« Small Business Resources « « Scaling Your Business: When and How in 5 Steps
If you’re a successful entrepreneur, you’ve put your heart and soul into your start-up. That same laser focus can help you build future successes as well. When you’re ready to expand, you’ll need a plan for scalable, sustainable growth.
A scalable growth plan means taking measured steps to manage growth, so that your costs and efforts decrease (or increase marginally), while your profitability increases. That can help you manage your resources, maintain profits and enhance your brand. Here are 5 ways to help manage growth:
- Have a flexible business plan. Develop products or services that meet increased demands and can be easily replicated, but only increase costs minimally. Include goals and map out milestones you want to reach, and keep a careful watch on your costs.
Always have a Plan B and pay attention to the details. Anticipate obstacles you might run into with your business plan and decide how you’ll manage them. For example, if you determine that certain days or times of the month are busier than others, you can plan ahead, so you aren’t scrambling to hire workers or aren’t overstaffed. If certain services or inventory aren’t selling, change your plan, so you don’t have excess inventory or unnecessary costs.
- Nurture current customers. According to Small Business Trends, 20 percent of your current customers will account for 80 percent of your future profits. That’s an important insight for businesses looking to expand. Clearly, although new sales are vital to growth, it’s far easier and cheaper to cultivate your existing customers than it is to find new ones. Are you wondering how you can do that?
You already have a wealth of information about your customers and their preferences. You can use this to personalize your outreach and cultivate your relationships. Analyze your customers’ buying patterns and reach out with special promotions for similar products/services. Offer reminders for specials or special events. And, if your customers purchase gifts at a certain time each year, you can offer to send them reminders for birthdays, anniversaries or other milestones. Don’t be afraid to follow up if your customers haven’t engaged with you in a while (think of those “you left something in your shopping cart” emails from online merchants).
- Raise your profile. Although you may not have the same name recognition as powerhouses like Amazon, Starbucks or Google, you can raise your business’ profile with a robust online presence. Keep your website updated and easy to navigate. If it includes online ordering, make sure it’s secure and easy to use. Younger consumers, especially, want to feel a connection with the businesses where they shop, so get personal. Talk about your team on your site and connect with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you’d like more tips, read our article on online tools to help you promote your business.
- Build a trusted team. Put a trusted team in place to manage day-to-day functions and give yourself time to focus on the big picture. Look for those who have experience in growing a company and who can quickly adapt to rapid change. You may also want to consider using contractors or have subject matter experts when you need flexibility or have fluctuating revenue or needs.
- Have financing in place. Don’t wait until you need it to apply for a business line of credit. Having approval ahead of time will allow you the flexibility to manage changing revenue patterns or to seize opportunities when they arise.
If you’re ready to expand, for example, by buying equipment or commercial property, and need a business loan, Navy Federal offers a variety of options to its members. Learn more about business loans and Business Services.