This is a guest post by Patricia Forrest. Patricia is passionate about numbers. She has an accounting degree and has made its way in the business world being now part of the Corporation USA where its passion lives daily. All opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitbond.
In a fast-growing, digitally-enhanced world, any business has to build a certain edge to not only survive but thrive. However, at the very beginning of your professional ventures, you need to think of frugal, yet effective strategies to make the most of your initial investments and kick-start your growth.
There are numerous options worth exploring before you discover the few selected methods that will best suit your business, and there are those that any startup can benefit from, no matter your niche. Let’s look at a few clever ways of boosting your professional growth with minimal financial investments.
1 – Keep Track of your Finances
Especially from day one, monitoring your expenditures and income will help you plug those almost inevitable drains on your business that seem to come out of nowhere. If you take control of your business’ accounting from the very start, you will have a much better chance of saving the money that would otherwise find its way out of your pocket.
Every behavior in business has its price – placing employment ads, hiring and firing employees too frequently, problems with contracts, and poor customer service are just some on the list. While they seem harmless or even sensible when singled out, if you put them all together, you’ll realize that they can cost you much more than their actual value.
2 – Encourage Flexible Problem-solving
Even if you hire top-of-the-class experts and eager learners, if your company culture doesn’t promote fresh thinking and self-driven searching for different solutions, your business could be handling certain issues in an ineffective manner, which in real life causes financial losses.
Instead, try encouraging your colleagues and employees to suggest different approaches in solving problems, realizing projects and creating powerful pitches. Creating this positive mindset costs nothing, yet delivers incredible results. You never know where the next revolutionizing idea may come from, and it might just be around the corner if you allow for a learning curve among your staff.
3 – Delegate Wisely to grow your business
How much of your daily workload actually yields in financial gain? Once you figure out the detailed answer to this question and break down your day into your chores and responsibilities, you can decide which portions of your daily grind can be assigned to someone else on the team, while you focus on making money.
Sometimes all it takes is the right person to support you, and your primary role in the company will allow you to grow much faster, instead of wasting time (and thus, money) on tasks that your assistant or manager could handle with ease.
4 – Use the Power of Social Media
Creating an appealing, authentic voice via various social media platforms is of utmost importance especially when you are just starting a business, even if you completely leave out the option of paid ads and other costly solutions. Your social media presence can account for a significant percentage of your engagement with your target audience.
If you build a strong emotional bond with your future clients and customers via social media, you will be able to rely on your brand’s voice to reach a certain number of people on a personal level and maintain a pool of loyal customers which will ensure a profit. It comes down to the right images, language, genuine interest and sparking communication that outlast a single post or a tweet.
In fact, your followers will serve as a tool to connect with other potential buyers, as over 70% of satisfied individuals will be happy to recommend your service or product to their family and friends. Not only is this a priceless investment in terms of time and effort, but also an invaluable way of reaching the right people without spending on advertising.
5 – Don’t Follow the Herd
As tempting as it is to follow in the footsteps of your previously established competitors who are doing well, if you wish to do great, you will need to think and act outside of the proverbial box. This includes the already established, tried and tested ways of your like-minded businesses because even if you slightly build on their ideas, you will see little progress.
The greatest, most successful companies in the world have had the courage to take a leap of faith in something never tried before. But even before that leap, they had to stop thinking in the same patterns, which required absolutely no money spent, but a hell of a lot of patience, effort, and creative output. So sharpen your thinking, let go of the norm, and you might be on the verge of a breakthrough.
6 – Refine your Customer Communication
Just as each client is unique, so are your tailored scripts to communicate with them. But are they? What are you doing right now to tweak, improve and alter your current client relationship regarding calls, emails, newsletters, promotions, and on the spot communication?
If you are stuck to your original script, then a whole population of interested parties might, in fact, lose their interest as a result of a poorly-crafted approach. However, if you start listening to your customers and train your employees to do the same, you can learn what they need and present your case in a much more appealing, yet pure form that will boost your business reputation as well as your bank account.
7 – Track and Measure
Unlike the sizeable businesses that have already established a successful marketing path to the hearts of their preferred customer base, your start-up business needs to pay special care of every step of its newly formed customer journey, as well as the track record of each marketing effort.
No small business can operate on general assumptions, so every percent of your audience reaction and every cent of profit earned matters. With so many free analytics tools such as Google Analytics, you can start with a few measurable ways to increase your business’s effectiveness, without spending too much until you start seeing enough ROI to opt for a tool that costs.
8 – Build your Connection Base
In addition to various networking opportunities in your local community, you can take part in charity events, host or co-host an event yourself, attend conferences, host lectures, and other educational seminars, thus offering your customer base plenty of “free” valuables, without investing a staggering amount of money.
One-on-one communication can lead to partnerships, new suppliers, customers, and affirm your status in the business community while maintaining a live, open line of communication. Making new connections is perhaps the single most important element of any new business, so don’t shy away from making a presence at as many events as possible.
The Word Wide Web, on the other hand, offers a constant source of virtual mingling, and it allows for a whole plethora of ingenious ways to stay in touch with your customers, spark their interest and spur a conversation. Liking, sharing, posting, inviting to share their experiences and opinions, as well as being open to reviews and suggestions can help your business skyrocket like no financial investment could.
9 – Train and Grow
A good internal exchange of knowledge and experience can lead to a significant increase in efficiency. These training sessions can take place during work hours or as a team-building activity outside of work, but they should serve as opportunities to expand your point of view and those of your colleagues because when you invest in understanding your staff as with your customers, you have a chance to utilize your collective expertise.
Perhaps your sales team knows a clever way of mastering your body language that would be very handy to you during the next networking event, or you could share your experience regarding time management so that your employees can complete their tasks faster, leaving more time to tackle more important issues.
10 – Form Partnerships
A competitive market often seems impenetrable for a newcomer, despite all the marketing and communication efforts. But even in a perfect world where there’s room for everyone’s service or product, finding a reliable ally can only help your business grow.
For instance, if you sell cupcakes, you can offer your product to a few local hotels, making you an exclusive brand present in a few, carefully selected premium locations, all the while improving their menu with your delicious product. They can, of course, expect a certain percentage of profits, but that depends on your alliance and business structure.
However, putting your name alongside established professionals in a complementary field cannot harm their operation, while it simultaneously offers an edge to your business and access to an entirely new customer base.
To Sum up | This is how you grow your business
Depending on how your business is set up and what your short and long-term goals are, you can utilize numerous strategies and refine them along the way to create a strong presence in the market and build a solid foundation for your business.
Some of the most powerful methods require little to no financial investment, so make the most of your creative spirit with the help of these invaluable strategies and let your business bloom!
Images (free license with attribution)
1.- http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/financial-flowchart_1048733.htm (track finances)