Running a small business is a stressful job at the best of times but in 2016, small business owners are having to navigate the treacherous waters brought about by a rapidly changing and ultra-competitive market.
A Westpac report published recently found trading conditions for Australian SMEs collapsed 14.4% over the second quarter this year.
Growing your business in such a climate can seem daunting, a move with more risks than rewards. While small business owners may have the power to run their own show, they also shoulder all the burden – and there’s no four-week annual leave policy.
It’s not all doom and gloom though.
The report also found there is still room for prosperity for savvy SMEs. The survey revealed small businesses currently experiencing growth were more likely to be using a sales and technology focus than businesses using more traditional methods.
Here’s five simple yet innovative growth-hacks to propel your business without running the risk of adding any additional sleepless nights.
- Embrace technology before it’s too late
Industry leaders are predicting that technology will revive small business. Enterprise technology is no longer restricted to large corporations as custom software and tech becomes cheaper and more accessible to the smaller end of town. Examples of accessible software that are increasingly handy for smaller businesses include POS systems, CRM software and HR management platforms. These kinds of technologies are giving SMBs the opportunity to reduce overheads and maximise growth.
- Make the most of the web and mobile technology
It’s now quicker and cheaper than ever before to take your business online and to create an online shopfront with the same bells and whistles as the big stores. There’s some great technology out there to help out small businesses use mobile technology. Some websites have pop-up notifications every few seconds showing up-to-minute purchases and help increase social media engagement and sharing of product information on your website.
On top of this, more and more buying decisions are made through mobile devices and SMBs should optimise their business to make sure it’s mobile friendly to capitalise on this growing trend.
- Keep your cash flowing with alternate lender
There are heaps of new deals online for a line of credit and larger secured loans. Alternate lenders are handy for SMEs because loans are approved quickly. Applications are also based on the health and current performance of your business. Alternate lenders aim to remove the hoops that SMEs often have to jump through to access funding from the major banks and can enable a business to grow at a much faster rate.
- Hop on social media
It’s free and if you can find a unique and targeted way of engaging customers, you will build your brand recognition fast. Hazem Sedda, the owner of a Redfern convenience store amassed thousands of Instagram followers by taking photos of his “customer of the day”, and treating his customers “like they’re family”.
Through targeted public engagement on social media, you have a cheap and valuable means of growing your business.
- Have a relationship with your customers
Hazem Sedda’s tactic of treating his customers “like they’re family” is another valuable way to grow your business. If you build valued relationships with your customers, not only will they return, but they will recommend it to others.
You don’t have to have personal relationships with all your customers to treat them like family though. There are a number of new technologies designed for smaller businesses to improve their customer relations.
About the author
David Brennan is the CEO and founder of Kikka Capital.