Every high-achieving woman who is a small business owner, goes through rough patches where Growth. Success. Acceleration. sometimes must take a back seat to ‘just getting by’ in order to pay the rent and keep food on the table.
Maybe you lost a major account/client, or the client you really needed just did not happen, maybe family concerns have interfered with your laser focused growth plan for your business, or maybe the economy is going through uncertain times.
But Growth. Success. Acceleration. may be possible even in those tough or uncertain times. I have found that it is often those down times that can be the perfect time to make a positive shifts that will benefit your business growth strategies.
Below are my best business growth strategies that I know will help you position your business for more Growth. Success. Acceleration.
- Refine your small business’ plan.
This is a good time to adjust your business strategies to better align with the current financial climate. Take a fresh look at your business’ value proposition. Research your competitors and talk to your short- and long-term clients/customers.
Conduct a SWOT analysis. (e.g. strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Once the SWOT analysis is completed, you may need to update your business plan and chart a new course for achieving your business goals.
- Prioritize your expenses.
Review your expenses and make cuts where you can. Keep those resources that foster business growth, such as those focused on marketing and business development – these should never be cut.
Eliminate expenses that aren’t business critical or don’t yield a positive ROI. Be sure to avoid making cuts that expose you to risk. Don’t be tempted to make cuts, for example your business insurance. This is a must keep, and you never know when the unexpected may occur.
- Improve your cash flow.
Take a look at your business cash flow. The basic principle here is to encourage invoice payments as soon as possible while delaying more outlay of cash as long as possible.
Make sure that you invoice immediately and then hold off on making bill payments until they’re actually due. Take advantage of payroll-based billing options when you can. Also, consider higher deductibles in exchange for lower premiums.
- Prospect for new clients.
Prospecting can be very challenging, but if you bring your expertise, products or services to where your potential customers are, it may be easier than you think.
Make it a point to join business associations, attend local and regional trade shows, and offer to speak at events (great source).
Start a blog or produce a newsletter. The key is to just get your name in front of your prospects on a continuous basis. By demonstrating your expertise, professionalism and having the right products/services that will set you apart in today’s marketplace.
- Strengthen relationships with existing customers.
Make sure you’re using a good customer relationship management system. Customer management, retention and good customer services should be a key part of your business strategy.
Keep your customers happy. Find ways to add value to your products and services, and stay in touch – by phone, mail, email, even a personal visit — to keep your brand top of mind.
Just like McDonald’s: “Would you like a hot apple pie with that?” Think about what aligns naturally with what you are currently offering, and simply have it available. No need for a hard sale when you come from it sincerely.
- Build your online presence.
You must have a dynamic website that has broad visibility so you can appeal to an ever-growing number of potential customers. Polish up your website — for visual appeal and with solid information about your products and services.
Make sure you have a social media presence. You do not need to utilize every social media outlet – just those where your potential customers/clients might be.
- Take stock of your internal operations.
There’s always room to streamline or automate your processes. Start by taking a step back and look for opportunities to improve — from work processes to new tools, software or resources. Talk to your employees, strategic business alliances, other high-achieving businesswomen or mentor for their perspective and ideas.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Business Growth Strategies That Work In Uncertain Times.
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Remember for career and businesswomen it’s always about – ‘Results. Uniqueness. Differentiation.’ I call this your RUD.
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