We all know that starting a business is not easy—but the real challenge comes when you’re trying to grow your company. Fortunately, there are simple solutions. The five ideas below can help your business become more successful, bring in more profits and run more smoothly.
- Enlist a partner. Even if you didn’t start your business with a partner (or don’t want to add someone else as co-owner), there are ways to share the burden of business ownership. Consider teaming with a complementary business and forming a joint venture to launch a new product line, service or website. Both of you benefit from the other’s expertise, know-how and customer base.
- Get social. Social media helps you spread the word about your business far more easily and inexpensively than traditional marketing and advertising. Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn intimidate many entrepreneurs. But with consumers and businesses alike hooked on these communication methods, you can’t afford to ignore the power of social networking. Get your feet wet by giving each of the sites a try.
- Stay on top of your cash flow. Keeping regular tabs on your accounts receivable and payable is key to keeping your business bank account thriving and your company rolling. If you aren’t comfortable with accounting tools like QuickBooks, there are many ways to learn the basics. You’ll be glad you did.
- Value your employees. Could you run your business without them? I thought not. Then show them how much you appreciate them. Get out of your office and talk to them; get their opinions and feedback on issues related to your business; and reward them for a job well done. When your employees are truly engaged in your business, they’ll work that much harder and make your life that much easier.
- Find a support system. Whether it’s an official entrepreneurs’ organization, a circle of colleagues or just one close pal you can vent to about anything, every entrepreneur needs a shoulder to cry on and an ear to bounce ideas off of. Your support group should be outside your business (so you can tell them anything) and noncompetitive (so you aren’t worried about leaking sensitive info). If you don’t have the support system you need, start looking for one.
Speaking of support systems, a SCORE mentor can help and advise you on all of these tricks—and many more besides. If you don’t already have a SCORE mentor, visit the SCORE website to get matched with one and get free advice online 24/7.