Most small business owners aim to scale operations and increase revenue and profitability. But getting from Point A to Point B…and then to Point C…and then Point to D…and then, well - you get the picture. (There are a lot of letters in the alphabet, and there are a lot of opportunities for a savvy small biz owner to grow.) However, making those jumps can be intimidating and overwhelming. That's why you need a strategic approach and a thorough understanding of the challenges that will be nipping at your heels along the way.
Here are five key strategies you can use to scale your operations.
Develop a growth strategy: You need an action plan outlining how your business intends to grow. Consider all areas that have room for improvement, like marketing, operations, finances, and sales. Then take those areas and create objectives, timelines, and metrics to measure success. Don't treat this like a wishlist or vision board. There's a time and place for...
Owning a business can be a fulfilling and exciting experience, but it's not all smooth sailing. Sometimes it's more akin to a trip aboard the Titanic. Or it is being stuck on one of those cruise ships where everybody gets food poisoning. It can be beautiful sunsets and neverending Pina Coladas on the upper deck. It can also be dysentery and an unfortunate starboard encounter with an iceberg. And more often than not, it's a little bit of both.
Still, no risk, no reward, right?
There are plenty of highs and lows when it comes to owning your own business. And even knowing what we know (and what we've seen), we'd throw ourselves onto that ship every single time. But it's a decision everyone has to make for themselves. If you're just starting out or thinking about buying or starting a business of your own, keep in mind some of the high points and the low points you will encounter on the way.
High - Independence and freedom: One of the biggest perks of owning a business...
As business owners, you are responsible for communicating with your employees. That’s just part of the job. And whether you have one person on the payroll or one hundred, you need to know how to effectively communicate your vision and expectations if you want to lead for long-term success.
There have been entire books dedicated to the subject, but we’re going to listen to our own advice and get straight to the point - or, nine points in this case.
Want to know how you can get into bed with your customers every night?
Or be by their side nearly every minute of the day?
It’s not as scandalous (or stalkerish) as it sounds.
We’re talking about two simple words: Mobile Marketing.
Mobile marketing is a powerful and effective way to reach customers where they are at any time and any place. Think about how often you’re on your own phone. You’re checking emails. You’re reading the news. You’re scrolling through Twitter or responding to texts or checking your bank balances, or playing Wordle. Point is, you’re on it a lot - and probably more than you realize. According to Zippia, the average American checks their phone approximately 96 times PER DAY. (That’s once every ten minutes.)
So yeah. Why wouldn’t you want to tap (into) that? Here are five of our favorite strategies to consider incorporating into your own business.
1. Develop a mobile-friendly...
Networking: What is it good for?
If you're an extroverted chatter-box and certified ENFP on the Myers-Briggs, you probably love the idea of networking. Meeting new people and forming connections is right up your alley, and the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and making friends is your definition of a good time.
For those who don't share that same level of enthusiasm, the idea of networking is walking into a room full of strangers - but completely naked. It's uncomfortable at best, and if they had to choose between meeting new people and watching an entire season of The Bachelor, they'd give their rose to the latter.
But whether you love it or loathe it, networking is a fundamental part of being a successful business owner.
Entrepreneurship is often a solo endeavor. The predisposition to be self-reliant and self-sufficient reigns supreme. They keep their heads down, stay focused on the task at hand, and have lofty goals they intend to achieve.
Will that be cash or charge?
When was the last time you heard that phrase? Or - and here’s a bigger throwback for you - when someone asked if you wanted to pay by check? It seems wild that just twenty years ago, we could walk into the mall (remember those?) and leave with a new pair of shoes simply by putting our John Hancock on a slip of paper (with the logo of our favorite football team in the background) that may or may not clear once it hit the bank.
How we pay for things continues to evolve, and as a small business owner, you must understand how these changes affect your bottom line. (Spoiler alert: It ALL affects your bottom line.) We now have cash, credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, checks, mobile wallets, and various peer-to-peer payment and online platforms to choose from.
So which ones should you accept? And which of them should you kick to the curb?
The jerk-knee response is, “take them all,” right? You want to make it as...
This seems like a wise bit of advice, no?
Most of us, at one point in our careers, have made the mistake of making guarantees we had no business making. Whether from overinflated confidence, a complete lack of awareness, or just wishful thinking, you promised the moon - and then suffered the fallout when you fell short of those promises.
Likewise, we’ve all been on the other side of the coin (or the dark side of the moon, if you will). You’ve placed your trust, confidence, and money in a person or business that promised one thing but delivered something very different. Were you a repeat customer after that? Probably not. You got burnt - and it sucks.
It’s not rocket science.
Anyone in the business of consistently overselling and under-delivering will likely not be in business very long. At least, not without the help of a very, very good marketing team.
But does this mean that doing the opposite of underpromising and...
If you’re someone who hated homework in high school - we’ve got some bad news for you.
The expression “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” might be valid for a lot of things, but when it comes to buying a business, what you don’t know is precisely what could bite you in the ass.
Performing due diligence is one of the most critical steps when purchasing a business. I don’t care if the dude you’re buying from is your brother’s best friend’s sister’s step-uncle, who you’ve known since you were in diapers. You should always, ALWAYS, do your homework before making anything official. A misrepresentation of facts or figures - intentional or otherwise - is always a possibility. Protect yourself from agreeing to a crap deal. Remember, it's not personal - it’s business.
When is it done?
Due diligence is typically one of the final phases of your business acquisition journey. You’ve already...
Your business is in a constant state of evolution. Workflows can be improved; sales increased; processes honed; client experiences enhanced. Vertically. Horizontally. Improvement is a continuous pursuit.
The history of the Oxford English Dictionary is an ideal example of this mindset. Googling a word’s meaning or – gulp – leafing through an actual paperbound dictionary is somewhat of a luxury. When the Philological Society of London members decided, in 1857, that existing English language dictionaries were incomplete and deficient, they called for a complete re-examination of the language. While they knew they were embarking on an ambitious project, they didn’t realize the full extent of the work they initiated or how long it would take to achieve the final result.
The project proceeded slowly after the Society’s first grand statement of purpose. Eventually, in 1879, the Society agreed with the Oxford University Press and James A....
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
Unexpected costs when running a business are going to pop up at the worst possible time (think giant zit right before the big high school dance kind of timing). It doesn't matter how carefully and thoroughly you planned your budget – Murphy's Law guarantees the one expense you didn't account for is the one you're going to incur.
With that in mind, today, we're going to cover five unexpected costs you might encounter as a business owner. It's our way of giving you the upper hand…and giving ole Murphy the middle digit.
Nothing lasts forever, and at some point, everything from construction equipment, machinery, ovens, printers, and computers will need servicing or replaced altogether. Depending on the nature of your business, some of these will immediately negatively impact your bottom line. (If you have a print shop and your printers go up, you're in trouble.)