As 2014 comes to a close and a new year starts, it’s a good time to reflect on what have you learned in 2014 and how you’ll drive future growth. What business challenges did you face and which ones did you overcome? What do you want to accomplish in 2015?
If you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions, growing your business is likely one of them. So, here’s a look at six areas you can shore-up for future success.
Sales, sales, sales!
This may seem obvious, but many entrepreneurs forget what sales activities are actually about and aren’t strategically thinking about how to improve them. Depending on your stage of business, you should be spending a large part of your day on sales-generating activities around 50 percent and maybe a little less if you are an established business. You might think: “I am way too busy to spend 50 percent of my day on one single thing.” But if sales aren’t growing you’re likely working much harder at other areas that could benefit from more cash flow.
Diversifying is an excellent opportunity to grow your business. Creating new products, entering new markets, alliances, carrying new product lines, offering complimentary services, and more will provide new streams of income. Most importantly, diversification can buffer you from market changes that could negatively impact your bottom-line. Be aware that with diversification, you may serve different end customers and require new expertise and partnerships.
Global expansion is a great way to grow your business, especially if you own an online business this is easier than you may expect. Prime your product for an international market. By operating in multiple countries, you can get a competitive advantage on competitors that don’t yet serve these markets and you help developing countries achieve economic growth by increasing jobs and sales. But don’t simply copy and paste your domestic strategy into a new market. Conduct thorough market research before entering a new market.
License your product.
A great way to diversify, as discussed in Tip 2, is to license your product. Licensing your product is a low-cost way to grow your business, especially if the licensee is a well-known brand or the company distributes to large retailers, like Walmart. In this way, you can receive royalties from the sale of your invention or software. Moreover, it is less risky and costly than starting a business and trying to build your own marketing channels. However, the downside is it takes a lot of effort before you draft an agreement with your licensee and you will lose most, or even all of, control of your invention.
Grow online visibility.
One of the most affordable and effective marketing distribution channels for small businesses is via the Internet. Nowadays, most small businesses understand the vital importance of having a company website. However, being present on the World Wide Web is one thing, but are you visible? How easily can prospective customers find you on the Web? To become more visible and drive more traffic focus on launching online marketing campaigns and tactics. For example, you can look to search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, pay-per-click advertising and more.
Get back to basics.
Know precisely what you want, how you want it and why. By getting the fundamentals right, you are a step ahead of the game. Create a checklist across all operational areas of your business that lists the basic building blocks that are needed.
Take time to look back and see how far you’ve come and look ahead to see how far you can grow.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Daisy de Vries is the Content Manager at Equidam, an online value management tool for small businesses. Her passions are startups, writing and technologies. Keep investors up-to-date in a consistent and efficient way with the Equidam valuation report. The report gives a clear overview of the performance of your company and enables you and your capital providers to understand and manage the value of your business. Connect with @equidamtweets on Twitter.
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