In my previous article, I shared the five stages of small business growth. One of the biggest decisions business owners face is whether to try to expand their businesses. Some business owners don’t want to grow. They want to maintain their clients and eventually pass them on to someone else as they head toward retirement. Others want to grow but haven’t learned what they need to know to progress. Both choices are ok; you just need to determine which direction you want to go in.
If you’re confident that you don’t want to grow, then start working on succession planning. Respect the clients that have given you their business for years by making sure you have the right people in place. Then create a plan to transfer the business and start working the plan.
On the other hand, if you want to expand your business, but feel stuck, it may be due to one of the following.
You Don’t Have a Solid Business Plan in Place
No business can succeed without a solid business plan in place, one that involves continually monitoring all the aspects of your business, ensuring that you’re prepared to deal with problems as they arise. An effective business plan will help you to concentrate on your vision and goals and establish firm plans in order to accomplish them.
Poor Cash Flow
As a startup, money is usually tight and it can take a year or two in some cases to generate a stable income. Even if you’ve been in business for years, you may need to consider whether or not your cash flow is working for you. It’s important to come up with and adhere to a realistic budget, and avoid draining the business income on unnecessary spending. Smart businesses also keep tight financial records and review their revenue and expense reports every month.
Ineffective Sales and Marketing Strategies
If you are ineffective with your sales and marketing efforts, you’ll throw money at the wind. You need to know your target audience, how to best market to them and how to close the deal. If you don’t have these very necessary skills, you’ll need to hire someone who does. This expert can focus all their time and energy on getting to know your competition, attracting potential clients and closing the deals.
If you feel you can’t afford to hire professionals, then start to learn sales and marketing skills yourself. It will take a lot of time and effort, but you’ll see better results.
Substandard Customer Service
Once you’ve attracted the attention of potential clients and converted them into customers, you need to do whatever it takes to retain them. Continue to monitor their wants and needs, make it easy for them to communicate with you, and make an effort to be pleasant and responsive.
Are You Suffering from Burn Out?
Owning a business demands a massive investment of money, time and energy. Let’s face it, it can be emotionally draining. All of the above leads to burnout. It’s important to take time, even if it’s mini-breaks throughout the day, to unwind. Whether it’s a brisk walk outside, reading a good book, dinner with the family or taking a short weekend “stay-cation,” the breaks will help you recharge and refocus.
If you’re unsure about what it takes to grow, start working with a coach or a mentor. He or she can help you identify resources and steps to take to get you to the next level. Schedule a free consultation today.