Your business is up and running and you understand what works and what doesn’t. Now you’re ready to take a step back and be strategic about how – and when – to grow your business.
10 steps for business growth
Seeing an opportunity for business growth can be exciting. But turning your big idea into a practical reality will take careful research and planning – not to mention investment. Use this 10-step list as your reality check.
1. Review your cash flow
If you want to grow your retail business, start by reviewing your cash flow. Work out how much money comes in and goes out. Use the information to plan the year ahead. Your plan should identify how much cash you need to invest in your business’s growth and what you will use it for – for example, hiring employees or buying stock.
2. Review your day-to-day processes
Could you and your staff be more efficient in the way you do things? Do your business practices and policies get in the way sometimes? If yes, it might be time to review your day-to-day processes to identify what you can improve.
3. Prepare your team
Having a team of committed and skilled employees is an essential part of any business, particularly one that plans on expansion. If you want to grow your business, first take a step back. Ask yourself:
Do I have the right team?
Do my people have the right skills?
Do they feel sufficiently rewarded?
What can I do to keep staff and help them feel more committed?
Have I planned for staff turnover?
Think about how you can prepare your team for change and business growth.
4. Know your market competition
It’s important to be really clear about your place in the market. Take time to look at your market share and do the same for your main competition. Who are your competitors today and who will they be tomorrow? Carry out a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to work out your direction and stay ahead of the game.
5. Update the content on your website
Before you attract a new audience to your website, check that the content on your site is up-to-date and works for your target audience.
Use search engine optimisation to make sure that your website can be found online easily. Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to check you have the right keywords for Google search. For example, if you are selling women’s tennis shirts, include those words on your website.
Review your social media strategy. Are you using the right networks and tools to increase engagement and traffic to your site?
Ask your customers for feedback on your website. Could they find what they wanted easily? Was it easy to pay? Where there any steps of their buying journey that could be improved?
6. Expand to other markets
Look at increasing your sales by diversifying your products and services. It might be that you currently have tapped into a particular market – for example women’s clothes. By expanding your offering to include men’s clothes or children’s clothes you can open up to a whole new group of people.
7. Bring in external experts
It’s always good to get a fresh perspective from a trusted outsider. Ask an expert to review your business operations and your marketing strategy. Get someone skilled and knowledgeable who is comfortable giving honest, constructive feedback you can use to improve your retail business.
8. Prepare for an economic crisis
No one likes to think about a downturn. But we all know they happen. Make sure you’re ready. Review your cash flow and identify the liquid assets you have. Set up an emergency fund (if you don’t have one) for when times are lean.
9. Review your products and services
Make sure your products and services hit the mark by carrying out market research. Use the results to improve what you offer and to identify the language your customers use to talk about your products and services. Reuse their language in your marketing communications.
10. Update your communications plan
A well-thought-out communications plan will identify the key messages you want to get across to your customers. It will also identify how you want to communicate. Update your plan to ensure it covers all the bases – from purchase confirmation emails to customers who’ve bought your product online through to invitations to exclusive events for VIP customers.
Research, plan, invest and grow
There’s no easy shortcut when it comes to growing your business. Instead it takes hard work and plenty of research, planning and investment. Use this checklist to grow your business and succeed.
How to grow your business ebook
Want to get into the nitty gritty of growing your business? This guide will take you through financing options, boosting sales, expanding into new markets, and more.