Growing strong – from starter to a small solid business
So what exactly counts as a small business anyway?
The European Commission defines small enterprises as employing 10-49 people with an annual turnover of less than €10 million, which is already pretty big !
Here are several things worth focusing on at this stage in your company’s growth cycle:
Brands are like people – they have core characteristics that define them. Marketeers pinpoint the five key points as: Sincerity, Excitement. Competence, Sophistication and Ruggedness. Which one best defines your brand? Identify your company’s personality and develop it to inspire your audience and win their loyalty.
Leveraging the right technology is one of the big reasons behind growth.
With entry barriers relatively low, small businesses can gain competitive advantage by automating and utilising new developments such as webshops, innovative and seamless new payment methods and virtual point of sales, both online and offline. Opportunities are also available to bring in smart loyalty systems like gifts and vouchers.
This new technology is giving way to readily-available data which merchants can use as part of their strategy at large, both in reporting and planning for the future. You can export sales and VAT data to your accountant with no problem, as well as getting insights into consumer trends like your best-selling products, busiest times for shopping, customer loyalty and more besides in the palm of your hand.
Partner with service providers who can scale with your business – such as CCV for your payment solutions . A reliable service provider is crucial to help you grow your business by emphasising trust and personal service.
An online shop
If you haven’t started to sell online or opened new sales channels, you should consider it. If you have a shop, think about opening more channels, or upgrading your web shop, if necessary.
For example, if you run a coffee shop, you may think there’s not much scope to sell ‘skinny flavoured choccocinos’ online.
Yet there is – if you think outside the coffee cup.
Seasonality is the curse of many firms. Business booms in the summer – or winter – and then fades away, eating away your profits. However, you can work around it by leveraging all seasons and holidays to the benefit of your business.
For example, if you’re a hotel and you know business slows down in the winter, host events for taste testing or gear brunch meetings towards your customers in the quieter months.
3 top skills you need to grow your small business
- Precision management. Your management style must become more precise as you grow. For example, hiring the right employee is a critical decision for a small business. Never stop talent-spotting whether through networking, attending conferences or social media. Target the right skills and experience by all means but these should be topped up by genuine enthusiasm.
- Content creation. This is the stage of growth when you build your brand. Use social media – but be sociable! Don’t just post dour business facts. Use imaginative, personal and engaging content. And don’t forget that essential quality of your business: you! Meet and greet your customers where possible both online and in person.
- Make informed decisions. Use smart software solutions. Insights and data from your business can help you make the right choices. Analysing payment transactions, for example, can show you the best-selling products – and the type of payment method your customers prefer to use.
And… 3 mistakes to avoid
- Mistake #1: Ignoring the data
- Solution: Using smart solutions and analytics to help understand who is using your website or how customers are engaging/purchasing your product or service.
- Mistake #2. Not investing in marketing
- Solution: If money is the problem, use excellent web content and low – or no – cost social media.
- Mistake #3. Failing to delegate
- Solution: Ask for volunteers. You may find unexpected talent and enthusiasm within your organisation for certain tasks.
“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.”
– Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin
Your key takeaways to move to the next level:
- Software can cope with scaling up a lot better than staff.
- Go multichannel for a full user experience.
- Your customers mean everything to you. They are the lifeblood of your business.
- Choose a technology partner to future-proof your business from the beginning.
It may be a jungle out there – but it’s yours for the taking! Take these tips on board and watch your business grow.
CCV is the entrepreneurs’ friend. Your nerve and drive deserves support, now and in the future.
Phone us on +31 (0)88 228 9911, or send us an email with your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org.