8 ways to grow your business
Generating new business by growing your customer base is essential to your business success. However, it can sometimes be very challenging.
Here are some practical tips to help you grow your customer base.
1. Get to know your customers
Understand your customer’s needs and develop products and services that meet those needs. You can gain insight into your customers by personalising your services and encouraging them to provide you with feedback.
2. Offer excellent customer service
Ensure your customer service is exceptional, and go the extra mile when you can. Your customers will remember excellent service and be more likely to refer other people to you.
3. Nurture existing customers and look for new opportunities
Have strategies to nurture existing customers, such as staying in contact with them via an e-newsletter or letting them know about promotional events ahead of time.
At the same time, look for opportunities to get more work and build your customer base. Make sure you find the right balance between nurturing customers and finding new ones.
If you own or operate an Aboriginal business, you can also promote your business by taking advantage of a free listing on the Aboriginal Business Directory Western Australia (ABDWA). An increasing number of State Government and private organisations are looking to work with Aboriginal businesses and use the directory to search for relevant suppliers.
4. Use social media
Social media is a powerful tool to promote your business to potential customers and gain valuable insight through ‘social listening’. Through social listening, you can find out what customers are saying about you, gain insight into their behaviour, identify keywords and trends that appeal to your target market, and improve your customer service. Social media can help you to build your business profile and attract new customers.
5. Attend networking events
Invest time to build your networks – it’s not what you know but who you know.
Networking allows you to build relationships with other people and encourage them to refer customers to you through word of mouth.
6. Host events
Hosting your event can be a great way to get to know your customers and build relationships. Invite some of your best existing customers and encourage them to bring their friends.
7. Give back to your community
Building brand awareness in your local community is a great way to attract new business. Consider a sponsorship or participating in a community event to raise your business profile.
8. Measure what works and refine your approach as you go
You should monitor where your customers are coming from to measure whether your marketing activities are successful or not. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Refine your approach if something is not working and focus more time on the activities that achieve the best results.
17 Tips To Successfully Grow Your Business
To grow your business in today’s challenging economy, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organisational skills. To increase your business, it’s important to keep a continued focus on some of the solid practices that helped you get where you are today. Regardless of the industry you are in; you can be highly successful if you live by some very simple ideologies.
Know what you do and what you don’t do
Don’t try to be all things to all people, because it means that you are not very good at any one thing. When you try to do everything, you jeopardise your true strength, which will lead to failure.
Maintain Your Company’s Mission
Create a strategic direction for your business. Keep changes to a minimum to stay focused on the excellent planning and ideas that got you this far. Set yourself a three-year business plan, track against it, and modify the plan when necessary.
To grow your business, you need to be there all the time and hands-on. Never be afraid to do small tasks. Small things do get noticed, so attention to detail is significant.
Build Solid Business Processes
Stop and take the time to define your business processes and practices at an appropriate level and stick to them.
Understand the Risks and Rewards
The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. A good question to ask is, ‘What’s the downside?’ If you can answer this question, then you know what the worst-case scenario is.
People Work For People, Not Companies
Don’t forget that true loyalty comes when employees believe that the organisation and its leadership team care about them personally and professionally. A loyal and well-trained workforce will help your business grow and stand up firm against the competition, which has a natural, essential and direct effect on your company growth.
Hold Employees Accountable
Holding employees accountable for their tasks and responsibilities will allow them to become better employees in the long run. Of course, you must give opportunities for recognition and rewards.
Running A Successful Business vs. Being Good At A Trade/Service
Growing a successful business is all about having a sound business mind, combined with a strong skillset in your particular area of expertise. Just because somebody is a good business operator does not mean that the person is good in the trade or an excellent tradesperson is not necessarily good at operating a business.
Never Lose Focus On Quality
In our current challenging economy, it is easy to think about cutting corners. However, customers/clients will recognise a quality decrease and go elsewhere. It is hard to gain a customer/client, but it is straightforward to lose one quickly if a business is not providing what the customer/client expectations and is accustomed to.
Passion Is Contagious
When you love what you do, it shows to the people surrounding you daily in the office, shop or factory. Selling is a transfer of enthusiasm. As a business owner, you need to show enthusiasm for your service or product, as well as your customers.
Focus On Your Customers/Clients
The purpose of a business is to make a profit and create and keep a customer. You want your customers/clients to return and bring their friends. Many companies forget that providing excellent customer service is essential. If you provide better service for your customers/clients, they will be more inclined to come to you the next time they need something instead of going to your competition.
To stay relevant, it is essential to innovate, regardless of your industry, and want to get better. Constantly look at ways of improving your customer service, processes, upgrade your skills, and become more efficient at what you do, which ultimately drives greater profitability. Recognise that you don’t know everything and be open to new ideas and new approaches to your business.
