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Growing Your Business: Top Five Tasks You Must Perform

In the world of business, nothing but change is constant – and change is the means by which the Darwinian process selects the businesses that are likely to survive.  Thus, for entrepreneurs, a stagnant business is almost always a dead business.

So what are the top five tasks that you must perform to grow your business to the next level?

Know who your customers and your most profitable future customers are:  At the heart of every business is a two way relationship between you and your customer.  Some businesses, however, operate for quite a number of years without taking the time to get to know their customer demographics and the preferences of their loyal customers.

At the start, doing “chance marketing and lucky targeting” may be fine; it is even understandable since you are busy dealing with other start-up matters.  If you want to grow your business, however, you must get to know your target market as well as your future potential market.  This will help you streamline your plans and set definite goals for expanding your marketing and advertising reach.

Use efficient and cost-effective advertising and marketing strategies:  Trying out all marketing and advertising methods then praying that one will work is not a very smart move.  When you don’t know which advertising/marketing methods are most effective for your business, you’ll lose a lot of money, you’ll soon run out of advertising money, and you’ll soon be overtaken by your much smarter competitor.

Create a brand:  Businesses that plan to make it big have to some day leave the realm of tangible competitive advantages such as superior product quality or faster delivery times and move on to the intangible aspects of competition.  Take notice of the biggest businesses around you.  How many of them talk about product specifications and features; how many are selling their brands and their products through psychological and emotional means?

“Nike:  Just Do It” – Targets customer’s feeling of confidence and self control when it comes to playing sports.

“HSBC:  The world’s local bank” – Targets customers’ deep need for personal service; indicates respect for cultural differences.

By moving into the realm of perceptions and deep rooted needs and wants of your customers, you are in effect positioning your business for the biggest prize of them all – a share of your target market’s minds.

Manage your cash flow:  Your most important tool in growing your business is your cash flow.  After all, it is from the cash flow that you will acquire the funds needed to jumpstart your expansion.  By integrating your cash flow into your expansion plans, rather than by making do with whatever is left, you are essentially directing and taking control of your business’ growth.

Know how to lead your people:  Your team is the most important aspect of your business.  In the end, your business will only be as good as the people running it; money or growth, after all, is first and foremost created in the minds of men.  Invest in the growth of your human resources, set aside funds for training, become a true leader of your people, learn how to motivate and inspire, and never stop learning and growing as a team.  Ultimately, your people will be your business’ greatest growth asset.

5 comments

  • John Crawford said on October 10th, 2007 at 4:39 pm :

    I am running a small restaurant. The growth for the business was quite good for the initial 4-5 years. Since than restaurant sales have stagnated. I always wanted to evaluate my business but had little clue about where to start. Your article has provided a new fuel to my thought process. I want to grow to the next level and the five points given in your article will give me a starting point to evaluate where I am going wrong. I always look forward to such articles.

  • Karen Brown said on October 10th, 2007 at 4:40 pm :

    There are many risks associated with a small business. There is simply no way to remove all the risks associated with growing a small business. However there are ways to control them. You article will help small entrepreneurs to better control their activities. Every single penny is important for small business as most of us work on shoestring budget. As suggested by you, I am taking immediate actions to plug in the leaking points in my control system. I hope it work. Good planning, preparation and insight can improve it.

  • Eric Belushi said on October 10th, 2007 at 4:42 pm :

    Growing a business is not an easy task. It requires lot of funds, skilled manpower and Knowledge. For small business, it is not an easy task to arrange funds for investment. Although your article is good from knowledge point of view, it may not be of much help. I would be more interested to read more details about each of these five tasks. For example exampling in more details how we can improve the management of our cash flows would actually help to put the points discussed by you into action. Hope I will see more articles on these issues in future.

  • Gary Buxton said on October 10th, 2007 at 4:43 pm :

    I am in service industry and feel that managing people is the most important for the success of any service sector firms. I was expecting managing and leading people to be among the top two tasks. Anyway, I am happy that you at least included this point. The enthusiasm, motivation and ability of the employees determine how the customer feels during the moment of truth and it makes or breaks any service business. It is therefore very important to take care of them. I suggestion here is to treat your employees as your internal customers and then see how we can help them to be happy and enthusiastic so that they can put their 100% to their job.

  • Joan Cole said on October 10th, 2007 at 4:45 pm :

    Since small businesses do not have the financial muscle of the big player to invest heavily in advertising, online advertising and viral marketing could be a cost effective way. It can help to create a loyal group of customers who can make our business successful. However, viral marketing is easier said then done. It is a tricky thing and needs to be done with proper planning and care. I would be interested to hear more about the viral marketing suggestions from you for small businesses.

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