growth Tips from Actual Experience
- 5 Steps To Scale Your Business (You Won’t Make It Otherwise)
Growing a business can be achieved through innovation. Although many practitioners link innovation with startups and new ventures, there is room for innovation in growing businesses. And, because there are so many emerging customer demands, new markets and rapidly advising technologies businesses do not have a choice but to embrace innovation.
There are several approaches that businesses can take to incorporate innovation. To embark on an innovation strategy, market research should be conducted first. Businesses can use a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods to gather the desired information. The aim of market research activities will be to identify current and future trends, assess the competition and identify any deficiencies in the market.
Innovation will allow a small business to better understand its customers, improve its levels of efficiency and quality, increase profitability and achieve a competitive advantage. There are several ways innovation can be integrated into the business. Some examples are through the design of new products and services, modification of existing products and services and supplemental offerings that compliment products and services.
Embracing innovation can lead to big savings and make your business more efficient and effective. Check out these links, to see how innovative practices can benefit your business:
- Innovation in Small Business
- Innovation: Small Businesses Live It, Big Businesses Buy It
- 5 Ways Small Companies Can Out-Innovate Big Corporations
- Innovation Lessons From Small Business
- Expert Tips For Small Business To Introduce And Drive Innovation In The Workplace
Often, business owners create business plans as a one off exercise in the start up phase. This can prove detrimental to a company that is on a business growth process. There should be a consistent reevaluation of all plans which will allow you to keep you business up to date with trends and continue to grow. The plans that you created when you first launched your small business, can be useful in determining whether or not you are on target to meet your objectives or if you have to change your focus.
The process of reevaluating a business is not necessarily difficult, but it could take some time. If you are the point of reevaluating, then it probably means that you realised something was not working and you are searching for a solution to fix it. This is your first step – making a decision to do something and deciding to do whatever it takes.
When reevaluating, you should pay close attention to whether or not the focus of the business has changed; assess the strategies that you have been using to generate business; analyse the market that you are operating in to see what the changes are; audit your finances to see if your cash flows and projections are on track and judge whether or not you have met your goals by the stated deadlines.
These reevaluation process will entail you reviewing and revising your initial business plans. If this is not the case, you have to make it a point to assess each and every plan to ensure that your small business is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Business Reevaluation Resources
Should you reevaluate your business? How can you decide if your plans need updating? If these questions are on your mind, get some free advice from the links below:
- Time to Reevaluate Your Small Business for a Profitable 2016
- Three Steps For Reevaluating Your Company’s Strategy
- How to Evaluate the Success of the Business Strategic Process
- 4 Steps to Reevaluate Your Business Strategy
Succession planning is not usually connected with growing a business, but it is better known as the process of having competent replacements for key staff in the event of an emergency. This is only part of the succession planning process. Succession planning also ensures that there is a plan in place that will allow for the continuation of the business.
There are several strategies that can be used to create a succession plan for a business. The more popular options are transferring the interests of the business to family members or other trusted people or selling the business, its assets or its interests. This not mean that you are giving up your business, instead, you are creating a long term plan for continuation.
To create a successful succession strategy, you should develop a plan as soon as possible. The earlier you begin planning, the better prepared your business will be. Not only will you be protecting your business, but you will also be taking care of the needs of your shareholders and stakeholders.
Succession Planning Resources
Take a look at some helpful links on the importance of succession planning when growing a business.