So, you’ve successfully launched your product to market, you are enjoying those early sales and you are evolving from start up to a successful small business with plenty of room to grow. What are your next set of priorities as you establish yourself? These 6 tips from other entrepreneurs will help to position you for success!
1. Spend time on your marketing strategy
Start up businesses need an excellent market in order to be heard amongst the competition. Invest time and energy to create a robust marketing strategy which features digital routes to market and accompanying as many offline marketing channels as your budget will allow. Remember, modern digital marketing methods mean that you don’t always need to have a huge budget – but your marketing strategy does have to be smart and targeted. Small businesses must really know their customer, their market, their competitors and their operating market in order to stand out from the competition.
2. Invest in customer service call-handling
Small businesses often don’t have a large central customer services function, so the right telephone answering service and message taking processes are essential. Make sure you have a clear customer response protocol that all staff follow. Remember, every call could be from a potential client, and it’s vital that your staff keep this mindset when dealing with contacts. Message Direct is equipped to handle the calls for a range of businesses, and we have worked with large companies, start ups and entrepreneurs.
3. Invest in your people
Great employees are a tremendous asset to your business. As an SME you may not be able to offer the biggest salary or largest bonus, but you can offer plenty of development opportunities, recognition, a great atmosphere and other perks. Take time to appreciate and show that you value your team. Even a round of Friday morning croissants or a team do after work can create a bond that translates into strong cooperation, morale and performance.
4. Get support
There are some very useful sources of advice and support for SMES and your local Chamber of Commerce or the Small Business Federation are both good starting points. Many of these services are publicly funded or created through Local Economic Partnerships and you will find everything from subsidised business training through to business mentoring.
5. Secure finance
A healthy credit line is essential as an SME when you are growing your business. A late invoice or a gap in cash flow can otherwise suddenly push your business into the red! Build up a good relationship with your bank and look at access to finance from business-friendly providers who specialise in SME finance. Investors and business angels are also an interesting proposition and well worth evaluating.
6. Remember to keep looking ahead
It can be all too easy to get over-involved in the daily running of a business and forget to keep looking ahead, thinking strategically and generally lifting your viewpoint away from daily administration and towards your end goal. Regularly review your business plan and ensure you are travelling in the right direction. Remove your leadership or management team from the operation periodically to review progress and your direction of travel and remember to congratulate yourselves and the team on positive progress. It really is a great time to be an entrepreneur and the rewards of a successful business are enticing indeed!