From Tiny Acorns: Growing Your Business
If you’re running a small business you might not see many similarities between your operation and colossal corporations like Google and Amazon. With billion-dollar balance sheets and a global reach these companies are truly big-time, but even these business behemoths had humble beginnings.
No matter how huge these firms are now, the people behind them had to start somewhere – and as our infographic shows, some of these big businesses had rather unconventional roots. Strange as these beginnings may seem, the decisions made by the founders of these companies during their important early years helped contribute to the success they now enjoy.
You may never have to make DIY desks, or outfit your office with exercise balls, but there’ll be plenty of challenges for you to overcome as you try to grow your operation. Today we’re going to have a look at some of the important early steps you can take to help your small business flourish.
Plan like a fan
If one thing shines through from the tales of early hardship suffered by blue chip businesses it’s the commitment these guys had to becoming successful. They had absolute faith in what they were doing, so even when the trading was rocky and the outlook bleak they stuck with their ideas.
When you start thinking about your own business future, and where you’d like to go, try to capture some of this enthusiasm. When you started your business you should have made a business plan outlining your goals and projecting how you would develop. Maybe it’s time to dust off this document and update it, making a new business plan for growth.
The government offers a great resource which can help you to create the details of your new plan. Approach your planning with passion for your business and you’ll be able to inject some momentum into your plans going forward.
If you want to grow, you’re going to have to make sure that your business foundations are solid. Many businesses stumble because they have made plans to expand before they were ready. Grow too big, too soon and you might end up like an elephant on a skateboard – dangerously unbalanced.
To build a stable platform for growth you’ll have to make sure your business is being run efficiently with an eye towards structured development. Controlling your cash flow is vital to this process so make sure you hold a tight reign over the way your company operates.
Income: Maximising your earnings is a massive step towards consolidating your business base – after all, without healthy profits you’re more than likely going to end up in financial trouble. And even when your profits are strong they probably won’t cover a sustained expansion so you may have to take a loan or find an investor to raise further capital. However you plan on funding your future, act responsibly and make sure you don’t overextend.
Outgoings: The other part of the profitability equation lies in maximising your business efficiency by controlling your outgoings. Even if everything else in your enterprise is sound, poor money management can leave you like a cracked vase – great to look at but you won’t hold any water. Check you are on utility deals that give you the best value for money, like Fix 1 2 3 tarrif from npower.
If you take a look at the biggest business success stories of recent years you’ll see that many of the most phenomenally successful companies are the ones at the forefront of new technology. From search engine Google to the online retailer Amazon, these businesses have picked up on a change in the business landscape and have taken the lead in exploiting it.
Your business might not be in a position to take the lead in the development of new technologies but there’ll be some way that you can take advantage of them. Here are a few suggestions:
- Maximise your online presence: It’s standard for businesses to have a website but to make the most out of your online experience you might want to have another look at your homepage. Make your website distinctive and full of rich engaging content and you will find that people are more interested in the things your company offers.
- Use social media to get people talking about your business: When your website is up to speed, make sure you spread the word through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Encourage your customers to do the same – social media is the new word-of-mouth so get people out there and talking about you.
Take advantage of mobile technology: The evolution of smartphones has revolutionised the way that many people use the internet. In a look at what technology will hold in 2013, nearly all the experts who spoke to the BBC pinpointed mobile technology as a big part of the coming year. Is there a way that your business can take advantage of this technology? If so, it could be a profitable avenue of growth.
Featured images: License: Image author owned