So, you’ve been building a strong foundation for your company and now you’re ready for the next step: growth. This is an exciting prospect, but also a tricky one — if you expand too quickly or haphazardly, it could be a detriment to your business. To avoid these growing pains, here are some ideas for smart, successful expansion.
1. Focus on what sets you apart.
Why did you start your business? If you saw a need in your community that wasn’t being filled, whether through a product or a service, you need to capitalize on that. Show your customers why they’re better off with you and not one of your competitors. Concentrate on building your brand and a strong reputation through excellent customer service, positive social media reviews, and more.
2. Refine your email marketing strategy.
Don’t be a company whose email just takes up space in customers’ inboxes (or worse, spam folders). Step up your email game with targeted messages. In other words, don’t send the same message to everyone on your mailing list. Instead, use Square’s email marketing software to send different messages to different groups, like those who have purchased something in the last month and those who haven’t been in for six months or more. And make your email worth opening by always including a special offer to entice customers to come in or visit your website.
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3. Engage your social media community.
Once you’ve built up your community of followers, it’s time to mobilize them. Interact with your audience! Ask them questions, invite them to tag their friends, or offer them discounts or gifts available only to social media followers. If your followers know that you release exclusive content on online offers, they’ll be more likely to engage with you — and to tell their friends. Investing in your social media presence can take your business to the next level, especially if you have a limited advertising and marketing budget.
4. Focus on training.
When you expand too quickly (read our post on how to tell whether you’re ready to expand), you can be so desperate to staff up that comprehensive training falls through the cracks. To prevent this from happening, create a training manual and appoint a designated trainer for orienting new employees. That way, you can be certain that all new hires are trained to provide the same high level of service as your original employees.
5. Streamline operations.
Inefficiency is the enemy when you’re trying to grow your business, and it’s often lurking in your administrative tasks. Whether you’re dealing with a bunch of disparate software systems or still relying on paper, there is a better way. Square’s POS has tools to help you handle everything from sales reports to payroll in one place, and you can access it from anywhere. It can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on tedious tasks (some businesses tell us using Square’s tools have helped them cut administrative time in half), so you can reinvest those extra hours into growing your business. Maybe you’ll even be able to finally take a vacation.
6. Don’t lose sight of your mission.
When you grow too quickly, it’s easy to get distracted by what’s next and forget to concentrate on what’s happening right now, or why you got started in the first place. With each new decision, whether it’s to add a service or open a new location, ask yourself if you’re maintaining the same level of quality or staying true to your mission. Growth is important, but don’t do it so quickly or carelessly that you sacrifice your longevity. Read some sage pieces of advice from Philz Coffee about how it stayed true to its core values through its rapid expansion.