Let Your Small Business Thrive With Smart Financial Planning – So you have a business and business is good. Now how do we get better? The best companies are always looking for ways to improve by offering better products or implementing more efficient processes. Here’s how you can take your business to the next level.

You always have to find ways to improve your business, but there is such a thing as growing too fast or too fast. American Apparel, for example, opened nearly 300 stores in its first six years, but fell into serious debt, filed for bankruptcy and closed stores, becoming an online-only retailer. Are there any lessons here? Before investing too much time, energy, and other resources into your business, make sure it’s the right time to grow. Here are some signs.

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If your market or industry is ripe for growth, it may be time to grow your business. According to a report by financial services firm Fundera, some of the fastest-growing industries in America today are real estate, hospitality and retail. Jim Patterson, editor-in-chief of the Kiplinger Letter, shares other industries expected to grow over the next five years, including cannabis, online grocery delivery and healthcare.

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Make sure you are ready to grow financially. You need to have a steady stream of revenue and a stream of new customers before you take any significant action. “The ever-growing number of people who want to be customers means there’s a demand,” said Paco de Leon of The Hell Yeah Group, a finance firm for creative entrepreneurs. “And solid profits mean we can have sustainable growth, and we don’t put the cart ahead of the horse.”

If you have more business than you can handle, it may be time to grow. Of course, a sudden sale doesn’t necessarily mean high demand, it could just be a coincidence. So make sure there is consistently more demand than you can supply. Do they want other products you can offer? Interview customers. We conduct surveys on satisfaction, interest in new products and general feedback about your company. It then looks for patterns in the response it receives. This is a good sign if your customers want more products, faster shipping or extra services.

Perhaps the surest way to grow your business is to acquire more customers. And whether your customers are consumers or other businesses, there are several strategic ways to achieve this.

“To understand what people really want, you have to figure out what their real challenges are,” said Ramit Sethi, New York Times bestselling author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich and founder of Growth Lab. A company that helps entrepreneurs build and grow online businesses. Find out why current customers want to buy your product. This will help you pinpoint what you’re doing right and which marketing strategies might be wasting your time. Mr. Sethi interviews tens of thousands of clients who are also business owners to find their pain points and advise them to do the same. He asks questions like:

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If your company serves other businesses (referred to as B2B), ask about your business and revenue goals. These interviews can be conducted by phone or email. Choose from a variety of clients, such as those you keep in touch with all the time and those who only use your company occasionally. Either way, the interview process can help you figure out what works in your marketing and what doesn’t.

Many entrepreneurs believe that their initial success comes from copying a competitor’s business model. But to grow your business, you need to differentiate it and find your unique brand identity. Customer interviews can also be useful in this case.

Try it: Create an avatar for your target audience. Write a brief biography of who they are before and after purchasing a product or using the company. You may have done this when you first started out, but it’s important to update this avatar as your business expands.

Affiliate marketing involves selling a product or service through a third party. This can be especially useful for B2B companies that can leverage their existing customers to share their products with them. Enlisting the help of like-minded businesses, bloggers or influencers is a smart way to promote and increase your reach. (You’ll want to make sure you’re not a direct competitor, of course.) You can try reaching out to potential affiliates, but make sure you have an affiliate marketing process in place to track link clicks and purchases. Tools like ClickBank and Rakuten can help you get started.

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Even if you don’t have an online business, expanding online brand awareness is important to making your products more visible, especially if your products are sold directly to consumers. Some strategies you can consider:

There is no shortage of quick marketing “hacks” to play with. Split testing, also known as A/B testing, helps you test these strategies to see what works best for you. For example, you could test how effective a green “Buy Now” button is at attracting customers to your site compared to a yellow button. Here are a few other things you can split your tests into:

Chances are, the marketing tools your business already uses present an opportunity to split testing. HubSpot, ConvertKit and Google Ads offer this option. Play around and see what works.

The speed of your business operations has a significant impact on your bottom line. “Speed ​​is the most important thing for a startup,” said Patrick Beth-David, former financial consultant and current CEO. Insurance Agency PHP Agency, Inc.

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“The faster you move, the faster you can grow your business,” he said. There are four operating speeds to consider.

Business velocity is how quickly the core day-to-day functions of a business are completed. “The more support we get, the faster we can get up and running,” said Beth-David. Generally, the bigger the team, the faster it goes.

Example: You sell physical products on Etsy and do everything related to the business yourself. Create products, manage social media, ship everything, and respond to customer feedback. You can hire assistants to ship your products and manage social media, and now your business is running much faster.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean hiring people. For example, if your Wi-Fi is very slow, switching ISPs can greatly improve your speed.

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Throughput is the time it takes for your product to reach your customers. “In real estate, it would go from ‘I want to buy a house’ to how long it would take to actually close a house,” said Beth-David.

Example: You have a financial consulting firm. When you acquire a new client, you spend days exchanging emails to schedule a consultation call. Eliminate the front and back with an online planner like Calendy or Square. Clients can now book a session at a time.

To speed this up, focus on efficiency. Make a list of all sales-related activities in your company and see if there are any that can be removed or combined. Check out tools like Zapier, Hootsuite, and Hubspot that speed things up by automating basic business tasks. For example, if you spend too much time processing customer returns, a tool like Returnly can help you automate and speed up the process. Or, your invoicing system may require additional steps that you can omit to speed up the process.

Timing speed means the right time to grow your business. It involves being sensitive to looking for opportunities and taking a step back in order to take a few steps forward. Beth-David said she was more difficult to plan. “Intuitive people are good at it.”

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Yes. When gasoline prices increased in 2005, Mitsubishi used the timing to offer new customers a year of free gasoline issued on a prepaid debit card. Overall, this incentive cost was negligible, but sales increased by 7.2%, Heinz Marketing reported. Even better, brand awareness has improved.

Focus on your options and positioning to speed up your timing. Find out what problems your customers may be facing right now and opportunities to address those problems. If you are planning to launch a marketing campaign for your product, consider the best time to do so.

Scaling velocity is knowing the next move your business needs to make and when that move is needed. But curb your ambitions, warned Mr Bet-David. “Companies that grow too fast are worse than those that grow too slowly.” the expansion rate is

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