Six ways to help your business grow
Like a young child or a plant grown from a seedling, any expanding business needs a little nurturing to help it reach its full potential – but what are the best ways of making sure your company achieves all that it can?
Here are six of the best ways to carry your company towards a brighter future, regardless of the prevailing conditions in your industry at the time.
1. Learn to Negotiate
Perhaps the most important business skill of them all is the ability to negotiate – anyone who's watched Dragons' Den knows that negotiation begins from the moment you walk into the room, so it's important to know what you're doing.
Specialist training providers like The Gap Partnership can teach you the basics, and from there it's a matter of getting some practical experience.
Remember, nobody 'wins' every negotiation they enter into, and it's important in business to be pragmatic about knock-backs, but it's also a good idea to try and improve your strike rate over time.
You can't force innovation, but you can welcome it when it arrives at your door. Keep an open mind and look out for new opportunities – even if they're not in the direction you expected your business to go.
The most successful businesspeople of all are those who don't miss the chance to make some quick and easy profit, and while it can be a bit risky to enter new markets if you're not familiar with them, the returns on investment can be substantial.
3. Marketing, Advertising, Promotion
Together marketing, advertising and promotion are your road map to success, so make sure you know the similarities and differences between the three.
Marketing is often about brand-building and improving perceptions of your product; advertising, at its core, is simply about raising people's awareness that you actually exist; and promotion incentivises people to make a purchase, often through special offers and discounts.
4. Know Your Market
Research can help you to understand the potential size of your market, and how best to advertise to your target demographic.
Particularly if you're entering a new sector or segment, make sure you've done your background research so that you can plan a logical and consistent way of promoting your product or service.
5. Healthy Competition
Identify your rivals – whether they're local, or major international brands – and you can begin to compete.
Depending on your own size, decide whether to work towards the unfilled niches in your market, or to take a fangs-bared approach to tackling your opposition, but be prepared for the backlash if you opt for an aggressive route forwards.
6. Watch the Profits
Business should not be a labour of love; it's about making money, at the end of the day.
Whatever you do to help your business grow, make sure you've got one eye on the profits, and if it's not working, pull the plug before you lose your money.
There's a reason why they call it 'the bottom line' – revenues, profits and cashflow in general should underpin everything you do, and if you can manage to keep them at the forefront of your activities, growth should follow naturally.