When we talk about business strategy with entrepreneurs and managers we like to think big. We’re just not talking about turning their brand into Facebook or Google, we are talking about turning it into something bigger. Why? The main reason would probably be because we truly believe in every one of our clients’ dream, but the truth is, we always have high expectations and goals.
You see, if you own a business or you wish to start one, the worst thing you can do is to say things such as: ‘‘ I’m not sure if it will work ’’ or ‘‘ I’m expecting to earn just a few dollars from it ’’. Some even might say that they know there are a lot of competitors out there and that it’s almost impossible to stand out from the crowd. That is what we call: ”having a plan to failure”.
Do it with passion or not at all
Long before SWAPPT was launched, we used to work and meet with a lot of business owners, some were able to be very successful but some weren’t, mostly because they had two different ways of doing things, one being the way that they talked about their product (with passion) and another being the importance of having a business and strategic plan.
The biggest mistake a small business can make is to think like a small business
Their goals were very much the same but having the right business plan and doing it with passion is what made the big difference between winning or losing the game. Now you understand why we always encourage our clients to take their ideas to a whole new level.
Over the last years, we made sure every entrepreneur understood the importance of following the process of creating a business plan and created a step by step to help them to go through it. So, today we are also sharing it with you a checklist to turn your business into a successful empire.
Step by Step Checklist for Business Growth
Review and optimise your business plan
In order to grow your business, you’ll need to go back to your business plan and see if you’ve missed something that was important but we’re not able to implement it yet. This will not only allow you to see what were your initial goals, it will also help you to reconsider some of them and optimise it for the future.
Review your cash flow
After having a look at your business plan, start reviewing your cash flow. Be sure to find out how the money comes in and goes out. By doing it, you’ll be able to see if there is any way that you can save some extra money in some areas to invest it into another that needs more attention such as hiring more employees or buying equipment. It will also help you to identify how much cash you will need to invest in your business’s growth.
Did you hire the right team members?
When launching a startup or growing your business, we tend to hire whom we think might be the perfect team members. The truth is, hiring the right people is something that we, unfortunately,
tend to overlook. Your company will depend on the results, therefore, it also depends on the skills and experience of your workers. Whether you are looking to build a new team or already have one, ask yourself:
- Do I have the right team members?
- Do my people have the right skills or do they need training?
- Do they feel sufficiently rewarded?
- Do they have the right equipment?
- How can I help them feel more committed?
- Do they understand what is their purpose in the company?
- Do they know your business KPIs and main goals?
If you feel like there is someone that might not be fitting, you might need to make some decisions or hire external experts to help you with a specific job position. Finally, we need to had that having a good team on board is great but having good communication with them is an essential part of any successful business, especially if you attend to expand.
Maximize Team Productivity
If you do have workers with skills, is there anything that you can do to maximise their productivity? Review your staff’s day-to-day processes to identify what delays them and what tasks can be improved.
Is there any software that can simplify their tasks? Do they need new computers or equipment? Do they need more co-workers or does your business need another point of sale to distribute your product more efficiently?
Get to know your market competition
You might have the best idea, product or service, but not being aware of who you are competing with could end your plans to grow or expand. It is of the utmost importance that you have a clear idea of your actual place in the market and who are your competitors.
Start searching for the most obvious one and slowly investigate on how they sell, promote, distribute and handle their customer service so you can improve yours or highlight yours. Carry out a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to identify opportunities and weak points.
Work on your SEO and SEM game
By now you’ve probably already heard about the importance of SEO for businesses. Nowadays it’s almost impossible for a brand to stand out without investing in SEO and SEM.
Being able to appear on the first page of Google is not a matter of causality, in fact, companies spend part of their resources and time on optimising SEO and PPC campaigns to make sure their brand gain reputation among potential users and customers. Apart from optimising your web design make sure to:
- Update the content on your website if you need more traffic. Write content to attract readers that might be interested in your product or services. You’ll be able to target your audience easily and even turn them into leads.
- Always do a keyword research to optimise your pages and rank them in Google’s search results. Your site will attract the right customers and will be easily found online.
- User experience is a must. Ask your users and clients for feedback. You might have the best web designer in your team but what really matters is how your customers behave and navigate on your web. If you have beautiful images posted but users can’t find the shopping cart, it won’t help your sales revenue.
Besides these, there are much more points to consider in a strategic marketing plan, that’s why it’s always good to have it handy and make sure you are following it.
Finding the right partner
At some point, you might realize that you can’t do everything alone and that you’ll need some extra help. That’s when setting up a new partnership can be beneficial for entrepreneurs and startups. Maybe it’s time to invest on external experts who will give you the support you need to keep growing.
Consultants & always give you a fresh perspective and can even save your business. Ask an expert to review your plan and give you honest, constructive feedback. Sharing your thoughts, fears, goals will help both sides to work on finding the best solutions to improve your business.
Be prepare for success and for failure
As we mentioned on the first point, it’s important for you to think big when planning to succeed, but planning for the future also means planning for failure. Now stop right there! We’re not saying that you need to create a plan to fail, but rather prepare an ‘’escape plan’’ in case everything else fails.
The truth is, no one likes to think about a downturn but we need to understand that it might happen. Just make sure you’re ready for it and have a plan B to save your brand or at least to save your savings. Set up an emergency fund and strategy just in case you need it.
Elevate your business, dominate your market and expand worldwide
What you need to remember is there’s no easy shortcut when it comes to growing your business. It takes hard work and months of research, planning and investment to master the perfect business strategy. These tips will give you a good starting point to succeed but there’s a lot more to review to achieve it.
If you need any more help or have any questions, feel free to get in touch with SWAPPT’s team so we can help you with your business growth and be prepared for the coming years.