According to the Small Business Administration, more than 627,000 businesses open every year. On the flip side, nearly 595,000 businesses close on an annual basis.
Many people open a small business hoping for long-term success, but most aren’t able to survive long-term. In fact, the Small Business Association reports that only 51% of all businesses are able to survive beyond five years.
Running a small business is challenging enough. Growing that small business can be another story entirely.
CEO of Everest Business Funding, Scott Crockett, has years of experience operating successful businesses. Here, he discusses seven steps that all small business owners should take if they want to grow.
STEP #1. DEFINE THE BUSINESS
Every business starts with an idea. That might be a product or service that your business can provide that no other can.
What takes a business from idea to success, though, is a clearly-defined purpose for the business. This doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be well-thought-out.
The defined purpose of your business is what should drive you forward as your business grows.
STEP #2. SET UP KPIS
Once your purpose is defined, you should set up Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. These KPIs will be the main metrics that you’ll measure to see how effective your business is at achieving the company objectives.
It’s easy for small businesses to go off track if they don’t have set KPIs, or if they aren’t constantly striving to achieve goals based around them.
STEP #3. OBTAIN PROPER FINANCING
One of the main reasons why small businesses fail is they aren’t properly financed. It’s inevitable that challenges will arise that will take money to solve.
In addition, investments will be necessary to grow any small business — and these investments, too, take money. Small businesses need to be adequately financed and have easy access to capital.
STEP #4. SET UP PROPER STAFFING
A small business has to have the proper staffing to arow and sustain that growth once it attains it. Staffing is essential on two levels.
First, the proper departments and managerial structure must be set up for the organization. Then, the departments must be adequately staffed with people who have the necessary skills for the tasks at hand.
STEP #5. FOCUS ON CURRENT CUSTOMERS
Many small business owners focus on acquiring new customers when they try to grow. But, any solid growth plan needs to begin with a focus on current customers.
Start by understanding who your current customers are. Why are they customers of yours, and what makes them tick?
Then, work hard on a plan to retain your current customers. This includes creating an outstanding customer experience (CX) and rolling out new products and/or services to keep them coming back.
STEP #6. ACQUIRE NEW CUSTOMERS
Next comes acquiring new customers. This should be done in a number of ways.
Marketing and paid advertising plans should be created that utilize traditional media outlets and digital media, catered specifically to your business type. This should be combined with tried-and-true sales efforts to boost your revenue.
Small business owners should also work hard to network with like-minded individuals. This can lead to new business partnerships and tips on how you can grow in your industry and region.
STEP #7. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Steps one through six would be all for naught if you didn’t track the progress on your primary objectives. This goes back to your KPIs.
Once you’ve defined your purpose, set up the organization and started executing the plan, it’s essential for any small business to track its progress. Doing this continually — and re-assessing the goals based on this progress — will have you make adjustments as necessary.
ABOUT SCOTT CROCKETT
Scott Crockett is the founder and CEO of Everest Business Funding. He is a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience in the finance industry. Mr. Crockett’s track record includes raising more than $250 million in capital and creating thousands of jobs. Scott has founded, built, and managed several finance companies in the consumer and commercial finance sectors.