During the first few months and years of a small business, it’s not uncommon to see explosive growth. You’ve identified a demand, you’ve catered to it, and now you’re reaping the rewards. Congratulations are in order.
But eventually, that growth will begin to plateau. You’ve made all of the simple optimisations, and picked all of the low-hanging fruit. You need to find other ways to make things better, and to take your business to that next level. But how, exactly?
Reach customers in multiple ways
The most successful businesses tend to be those that are focussed on their customer’s needs, rather than what the competition is doing. But if you’re just getting in touch with your customers via a single channel, then you’re potentially missing out on all of the other ways via which they might get in touch.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Your time is precious. Certain tasks deserve your full attention, others can be delegated to your employees, to subcontractors, or to family members. Once you’ve gotten into this habit, you’ll be able to generate free time out of nowhere. For example, you might make use of comparison services for your shipping activities, to ensure that you’re getting the best price on your shipping.
Divide your Time 60/20/20
The 60/20/20 approach to budgeting can be equally well applied to that most precious of resources: time. This will help you to consciously stay on top of the present without neglecting the future. You’ll be spending 60% of your time on day-to-day tasks that actually add value, a further 20% planning your future activities, and a further 20% deciding how the business might be improved.
Control your Social Media Use
Social media can be a double-edged sword. It’s invaluable for reaching customers, but it’s also a notorious drain on productivity. Set limits on when you’re using social media personally, with the help of a website blocker. Your social media posts should be scheduled to drive up engagement and offer value to your audience.
Set Goals, but Don’t become Obsessed by Them
Making goals for your business is vital if you want to later measure success. If you don’t do it ahead of time, then there will always be the temptation to shift the goalposts retrospectively. You might get your targets for the year down so that all of your staff can be cognisant of them.
On the other hand, if you’re overly focussed on your goals, then you might lose sight of the factors that aren’t so easily quantified. Things like customer satisfaction, employee happiness, and engagement with the local community aren’t so easy to distil into a spreadsheet.
Never Stop Learning
If you stop learning, then you risk being left behind. This is especially so in the modern world, where the pace of technological change is considerable. Make time every week to learn more about the methods and practices your business might adopt.