How to take your small business to the next level

Here, Andrew Heppinstall of Pebble Grey looks at what steps small businesses need to take to grow to the next level.

Establishing a company is just the start of an exciting journey in business development, for those with the passion and work ethic to go onwards and upwards. But there is a lot to think about to successfully build and develop a small business.

From having a vision through to focusing on customer service, Pebble Grey digital marketing manager, Andrew Heppinstall, explains what to consider to take a small business up to the next level.

Set goals, have vision, and assess growth

When striving to take your company to the next level, it’s important to first set yourself key business goals. You should also think about the hurdles that might hinder your progress along the way. Setting out reachable key points in your business development allows you to measure your progress and track your past achievements.

It also helps you to clarify your focus and encourages you to push and challenge yourself. You should also have a vision of where you want your business to be, for instance, two, or five, years down the line. To help you do this, consider your business’s unique selling point. What makes you, your products, or your services stand out from your competitors?

It’s wise to also assess where you intend to obtain your business growth. Do you plan to attract new customers of a particular demographic, or is your strategy to expand into another market sector? You should also consider what financial support you might need to cater for your company’s growth.

It’s important to know that accessing a business development bank loan, or finding support from an investor, for instance, are viable options before beginning your expansion plan. Amending your business plan to reflect your goals, vision, and growth assessments can help you plan ahead and deal with the unexpected.

Employ expertise, delegate and learn

A big part of taking your business to the next level is finding skilled people with the right experience and expertise to get you there. This could involve hiring a senior person with the skills to take your business forward, or a director to lead an area of your company, like sales or customer service. This also means you can’t hold on to every aspect of your business like you, perhaps, once did.

To grow, you have to be prepared to delegate. It’s a good idea to identify the day-to-day jobs that you don’t need to do yourself, so you can focus on other key areas of your business’s development.

You should also be willing to learn more and build up your own business knowledge. This could involve following good practices through to keeping on top of developments in your company sector. It’s worth widening your reading and completing online training modules. Also consider attending conferences and networking events that are key to your industry and company development plans.

Introduce new offerings, ways to sell, and better technology

Another significant way to build up your business is to expand your offerings. This could be your product range or the services you provide. In doing this, you think about those offerings that aren’t just well-suited to your business, but items that add value and improve customer satisfaction. For instance, extending your product range from high-quality bathroom mirrors to a selection of luxury bathroom furniture.

It’s wise to also think about new ways to sell your products or services to reach out to more customers. An independent cafe could start doing food deliveries to local businesses, for instance, or a high-street retailer could consider selling its products online. You should also think about the quality of the technology – equipment, machinery, or computer software – you’re using in your business.

Is there better technology available that can streamline your processes or run your key operations more efficiently for your staff? While technology can be expensive, it might help you expand your business, while saving on your long-term costs.

Consider your premises – expanding and relocating

A good company goes hand in hand with sufficient premises and a good location. To take your business to the next level, it’s therefore important to think about acquiring premises or expanding your company to provide you with the space or a location to meet your vision and key goals.

For instance, if you plan to expand your product range or create a new service, you might need more space for staff, stock or machinery. If you’re aiming to expand your customer base, you could need a better distribution network with good transport links. Or, if you’re a retailer or a public-facing company, you might want to think about being in a more prime position, with a greater footfall, where your company can be easily seen.

Customer service, marketing, and striving to be the best

Good customer service is vital when building up a business. Taking your company to new heights isn’t just about acquiring new high-value clients. It’s about retaining them too. And providing exceptional customer service can help encourage repeat business. Happy customers and clients can also help market your company and bring your more business, as word of mouth spreads about your services.

Good marketing, in itself, is key to achieving business growth. This could comprise of digital marketing, like using SEO techniques to better promote your products online. Or you could develop a content marketing strategy, which involves regularly publishing blogs and guides on your company website, that help and advise your target audience.

In addition to all this, you should strive for your company to be the best in everything it does, make it memorable, and impress on every level. This should cover all areas of your business, from quality production or sales pitches through to writing emails and answering the phone. In order to progress to the next level, you should also look for ways to keep improving.

Consider asking for feedback and address issues and complaints quickly. Be accessible to clients, be responsible, and be accountable. With this attitude and approach to your business in mind, you’re bound to see your company climb the ladder in both growth and success.

Further reading on business development

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