Starting a business can be a slow process. You shouldn’t expect to turn a large profit right off the bat. It might be difficult even getting customers in the door when your business is new and unfamiliar. Most likely, you won’t have instant success when you open your business; however, startup tools can accelerate your growth.
Find out which tools you should invest your time and money in and why.
Startup tools to accelerate growth
As an entrepreneur, you have many different responsibilities. In addition to normal day-to-day operations, you need to market your company, build your business’s brand, keep accounting records, manage employees and run payroll.
To speed up growth in your business, try incorporating the following tools.
When you start a small business, you need to stay organized and legally compliant. But, you don’t want these tasks to take up too much of your time. Software alleviates manual tasks so you can focus on running and growing your business.
With accounting software, you can manage your accounting books, collect payments and send invoices, among other tasks. And, most software systems generate reports so you can observe how quickly your business is growing or declining and make appropriate changes to your growth strategies.
If you have employees, payroll software makes the process easier. With payroll software, you can run payroll, pay employees via direct deposit and more. Plus, full-service payroll systems deposit and file taxes on your behalf.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software makes it easier to connect with customers, create email marketing campaigns, track sales activities and manage leads.
Taking the time to stay organized can limit you from growing your business. And, becoming disorganized has the same effect. Automate your responsibilities, stay organized without taking up your time, and accelerate the growth of your business with software.
You need a social media presence in order to get noticed by your target audience. Because social media is generally free to use, you can engage with potential customers, post updates about your business and build brand awareness without doling out large sums of cash.
According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans have some sort of social media profile. The majority of adults use Facebook (68 percent), followed by Instagram (35 percent), Pinterest (29 percent), Snapchat (27 percent) LinkedIn (25 percent) and Twitter (24 percent). And, there are niche social media sites you can join based on your business’s industry.
Many startups use social media to promote their products or services, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to just this task. You can accelerate your growth by actively participating in groups on social media. Your presence can introduce people to your brand.
Keep in mind that customers who post about a good experience at your company have the power to draw more customers. And, if a customer posts about a problem, be sure to address it. When people see that you value them, you might see a boost in new or repeat customers.
Don’t forget to keep up with your social media profiles. Post content regularly and make sure your profile information is current. You can use tools like Buffer to create and manage your posting schedule for each social media platform.
Another tool you should take advantage of is a website, where you can provide information about your business, draw in customers, boost sales and more.
How does a website help accelerate your growth?
One survey found that 82 percent of shoppers like to research a business online before visiting or purchasing.
Your website design should include your business name, store hours, products or services and other information about your company. You should also include a blog on your website. Once you get started, you need to focus on getting your website noticed.
Use your business blog to help your target audience can find you, even if they don’t immediately want your to purchase your products or utilize your services. By becoming a reputable source of information, you can build brand recognition, get found by search engines and strengthen relationships with potential customers.
Some software solutions, like CRM software, have email marketing features. Or, you can use email marketing tools on their own. Like a social media and website presence, email marketing builds brand awareness and gets you in front of your customers. Although beneficial, it can also be a tricky tool to master.
With email marketing, you can end up overpowering your customers with too many emails.
To effectively email market, you need to start a contact list. You can gain contact information from customers at the point of sale. Or, you can offer them something in exchange for their email address, like a valuable guide on your website.
A non-digital tool that can help you accelerate growth is a business plan. Large corporations are typically required to create business plans. As an entrepreneur, a business plan is not a legal necessity, but there are several benefits to having one.
Business plans are valuable tools to help you obtain outside funding. If you need an investor or lender to fund your business, they need to see your business plan. A business plan accelerates your ability to get funding and ensures your company can grow and develop.
It’s also a roadmap for your business. Business plans have eight parts, according to the Small Business Administration. These parts help you map out how you are going to operate your business. In the plan, you address who you will sell to, your strategies and your business purpose.
Once you have a clear idea of where your business is heading, you can accelerate your path to get there.