Entrepreneurship is currently at all-time high, especially in the retail industry, where startup businesses are cropping up every day. The stage is set for growth with more options for business funding now available that can encourage business owners to take the plunge. In addition, it has now become easy to access resources and technology that has become affordable even for small businesses. Cloud-based business solutions are now within the reach of small business owners. Assuming that your business has taken off well and you have got past the startup experience and have enjoyed a build up to give it stability, it is time now to enter into the growth phase.
What are some great ways of fostering growth? It is time once again to go back to the drawing board and engage in a series of discussions and brainstorming, gathering information from various sources especially the internet, undertaking benchmarking exercises just to ascertain the possibilities that can be tapped to make the business grow. But first and foremost, take a stock of your business standing very objectively to underline its strengths and weaknesses because you have to scan through the opportunities that are identified and pick the ones that go best with your abilities to manage the change that is going to happen.
Become the visionary
As a small business owner, it might happen that you have to handle multiple responsibilities. You may get so tied up in the business process to keep it running that there is hardly any time for you to think about growth. This is a situation that has to be avoided. You have to organize your business in a way so that as an owner, you are able to do justice to your role of driving the business and not merely running it on a day to day basis. Position yourself in a way that enables you to extend your vision beyond what is happening on the ground to see the bigger picture.
Have a web presence
It may sound a bit cliché, but has to be mentioned nevertheless – even if you are running a brick and mortar store, it is mandatory to have your presence on the Internet. Having a mobile-friendly website and using it for promoting your business is the way things happen today and you should not be left behind. Use the advantages of internet marketing and let your business be found on the web by the search engines as it is the most used avenue for customers to locate products, services and stores. Nearly 80 percent traffic is generated by the search engines and this is the most economical growth engine that has become indispensable for small business.
The way technology has infiltrated into business, it is essential to have some knowledge about technological applications that can be put to use in making your business grow. Knowing about how technology works and how it can help to streamline and control your business processes better will give you the advantage of using the most appropriate technology that adds value to business. Technology has become much more affordable, and engaging a technology provider is also easy. But make it a point that the technology provider should work with you as a partner and not merely as a consultant or a seller of products.
Explore social media channels
The endless opportunities for getting closer to customers by using social media channels should be explored to the hilt. Make your marketing efforts more fruitful by capitalizing on the digital channels that empower you to extend your marketing network to the maximum. Make a perfect brew of commerce and content and win over customers with confidence to create new markets.
Think of diversification
This is different from simply adding more products to your inventory. Analyze the core products and its users to work out allied products that are similar but not the same. The products that you select can become supplementary to the main products that you offer and should be in conformity with your philosophy of product selection. This step should be taken when you have a firm footing with a loyal customer base. You are able to get more penetration into the market with the new line of products to widen your exposure to target audience.
Look for alliance
For quick expansion, look for alliances with a similar type of businesses. It is not a partnership or an invitation for direct participation but more of a reciprocal arrangement for marketing the products mutually. The alliance has to be made for products that have some common interface with the primary products that you sell and it should also be interesting for the other company that you choose to work with. The new products give more market exposure to both parties and augurs growth.
Expand your market
The market does not end with the customer or consumer but can be extended to places that are frequented by your target audience. With an eye on the places where your target audience moves about, you can think about reaching out to those places to capture new customers. Whether it is the young age group or the elderly that form your target audience be innovative to track their behavior and land up at places where they may be found which could become your new marketplace.
These are some of the useful tips that you can consider when planning the future of your small retail business. Later, The Scope Weekly‘s PART 2 of this guide will delve deeper. In the upcoming article, we will talk about the popular trends in the retail industry. Make sure to read it.
Source: National Retail Association