Become More Competitive
Competition is everything, and differentiation is the key to successful selling. Ensure you have a competitive advantage. If you don’t have one, create one. It all comes down to your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ (USP). This will make you stand out from your competitors.
If You Build It, They Will NOT Come
During a challenging economy, many companies look at marketing as an expense and try to cut it from the budget. However, consumers are incredibly discerning about their money. As a result, they generally buy products that they have either sampled or referred to them. Marketing is the key to success during challenging times.
Keep An Eye On Operating Costs During Growth
Remember to try to maintain your service/production cost perspective. When there is a venture capital injection or a growth spurt, it is easy to start to think too big and spend accordingly. The smart business owner maintains the focus on efficient, solid production/service practices and maintains his/her grip on operating expenses and likewise on lower-cost production/service. Ensure you keep detailed records. By keeping detailed records, you will know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing.
Grow, but grow prudently and not too fast. Trying to grow too fast can kill a business quickly as too much emphasis can be placed on growth and not enough on the customer relationships and the service/product quality that got your business to that growth point in the first place.
Measure Your Success
First of all, you should enjoy what you do. That’s the ultimate success. Secondly, you should consistently hit your numbers; it shows that you know what you’re doing. Finally, you should love your product/service, and you should love your customers.
All of the above tips to growing a successful business are essential. However, the primary key is consistency. Operating your own business is challenging and rewarding. Success requires focus, discipline and perseverance. However, business success/growth will not come overnight; it requires a long-term focus and that you remain consistent in challenging environments. Due to that it is important to plan and set your goals in the long term.
10 Things Your Accountant Should Do to Grow Your Business
Did you know that your accountant can help you grow your business profit? Many business owners don’t realise the many benefits a good accountant can bring to their personal and business life. They can offer strategic advice and clever ways to boost revenue and save money. They not only remove and automate administrative tasks to help you focus on your core business, but they also help you run your business with more confidence and clarity. Get them involved and utilise their knowledge and their years of valuable experience in growing businesses for numerous other owners.
In addition to filing your BAS statements and tax returns, your accountant can be a trusted advisor – providing you with valuable advice across business functions to help improve your profit, trim down your costs and streamline your business. He or she should be available to you all year to offer regular advice and know your business inside out.
Here’s a list of things your accountant should do to help you grow your business.
Cost reduction strategy
Your accountant should analyse all your operating expenses and determine which ones are high based on industry benchmarks. Saving dollars by analysing your operating costs will directly translate to more profit for you. Your prices significantly impact your profitability, so you should not neglect to keep a close eye on them.
Your accountant should implement an effective cost reduction strategy based on benchmarking intelligence. He or she should help you improve the management of your contracts, reduce overheads and waste and boost productivity across your organisation. Your accountant should find out how you can utilise your labour more efficiently. If you can save on wages and labour costs such as superannuation and work cover, your profit will grow.
He or she should also calculate the return rate for your marketing and advertising spend to see if it generates enough sales and profit for the business. Your accountant should think about storage, utilities, and staff costs strategically to identify unnecessary costs in your industry. Your accountant should find out if you can negotiate a better deal with your suppliers.
You need a detailed budget but creating one consumes a lot of time and energy. Don’t work off a vague set of numbers that are full of rough estimates and assumptions. Your accountant should be able to produce an accurate, rigorous budget that you can be confident of. He or she should show you the actual cost of doing your business, how much you can reinvest and what you can pay yourself.
If your budget blows out, your profits dwindle. Your accountant should have a deep understanding of your business and market position to help you set achievable and reliable revenue and budget targets. He or she should be able to identify your costs, implement and monitor a realistic budget aligned with your goals and forecast your sales.
Debt collection system
Your accountant should develop an effective debt collection system for you to make sure that your business does not suffer losses because of bad debts. Bad debts eat away profits, so your accountant should fix and improve your debt collection policies and implement better terms of trade to maximise your profits and improve your cash flow.
You don’t need to chase your debtors, but unpaid invoices are inherent in the business, and you can’t just ignore the problem.
Your accountant should take care of that for you. He or she should set up invoice systems that send automatic reminders to your customers when bills are due or overdue. He or she can even call them if they do not respond to emails. If invoices remain unpaid, your accountant may arrange for debt financing where a business will pay for these invoices and chase the payment themselves.
It’s not easy to apply for a loan as it involves art and science. Your accountant should be able to pull together your numbers and help you pitch loan applications. Lenders want solid financials and credible forecasts, and your accountant should create a compelling presentation with graphs and charts to sell your business. He or she should be able to use powerful tools that loan officers trust.
Your accountant should also help you tell a good debt from bad debt and find the least expensive borrowing strategies with low interest and repayment flexibility for your business. He or she should take care of refinancing as well.
