Growing a successful business begins with adopting the right strategies and knowing how to keep pace with changes such as advancements in technology; regulatory changes; and consumer demand. Here are a few tips for business owners looking to grow their organizations in 2013 and beyond.
Focus on Employee Development
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), well-trained employees play a key role in the success of any company—regardless of industry. When there are fewer opportunities for training, there is often a decrease in motivation. This can lead to higher turnover, which in turn costs organizations more money in the long run.
The SBA suggests companies turn to the Internet to satisfy their employee development needs. Online training and professional development solutions provide workers with an opportunity to learn on their own time and at their own pace. This is especially beneficial for companies with workers in multiple locations or individuals working remotely or via mobile devices.
Online training also eliminates the high costs associated with traditional classroom training and seminars (including travel and materials expenses) and allows managers to quickly and easily assign, track and manage training for all employees from a single location.
Turn Clients into Advocates
When consumers love a company’s philosophy or its products and services, they are more likely to sing its praises to their friends and family. Business owners looking to grow their organizations should take note of their clients’ enthusiasm and provide them with opportunities to share their passion with a wider audience. Social media channels, for example, provide the ideal forum in which to promote new products and services and encourage client feedback.
Customer referrals may also help companies increase revenue, according to Inc. Magazine. For example, Roku, a manufacturer of a media streaming device, introduced a “Refer-a-friend” campaign, which provides customers with a free month of Netflix for every friend they refer—and each friend receives a discount on a new Roku player. Small steps such as these can go a long way toward turning clients into advocates.
Social media is not the only form of technology business owners should be utilizing if they want to see growth. If employees are working with computers and software that was viewed as revolutionary a decade ago, it is likely time to upgrade.
Although some team members may require additional computer skills training, the long-term benefits are worth it, and taking a step into the future can position your business for growth. The SBA recommends owners begin using more mobile technology (including mobile apps), as this shows that they are both professional and accessible. Accounting, planning and time-tracking software could also be valuable tools that help workers stay organized and streamline their daily operations.
With more advanced technology, companies may be in a better position to conduct business with customers around the world and not just in their immediate area. The experts at Inc.com revealed recently that among today’s small businesses, only about 1 percent export their products overseas. One reason why this number is so low is that many owners do not understand consumer culture in foreign markets. For this reason, it may be in their best interest to make a few trips abroad so they can learn more about potential clients.
“These countries are fundamentally different from Western Europe, and you need to go there and do your homework—learning the local selling culture, how your product will be sold and merchandised,” Marc Meyer, a professor of entrepreneurship at Northeastern University, told the news source.