We know it’s impossible to keep up with all of the news in the local business space. That’s why we’ve cherry-picked the articles from this week that matter most for business owners like you.
[Growth] 11 Quick Tips for Small Business Growth
Source: Business 2 Community
You've successfully sailed the treacherous waters of a startup's first stages and your small business is still standing. Congratulations! Now you'll have to scale your business in order to continue its natural progression and continue to make a profit.
Growing your business won't be easy, but use these 11 steps to help your SMB reach the next level:
- Form an alliance. Team up with another business that has similar values to your company, but has a whole new audience of people to see your product or service.
- Sell something new. The oldest trick in the book: diversification. If you feel like your business has plateaued, reach into your bag of tricks and find a new product or service to sell. It could be totally separate, or...
- Create add-ons for your current customers. If you don't think you have the bandwith or cash-flow to create a whole new product, create something that becomes necessary for anyone who already uses your core product/service. Think of it as the french fries to your burger!
- Create a digital product. Spend some time writing a white paper, guide or e-book on the expertise you've gathered in your industry. Add it to your website, use a gate to capture email addresses, and generate some leads for your company.
- Get back to the basics. Sometimes you get so caught up in advancing your product, you forget about small business 101 — make sure your customer service is on-point and delivering the most satisfaction to customers out of any and all competitors.
- Ask for the order. Don't be afraid to ask for the order: "Can we set something up with you today?" It's a simple question that people can miss if they get gun-shy.
- Get publicity. Post news to your blog and social media channels, and send something to local news if it's worthy. Get your name out there!
- Host a charity event. Events can be very helpful for your organization's fundraising program. A charity event can increase awareness of your company, bring like-minded people to your attention, garner positive press...and of course, it's a great thing to do.
- Sponsor a local school's sports team. Kids have parents with spending power — make a great impression on them by showing them how you give back to the community.
- Teach a class. The same expertise you used to write an e-book should be used to teach others. Become a local expert and create a buzz around your name and your product.
- Under promise, over deliver. If there's one sure-fire thing to keep customers not only coming back, but telling their friends about your service/product, it's when your company consistently delivers high-quality service and exceeds expectations.
Why It Matters: The goal of any startup or small business is to eventually scale. Once you think your business is ready for the next step, don't wait! Act fast, but make sure you're making smart decisions that don't overextend yourself, your staff, or your product/service.
[Funding] 10 Tips to Get the Money You Need for Your Startup
Source: Built in Chicago
Maybe your company is ready to scale, but you don't have the capital necessary to make the move. That's were raising funds comes into play. Most small business fail because they run out of money or because there's no market-need for their service/product. If your product is good, people will want it — make sure you don't go broke along your road to success!
Use these 10 tips to help raise money for your startup:
- Be coachable. Investors like entrepreneurs who are coachable — listen, take notes, and then execute.
- Be able to sell. This isn't only about company sales. If you have an awesome management team, it means you were able to sell your product/service to a group of talented professionals. That makes a difference to investors.
- Attack a realistic problem. Narrow your vision and execute. Stop trying to save the world — investors want your mission to be precise.
- Share a comprehensive business plan. This may be the most important thing of all: develop a comprehensive business plan that can show investors where you've been, where you are, where you're going, and how you plan on getting there (with their help).
- Give yourself enough runway. Be fiscally responsible — use your resources to open up several lines of credit to give yourself leeway.
- Be open to convertible debt. It's OK for the investor to ask for terms that are more beneficial to them. You aren't trying to make money, you're trying to grow your business — they're there to help!
- Seek advisors. Lasting connections with industry-specific experts/advisors can result in investment. Like they say, "If you want money, ask for advice."
- Supplement angel investing with crowdfunding. Investors aren't the only way to raise money, although they are the best way to raise money in large chunks. Supplement the heaps of money they're going to give you through a national crowdfunding platform.
- Find one or more co-founders. Do you want to be rich, or do you want to be a king? The point of business is to take money. Swallow your pride, take a smaller slice of the pie, and get people on board that can help you build and run your business better.
- Study first. Don't wait to study the market, your business, and your financial resources. This should be a constant for your business — make it a priority if you plan on raising money down the line.
Why It Matters: The overwhelming majority of startups fail. Many fail because they run out of money or don't have proper people surrounding them to make the right business decisions. Raising money through an investor is a good way to kill two birds with one stone — raise the money, and find someone who believes in you and will help you scale.
[Networking] 5 Practical Tips to Build a Better Network
Source: Business 2 Community
You have a great product and a great team, but your business doesn't seem to be taking off. Oftentimes, a strong network can alleviate that problem. And it's not only about your LinkedIn and Facebook network — you're likely going to have to do the nitty-gritty work it takes to extend your presence.
Here are five tips to help you build a better network:
- Attend events across industries.
- Share your story and listen to theirs.
- Reinforce an offline connection, and vice versa.
- Always be prepared.
- Always set up "next steps."
Why It Matters: It's not always about what you know or what you have, it's about who you know. Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities, take the time to speak with other like-minded professionals, and make sure your LinkedIn page is up-to-date. One person could make the difference between your business succeeding or failing.
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