Your accountant should look at finance restructuring and help you save interest on your loans should there be cheaper options. You can boost your profit if you refinance an existing business debt and save interest. He or she will advise you when your spare cash should be used to pay loans or be reinvested in your business by considering the figures, looking at how your debt is structured and developing the right strategy for you.
Launching a new business can be exciting as well, but it takes more than just a good idea. You need to know and convince investors and lenders that it can make money. Your accountant should help test the hypothesis, identify all startup and operating costs and produce credible sales forecasts. He or she should know which lenders are most suitable so you can approach them for finance. He or she should be able to work on your pitch so you can impress the lenders.
Product/service and price analysis
Your accountant should review any underperforming product or service lines in your business. He or she should check the crucial margin levels and determine which ones should be eliminated because they are poorly contributing to your bottom line.
Your accountant should review your pricing, determine if your prices are in tune with market expectations and maximise your current price levels. If a price increase is due, it might just significantly boost your profit.
Setting price points is critical to the success of your business. If your price is too high or too low, you’ll be out of the game. Your accountant should help you set competitive price points based on benchmarking intelligence while keeping enough meat in your bottom line.
Your accountant should spend time with you to prepare a flexible business plan that sets key goals and courses of action for future profit growth. He or she should be proactive in helping you find opportunities to improve critical areas in your business. Your accountant is responsible for managing your cash flow, maximising your profits and helping solve any business issues you may have through honest and practical advice.
Your accountant should help make your business recession-proof, safe from the pressures on prices, high inflation and low-interest rates. He or she should produce regular forecasts to make sure you avoid financial difficulties and that your plans are fully funded all the time.
A business has many moving parts, and it could be challenging to know where to focus.
Your accountant should help you determine what’s important, set personal, professional and financial goals and give you tools to track your progress. Your accountant should also help you set up your accounting software so you can check your KPIs anytime, anywhere. He or she should be able to troubleshoot issues, test solutions and reset KPIs for you as needed.
Customer and revenue analysis
Your accountant should help you identify which customers are most valuable to your business by looking at your complete customer database and analysing the profitability of each customer. You might be surprised to know that the ones who give you the minor headaches may be the ones who provide you with the most margin and profit – so don’t ignore them.
Your accountant should offer proactive tax planning to save money off annual tax bills. You would need that money to reinvest into the business and achieve the income you want. Your accountant should use strategies to identify the most tax-efficient structures for your business.
Your accountant should know what is happening in your industry and understand where your business sits in the market. He or she should research and offer insight into your industry to identify areas where you can quickly improve and grow. Your accountant should compare you with your competitors.
You should know how your competitors are operating so you can outpace them. Your accountant should report to you how you stack up against sales volume, production costs, market reach, overhead, staff costs and turnover, profitability and pricing, etc. Knowing this vital information will help you identify your pain points and tell you where you can reduce expenses or market gaps in your sales strategy to set a more effective business strategy that will give you more edge.
Cash flow management
Even profitable businesses fail because they run out of cash at the wrong time and can’t pay suppliers or staff. Companies can’t last long no matter how good if payments are slow or expenditure is too high. Your accountant should know that revenue and costs come and go. They should help you forecast your cash flow and develop strategies to manage it by organising cash reserves and a spending plan to make sure there’s always money in the bank. You’ll develop a more straightforward relationship with your suppliers and staff.
Your accountant should automate your business accounting so sales and expense data can flow directly to your accounts. He or she should set up the invoicing systems that tell you what has been paid and what hasn’t. A good cloud accounting software can even send reminder emails to those who haven’t paid you.
Your accountant should help you automate cash flow dashboards, KPI tracking and accounts payable and set up mobile accounting apps to let you manage your finances anytime, anywhere. This will allow you to check your business performance, know where you stand and make sure you’re on top of your expenses even when on the road.
Your accountant should also set up an inventory system, identify the cost of holding inventory and develop strategies to save you money. He or she should help you avoid spending a lot on storage, losing money writing off damaged or obsolete goods or losing revenue because you run out of stock. Your accountant should help you manage your inventory correctly, check your sales data to predict stock needs and even set up an automated tracking of stock levels and ordering of items as they run low.
Your accountant should help eliminate other unnecessary distractions by automating things such as staff scheduling and time recording, POS, payments, customer relationship management, payroll and invoicing. This practice can take away the stress, lower costs and ensure everything runs smoothly.
Ensure your accountant is stepping up to the plate in these areas because anything less is simply not good enough.
As a business owner, you are probably working far too hard because everything depends on you. Your accountant should help bring balance to your life and help you achieve the quality of life you want.
You may want to sell your business, retire as a silent partner or leave it to your kids. Your accountant should be a trusted adviser with extensive knowledge about tax minimisation strategies, tax compliance, due diligence, business valuation and estate planning.