Economic and market instability over the last few years have left many small business owners stumped. What are the best strategies to not only survive this volatility but to thrive? Growing in a changing world requires an abundance of creativity, a willingness to try new ideas, and a sustained focus on the areas of business that will always matter. Incorporating growth strategies into your business as soon as possible will set your organization up for success in the long run.
While the market may be unpredictable, your ability to take charge of your business’ trajectory is not. Try out these strategies to get started this year.
1. Take your customers or clients seriously.
As an expert in your field or in your business, it might sometimes feel like your customers or clients don’t know what they want or how they want to receive it. This paradigm is shifting. Your potential customers are becoming savvier consumers every day. They have high expectations and if your business can’t meet them, they’ll head to the next business that can. That means you need to take their feedback seriously. Creating a genuine connection with your customer base means allowing them to participate in your company’s story.
Always strive to do better for your customers. Show your community that their opinions matter. Understand what they like and don’t like about your products, services, or customer experience. Try out the changes that they want to see. You’ll know from the response whether to keep going down that path or jump to another strategy.
2. Continually refine your digital marketing strategy.
Use your metrics! They’re not just something to look at every once in a while to calculate your ROI. They should be influencing your strategy month-to-month. As your audience grows and changes, so should your strategy. Understand where you’re performing best and why. Then double down on that effort. Try to pinpoint why other strategies aren’t working as well. Make changes or drop them altogether. With the speed of change in the online world, you don’t have time to waste on strategies that aren’t delivering.
Beyond your own metrics, best practices in digital marketing also change rapidly. Keep abreast of how changes impact what you’re trying to accomplish. You don’t want to be depending on the same old strategy only to see your sales slowly drop off. Keep an eye on your competitors and other major players in your industry. What are they doing that works? What are they doing that doesn’t? Compare that to your own strategy, and make changes that make sense. Then do it all again next month. Pro tip: Find an expert digital marketer familiar with your industry and have them handle this for you.
3. Prioritize team development.
The efficacy of your team is often the key that allows your business to grow. If your team isn’t communicating well or is unsatisfied with their work, you’re less likely to make growth strategies work. Your team won’t have the drive or collaborative skills to make the most of opportunities in a timely way. That’s why it’s important to invest time and resources into developing a team that works together well and is invested in your company’s mission.
Make sure your team members know they are valued and highlight the impact they have on your business’ success. Encourage autonomy, allowing your team members to take charge of their roles. This will demonstrate your trust in their capabilities. This gives them the confidence to do their best work. Finally, encourage clear, direct and frequent communication. With everyone on the same page, you’ll be able to implement strategies with ease.
4. Streamline your workflows with a virtual assistant.
Make your business as efficient as possible by delegating to a virtual assistant. Consider all the time-wasting activities on your to-do list as a business owner—replying to emails, creating invoices and proposals, and managing your calendar. Now think about what your week would be like if you didn’t have to do any of it yourself. These tedious activities take you away from the core of your business where your time is the most valuable. With the help of a virtual assistant, business owners are better able to focus on the big picture.
In addition to freeing up your schedule as a business owner, your virtual assistant can help you revamp your workflows so everything in your small business runs more efficiently. Most virtual assistants have experience helping small business owners run companies in a variety of industries. They will be able to review your current processes and suggest ways to improve. For example, they might set you up with a project management platform that turns out to be a game-changer for you and your team. Their main job is to make your life as a business owner easier while helping your business run with less personal effort.
5. Innovate to differentiate.
Your business won’t be able to achieve sustained growth with static strategies. That means you need to take the leap and try something new. From new sales strategies to revisioning your products and services, you need to continually optimize and differentiate your business in order to stay competitive in your market. That comes down to proposing creative ideas and analyzing whether they are likely to succeed. Brainstorming and research are equally important in this process. Encourage innovation within your team, but ask them to back up their suggestions with reliable metrics and facts.
Rather than passively watching your business evolve as you’re focused on day-to-day work, take an intentional approach in that journey. Point your business in the direction that you see the most opportunity moving forward. Consider the trajectory of your industry. Where might it be in 10 years? How does your brand fit into that story? Get ahead of the curve by introducing smart, industry-pushing ideas now.
For many small business owners, meaningful growth might seem like a distant goal. It’s something you’ll eventually get to when things start to settle down. Unfortunately, waiting for calm or the perfect time will only set back your timeline and allow your business to miss out on opportunities. By running your business with a growth mindset and implementing strategies like the ones listed here, your business will be in the perfect position to end 2022 better than ever.
With the support of a virtual assistant and your team, you’ll have the time and freedom to focus on your vision for your company and define a path to get there. Growth can be a long journey for small businesses, but keeping your business positioned for growth will help you get there. Best of luck making it happen this year!