How do you improve your small business, transforming it into a medium-sized business in the next ten years? By planning to make this happen. Without a vision, it will be business as usual until the day you sell your business.
Here are 4 suggestions to help you think bigger, much bigger:
Expand Your Market
If your small business manufactures parts for passenger vehicles or is an agribusiness, think of taking advantage of the reduced government barriers to export. Instead of simply selling to a regional or national market, think international because imminent NAFTA changes may protect your exports to Mexico or Canada from tariffs, making them duty-free.
Upgrade Your Technology
Technology is a force multiplier. It allows you to increase your effort to produce more work. Investing in technology means you’ll get more work done with the same effort.
Your small business must have the following technology tools: security software to protect your business against online fraud; mobile technology to empower you and your employees to communicate from anywhere; a Wi-Fi router to improve document sharing and printing, a local area network for Internet-based work; laptops to allow you to continue to work when you leave the office; and closed-circuit television cameras to deter theft.
Train Your Employees
According to Employee Training is Worth the Investment, an article in Go2HR, about 40 percent of employees who don’t get job training leave within the first year, citing lack of training for moving on to other jobs.
Such a large employee turnover is expensive. Losing almost half of your employees every year is a high cost to pay. It negatively impacts productivity, sales, and morale. You may also have to pay staff overtime and spend precious time and money screening, interviewing, and hiring applicants.
If your business requires knowledge workers but you hope that they will figure everything out on their own, then your business probably has a high turnover rate.
It’s hard to build a thriving business if a large percentage of your workers disappear every year. Business is hard enough without adding artificial problems. The best way to avoid paying the high cost of employee turnover is to provide in-house training.
On-the-job-training fits your business needs, creates happier and more loyal staff, builds a pool of talented people, attracts new candidates when you need to hire, and cross-trains your workforce.
Monitor Industry Trends
Your business functions as part of a larger ecosystem of consumer needs and industry changes. By monitoring industry trends, unsettling changes won’t take you by surprise. For instance, many jobs that have changed little after the industrial revolution may transform once Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes predominant
On the bright side, trends also signal opportunity. As Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold pointed out in Clicking, their landmark book on social and consumer trends, “Trends are the long-lived forces that are shaping our society and will shape our future.”
Popcorn and Marigold consider trends such an essential element in business success that they have created a company called BrainReserve to inform forward-thinking entrepreneurs about the latest cultural trends.
Using trends as a barometer to get a reading on current events can help your small business gauge the trajectory of the future. Trends trickle into every aspect of society, affecting even small businesses in ancillary industries. Use your awareness of emerging trends to manufacture or retail high demand products.
All things considered, it’s wise to regard your successful business as an acorn. If you nurture it with visionary thinking based on improving market reach, technological upgrades, ongoing employee training, and trend monitoring, it has the potential to grow into an oak tree.