Small Business Ideas to Accelerate Growth

Our definitive list of tips and tricks to accelerate small business growth and maximise your potential.

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Running a small business isn't easy. With so much responsibility to ensure continued survival, it's important to take a step back and seek advice and guidance before moving forward. Here's our list of definitive tips and tricks to accelerate small business growth and maximize your potential.

1. Plan your business strategy

This may seem pretty straight forward, but we all have to start with a plan. Revisit your original business plan and work out what stage of it you are at. Are you at the existence stage or the survival stage? Are you ready to continue expanding, or do you need more investment? Do you have clear core values? Indeed offers some great business strategy examples which act as a great prompt before moving forward.

2. Question every aspect of motivation

Loving what you do is one thing, but making it economically viable is another. Some people get into business and successfully channel their passion into a business. Just look at our coffee provider, Jones Brothers Coffee. Using their passion for coffee, they have built a business that revolves around their passion for the entire chain, not just the final product. In its simplest terms, find a balance between passion and business that works for you. Don't try to force a hobby into a fully fledged business if it isn't economically viable — otherwise you'll face unnecessary risk.

3. Assess your current standing

Find out where your business is currently. Look at what strengths you have. Find your business's weakness. Check resource levels, go over your break-even charts, financial forecasts and work out your capacity regarding staff. If you don't know what SWOT analysis is, it's 100% worth researching this aspect of business strategy before moving ahead.
A few questions you may want to consider when assessing the potential for growth in your business is:

  • Do I need more staff
  • Is my USP (unique selling point) clear and communicated effectively?
  • What market share do I hold, if any?
  • Where are my competitors placed?

At this point, you could be feeling pretty overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks ahead of you, especially if you are a sole trader or have a small team. Don’t despair, we have some advice to help your business through this.

4. Take a break

A major failure of businesses and entrepreneurs can be the relentless mind. The constant push to keep going. Take a break. After figuring out where your business currently stands, walk away from this issue and gain some space from it all. Approaching the next steps of your business plan is better done with a clear head.

5. Reassess and prioritise

Upon returning to your previous audit of where your business currently stands, you should be in a good position to reassess and prioritise where your energy should go. Jump into resource allocation and ensuring you have adequate measurement procedures in place to track data as you progress.

6. Research competitors to find openings.

A source of inspiration and motivation can actually come from spending time with your competitors. I don’t just mean go to their website and scroll through their landing pages. Dedicate time to dissect their strategy, price points and aesthetic. Visit their premises in person where possible and get to know them from a customer perspective. What is their booking system like? Do they offer customer service? What guarantees do they make? The more you know about how they work, the easier it is for you to find an opening where you can offer something better.
If you want more information on competitor research, check out the Big Commerce guide with free template or the Business News Daily article on the subject.

7. Collaborate and cooperate

Much like taking a break, a reset in any regard will always prove beneficial. Another way to achieve this all important reset is by opening yourself up to other industries, entrepreneurs and individuals especially with skills in different fields. Take a look at the CoffeeBreak app. This offers professionals an opportunity to meet new people who can offer insights, inspiration or just a general different take or attitude which could prove pivotal in your own company's growth. You may not have much experience in AI, but meeting someone who does may give you the key to harnessing this for your own business needs. Don’t close yourself off from thinking it’s you vs the world. Innovation often comes from collaboration and cooperation, so this is a significant aspect of growth to keep in mind when moving forward.

8. Consider expanding your team

You can’t do this all on your own, and a small team may be the very thing limiting your overall success and growth. But what do you do if costs are too high for hiring more employees?
There are a few things you can do to solve this problem. Our first advice, always try to work with people in person. Hire part-time staff if you can’t afford full time.
Secondly, you can always try to find remote staff who can work on an ad hoc basis.
Thirdly, approach freelancers and then consider outsourcing where possible and economically practical. Sites like Upwork and Fiver are perfect places to find one off experts for tricky technical jobs which require specific knowledge you may not want to hire full time staff.
Finally, you can always go back to your assessment and work out your profit projections. Do you stand to be able to cover the costs, especially if you decide to expand? This will be the main consideration when working out whether additional staff is essential.

