Authored By Diedre Barret – Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Guaranty Bank
When you started your business, maybe it was a side hustle. Or maybe you set out to fully establish your business from day one, but the ramp up time was slow and you needed another stable job to supplement your income. At first, you probably spent a couple of hours per week on the business and made a little bit of money to cover the costs. As time went on, you started to see that there was a way to make this a full-time job.
Now it is time to scale the business.
Maybe you need capital to increase production, employees to handle demand, marketing to reach the next level or capital to fulfill a big order.
Here are 6 topics to consider as you scale your business:
Ask your bank for additional services:
Your bank can be an invaluable resource for add-on services that help to make day-to-day business a bit easier. Services such as remote deposit, payroll services, company credit cards, integration with accounting software and many other services are offered by your bank at little to no cost. Each of these services can help you to save time or money to allow you focus on growing the business.
Look for the free (or low cost) money:
When people think of grants, they typically associate them with non-profits or student businesses. There are thousands of grants available to for-profit businesses each year. But, where do you find them? A great place to start is the local bookstore or library. There are books published each year that list all available grants and give a blueprint for how to write your application. You can also look to government entities, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Finally, you should seek information from your local government office on grants available in the area. You can also check with your bank to see if there are any funding options at low cost through government backed programs.
Use social media to tell your story:
Many people use social media to pitch their product, but few businesses do it with any strategy. The key to social media is consistency and supplying content that people will read. Here is a simple road map to follow when building a marketing plan around social media.
- Run a like/follow campaign to build your presence. Give away your product as a way to reach more people.
- Humanize your business. Tell stories each week about your employees; or your struggles; or your successes. People are interested in you just as much as the business.
- Get involved in the community and share your stories with your followers.
- Be consistent. Try to post once per week (or more) and use themes to help organize posts. Themes can include ideas like Product Mondays, Employee Wednesdays and Community Fridays.
Know your numbers:
Knowing your numbers can make your business grow much faster. If you were asked your sales from last month, would you know the answer? Let’s say you do know the answer and it is $50,000. From that $50,000, how much did the company make after all expenses were paid? These are fairly basic questions that a business owner should know each and every month. If you don’t know the numbers, how do you where to focus for growth?
Here are a few tips when looking at your numbers on a monthly basis:
- Quantify success and failure.
- Know exactly how much it costs to produce your product.
- Create value in order to get premium pricing and profitability.
- Know what it costs to run your business each month (overhead).
- Be aware of problems before they arise by looking at trends in costs and revenues.
Utilize SAS solutions to fill a void:
SAS (Software as a Service) and can be used to perform many different jobs to improve the efficiency of your business. Many SAS solutions are free for trial or basic versions and then have a monthly charge for a subscription to the service. According to idonethis.com, the average startup uses 17 SAS-based solutions on a monthly basis. As technology becomes faster and more intuitive, look to SAS as a way to optimize your business.
The #1 reason businesses fail:
The number 1 reason a business fails is not enough revenue has been generated to sustain the business. Another way to say this: you need to get out and SELL. Sales are the life blood of the business and in order to scale, you need the revenue and demand to support the increase in production. Think of alternative channels to sell your product such as strategic partnerships, co-ops, online, local, wholesale or white-label. Open up more sales channels and the revenue will follow.