business tips

The Five Best Tips to Grow Your Business

There are five tips for growing your business that will help you get products to market faster, win more customers, boost your margins and deliver a superior experience to every stakeholder. Your competitors won’t know what just happened to them if you follow these five tips to grow your business:

1. Focus on the Customer Experience

As a rule of thumb, it’s seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, so your business should be laser-focused on offering the best possible customer experience and encouraging your most passionate customers to become advocates and ambassadors for your business.

That means understanding what makes your best customers tick—what are their hopes, interests and expectations? Some businesses even go so far as to create customer personas that help them identify the specific types of people (ex. a single mother who works full-time and only buys premium products for her kids) that are the best customers for their business.

2. Keep an Eye on Your Cash Flow

One of the most important financial reports of any company is the statement of cash flows. It lets you know exactly how your company is converting cash into profits. Ultimately, cash flow is what lets you pay employees and vendors, pay off debts and invest in new equipment. If your business is burning cash too quickly, that could be an early warning sign that there are significant financial problems within your business.

3. Invest in a Reporting Analytics Package

Data matters more than ever in today’s hyper-competitive business landscape. With big data, you’ll be able to help you identify new customer segments, new niches, and new ways to expand. At the very least, it will give you a real-time look at how your business is performing and enable you to perform sophisticated report analysis.

4. Optimize Your Supply Chain

Just-in-time is the buzzword in inventory management and it’s a great strategy to increase efficiency and reduce inventory costs. If you have too much inventory (think of warehouses overflowing with products), you are going to tie up too much cash and impede the growth of your business. If you have too little inventory (think of nearly empty warehouses), you are going to have a very difficult time re-stocking your retail shelves. The solution is just-in-time inventory management, in which products appear exactly when they are needed. To make that a reality, you need to optimize your supply chain, so that products can make their way to your warehouse just in time.

5. Always be Innovating

In business, there’s no time to just stand still. You need to be constantly innovating, constantly pushing the envelope of what’s possible with your business. Think about what new products you can offer customers, what new niches you can explore, and how you can surprise and delight your customers.

By getting every part of your business—sales, marketing, finance, operations—working together seamlessly, you can guarantee the future success of your business, no matter how big or small it is.

5 Tips For Facing the Competition

Every business has its fair share of competitors. Some of these may be entrenched market competitors, some of them may be upstarts, but they’re all looking to take away your customers, profits and market share. So what’s the best way for facing this competition? Here are 5 tips to grow your business in a competitive marketplace:

Stop Trying to Copy the Business Model of Your Rivals

You will only achieve success if you run your business on your own terms, and not fall prey to chasing after rivals in your industry. As soon as you stop following your own path and start copying your competitors, you could find yourself even further behind than when you started. You have your own unique strategies, resources and capabilities so you need to stay true to your business model that optimizes them in the best possible way.

Divide Your Long-Term Goal into Smaller, Manageable Goals

So much of business seems to be focused on the big stretch goals — disrupting an industry, toppling the market leader, or launching a radically innovative product. But guess what? Any big stretch goal can only be achieved if you divide that goal into smaller, manageable steps. You need strategy and tactics to reach your goal. Your strategy should explain how you plan to acquire customers, which markets you plan to penetrate, and how you plan to out-perform competitors. Maybe you’ll grow market share by 10% a quarter. Write it down and then figure out how to achieve it.

Avoid Over-Analyzing Your Competitors

There’s a big difference between doing some basic competitor research and relentlessly stalking your competitors. Yes, you need to know what your competitors are up to, but that doesn’t require tracking your rival on social media, or obsessing about your competitors’ newest product launches. The more you focus on rivals, the more you are getting away from the core mission of your business. Remember, you launched your company for a reason, whether it’s to solve a problem faced by customers or to save the world. So focus on that!

Build a Strong Team

Having a successful small business is about more than just having a cool product and a rock star CEO. It’s about having a solid team of professionals who care intensely about your mission and goals. You need to keep your team motivated. That’s easy when things are going well, but what about when they are not going so well? Think about ways to bring the company together, reward success, bring in the best talent and convince your other top talent to stay!

Make Quality the Focus of Everything You Do

Quality is the key to out-shining your competitors. This does not just mean a higher-quality product, but also a higher-quality customer experience. Think of yourself as offering value to your customers. Only then will you be able to take on competitors.

In short, you always need to know how to benchmark the performance of your small business. Even something like “quality” can have very quantitative goals – maybe it’s something as simple as having 99% 5-star reviews on Yelp. Or 99% of products shipped on time. By quantifying, you can keep your business focused on the big picture, instead of constantly shifting gears to keep up with your competitors.