8. Hire the best employees

This sounds extremely obvious, but it can save you headaches later down the line.
Headhunting by recruiters of top talent can boost a business in unimaginable ways.
Don’t overlook students, post or recent graduates as those with more recent knowledge in specialist subject matter will tend to have an edge over candidates who haven’t kept up to date with changing practices. Moreover, these candidates are often ready to learn and will grow with your business.
The best employees aren’t just people from top universities or those who can name-drop big companies. Positive, approachable, and sociable candidates can be even more essential, especially in client facing roles like hospitality, sales and customer service.

Now for a dose of technical ideas.

Unfortunately, in this day in age, it's pretty hard to avoid some level of IT jargon. Technology is the key to unlocking innovative and efficient mechanisms that accelerate growth.

9. Reliable CRM.

It is essential that small businesses invest in a reliable CRM system to increase productivity and communication with customers. A good CRM will be the first point of contact with customers but will also store any relevant information about them. This is imperative for staying on top of competitors and ensuring you can maximize your business potential.

10. Automation

Automation isn’t just for the tech giants. Nor is it just a concept worth a 5-minute meeting. If your business can integrate seriously successful automation, you’ll be well on your way to a streamlined success story. Not only will this enhance your customer experience, but it will save you time and hassle regarding data management and data input, ultimately freeing up resources which are arguably better spent on more important tasks. Automation is an entire subject in itself, so we suggest reading this article by Aaron Brooks from Venture Harbour on the top 10 small business automation tools. Completely lost by what to actually automate? Try reading this article by Smallbizdaily on the very subject.

Forgotten basics

11. Read to succeed!

There are tons of books out there to help you grow as a business. We've listed a few below for you to consider.

Keep in mind, audiobooks and podcasts can be used as a suitable alternative to books, which are increasingly seen as time-consuming for the busy business nomads constantly on the move! Try to find whatever medium that best suits you and your business to explore new information to help inspire your approach moving forward.

12. Don't just look for success stories.

It's very tempting to just look for success stories in business, and let's face it, they aren't exactly hard to come by. From Forbes to Bloomberg, we are surrounded by unprecedented business growth, expansion and expertise which can be overwhelming to say the least. However, looking at how other businesses have failed may just give you an edge when avoiding potential pitfalls and problems. The closer to your industry the better you can learn from mistakes of others, but realistically most business flops you provide you with lessons. This is a bit macabre, but if it just demonstrates one overlooked issue in your own business, then it's more than worth the effort and research.

Investment

Seeking investment can be an entrepreneur's ticket to unlocking the full potential of a well-founded small business idea. But where can you find investment for your business?

This is all dependent on where your business is based. Start by checking with your local and national government, many offer grants, loans and capital for small businesses especially in certain sectors. We have listed some options below for your convenience.

13. Small investment networks.

Here in the Netherlands there are groups of Small Business Investors. Angelinvestmentnetwork is a good example of this, helping young entrepreneurs! They highlight how small grants and loans from the government can be hard to obtain, therefore they act as an alternative.

14. Don't overlook Free investment.

Remember, FREE investment can be found via crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, Patreon, GoFundMe, Indiegogo and more. Investopedia highlights a list of the best crowdfunding platforms of 2021, so do your research and find a route that suits you.

Now more than ever businesses can get off the ground and running without the need for mainstream investment.

15. Investment can be a pricey process.

Seeking investment can be an entrepreneur's ticket to unlocking the full potential of a well-founded small business idea. So if you are seeking serious investment, you need to use resources into creating the perfect pitch. Create the highest quality presentations, possible that showcase your businesses successes in an inspiring moving or creative way. Sometimes the best of stories can sell themselves, so consider your businesses narrative and how this fits into the business needs of your customer.

We hope the advice above helps you take your business to the next level! Never miss a trick by making sure you follow and like our Facebook and Instagram. For more of our articles on increasing productivity, visit our community page to learn more!

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