Business, be it manufacturing or providing a service, is incredibly competitive as there are numerous organizations and competitors all vying for the same customer base to propel them to the top. Getting a business off the ground is very hard and can take years to achieve sustainable growth. And the subsequent step in taking a business to the next level, to the point where it can compete on a national and even global level, is harder still.
Suddenly, without much prior warning, businesses can stagnant and find themselves neither growing nor shrinking. And when this happens it can be hard to figure out what needs to be done to push forward and get out of this period of stasis. Here are some steps a business owner should take to help take their business get to the next level and transform into a more successful company.
Find Different Ways to Reach Customers
The ways businesses advertise have changed drastically over the years. In the past, newspapers and local reputation were what helped propel businesses forward. Then television and radio advertisements, then online and through social media in the modern age. All of these are viable advertisement channels, but if you’re a business that isn’t heavily investing its resources in digital advertising and marketing, then you could be missing out on a big pool of potential customers. Even if you are online, make sure you have all the key social media covered – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn – and ensure that you also have a website with an interesting blog and optimized SEO, and maybe even an email newsletter.
Even if traditional advertising methods are serving you well in your local community, it’s foolish to not make the jump to the digital realm as it’s one of the cheapest ways to get yourself in front of a vibrant international audience. There’s a lot to consider when marketing a business digitally, so to make sure that you do it correctly and effectively, consider partnering with a digital marketing agency that can run your social media accounts, provide SEO optimization and in general boost your brand online.
Of course, no business has the funds to market themselves through every channel possible. That’s why it’s a useful idea to conduct audits on your marketing spending to see if you’re getting out as much as you’re putting in and if not, perhaps shift focus to another type of marketing that might be more effective.
Consider People Eager for a Second Chance
Some members of staff can get complacent in their role and this can mean that they’re not putting in the required effort to make the business a success. Finding staff who are eager to work and eager to impress might help boost your business’s productivity.
One interesting avenue not many business owners have considered is to hire ex-incarcerated individuals. The reason for this is that a lot of these individuals are desperate to move on and build a second chance for themselves. A lot of these people would have gotten relevant qualifications while serving their time and would be willing to work entry-level positions and move up the ladder that way. Furthermore, individuals on parole may also have increased motivation to show up and deliver as they’ll want a good report to improve their chances of getting out.
There are also extra incentives for businesses to hire people in these situations, such as additional tax credits and assistance programs to further develop these new workers. Of course, there is risk involved, as there is the potential for these works to relapse into undesirable behavior, but as long as you are diligent in your hiring process avoid violent criminals, you should be safe.
Change Your Time Management Approach
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is that they try to do everything at once and spend 100% of their time trying to complete tasks one by one via the ‘Whack-a-Mole’ method. This method isn’t particularly strategic and doesn’t get the best out for business owners or their staff.
Instead, a better time management option is to adopt the 60/20/20 approach. The method is designed to make you work in a more focused and efficient manner and prioritizes planning over action. It dictates that staff spend 60% of their time focusing on tasks that truly add value to a business, or specialized tasks that can’t be done by other people. Meanwhile, 20% of your time is spent on planning and organizing while the final 20% is focused on strategizing.
Planning is important as it is used to dedicate time and resources that help the business operate at a more efficient level. Making solid plans can help keep projects ticking along and perhaps completed a better quality at a faster rate. Strategizing is when business owners spend time trying to work out how they can evaluate the business’ performance and work out ways to improve things such as the profit model and customer experience. The time spent doing this could lead businesses to consider new operations and change its management approach. For more details on operations management, click here.
Dive into the Data
For an established business to rise to the next level, the business owner really needs to get into the nitty-gritty of the numbers of their organization as it can make it a lot easier to track performance and find metrics that can give unseen insights that can better inform key decisions moving forward.
A business of any size should definitely invest in accounting software, as this can automate a lot of the finance tasks, saving precious time, while also providing tools to better present and analyze that data. Once you’re able to draw out key statistics, the next step is to learn what they mean in terms of your inventory turnover and cash flow.
The world of business is online these days. To function online businesses need to use efficient tools, such as cloud computing, and manage a lot of personal data of both staff and customers. Therefore, it’s important that businesses invest in adequate cybersecurity to make sure they’re prepared against threats but also to be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities provided by strong information security. Threats such as malicious malware and phishing can cause security breaches, and give bad actors access to sensitive data, which can damage the reputation of a company, and at worst, be catastrophic.
Good security features include having robust and up-to-date antivirus software and firewalls installed on your business computer network. These prevent unauthorized access to your network and also detect and combat malicious code. Furthermore, encryption is a good way to make files unreadable without a decipher key, making data useless if it were intercepted. One final piece is using a VPN, which puts your network on a separate server and is a great way to protect devices if they’re using unsecured wi-fi in public places. Adhering to these security measures now, before your business grows further, will make the transition a lot easier. If you don’t have a dedicated IT staffer, consider hiring one.
Use Social Media the Right Way
Businesses that deploy social media to constantly sell products may as well give up and stop, as it is a very ineffective marketing tactic. The reason is that users don’t want to be bombarded by pleas to buy things. Instead, social media users, on all platforms, follow pages because they find their content either entertaining or informative, or both. When using social media, you need to create content that has value in some way and that enhances customers’ lives just a little bit when they engage with it. Take Innocent Smoothies as a prime example, as they are famed for excellent social media. When scrolling through their content, you’ll find that they very rarely advertise a product and are instead sharing posts that entertain and create a personality for the brand.
Some good ideas for what to post include: guides and industry tips and insights and even interesting behind-the-scenes videos. Your social media isn’t solely to press products onto people but instead to build brand awareness and make people aware of you. Also, think about the format of the content.
Attract the Next Generation
Over the next few years, a different generation will enter the workforce, a generation that has grown up surrounded by social media and technology and therefore will have a completely different set of skills and personality traits. A lot of businesses aren’t adequately prepared for these younger workers. So, to get the edge you need to plan ahead and learn about the potential strengths and weaknesses of these individuals and rework your interview questions to best highlight the talent you’re looking for. It’s also vital to learn how to communicate with these workers so that they’re fully aware of the importance of their responsibilities, tasks, and value within the organization. In essence, you need to set your business up so these individuals can succeed and become real assets.