Because small businesses have shoestring budgets, they lack all the privileges large businesses enjoy. Tilting the ground in their favor is incredibly difficult for them. It’s no surprise that 90 percent of startups fail.
Expert tips can help them lower the cost while keeping the quality of the work high and meeting deadlines. Here are some offbeat growth strategies for startups:
Small Business Growth Strategies
Working as Outsourcing Partner
Competition with large businesses is futile for a small business. Co-habitation, on the other hand, can drive growth. A small business can cohabit with a large business by becoming the latter’s outsourcing partner.
It’s a win-win situation for both. Large businesses have a compartmentalized work atmosphere. New departments are often set up for handling project-specific needs. Such departments are normally dissolved once the work is done. Meanwhile, people are hired and often laid off once a project is delivered.
Outsourcing saves a business from such complications. It is cost-efficient. Peter Hands of Capita, a UK based IT service provider explained how remote working can save up to 30 percent of cost. Such stats indicate growth opportunities that lie ahead for small enterprises in the outsourcing landscape.
Moving to Cloud
By reducing the operational cost, a business can increase its profit margin. Cloud is a great way to lower the operational cost.
Bringing the WiFi cost down is tough because setting up dedicated access points inside the office premises can be expensive. Cloud-based enterprise WiFi solutions are cost-effective and eliminate connection downtime owing to the absence of a single point of failure. The access point and the router running on the cloud makes it possible.
Top hosting platforms let small business owners remotely access servers and even desktops, thereby allowing them to run the business on the go. The mobility solution is the USP of this model.
Cloud based tools ease up collaboration. More than one person accessing files from remote locations adds agility. Cloud optimizes the mobile experience by virtualizing platforms and tools for the small-screen environment. Already, 37 percent of small enterprises in the US have moved to the cloud. Intuit’s study indicates more businesses will make headway into this avenue in the near future.
Project Management Apps
Managing projects is a pivotal aspect of running a business. Since manual project management is time and resource-consuming, small businesses are recommended to use project management tools. Here’s a list of project management apps that don’t burn a hole in the wallet.
The list is comprehensive. The tools in the list have diverse functionalities, thereby binding almost all aspects of project management. Using more than one tool is recommended because when used collectively, the tools can supplement each other’s functionality.
Imagine one tool pins on key data related to a project while another tool visually represents complicated data sets. Using both tools, a project manager can easily understand the intricate relationship between data.
Believe it or not, automation is changing the business vertical. For small businesses, automation is a window leading to a bevy of opportunities.
Automation has fully eclipsed project management. We’ve discussed that in the preceding paragraph. Project management aside, a small business has plenty of other crucial aspects such as:
- Multi-channel marketing
- Employee productivity and
- ROI calculation.
Automation can reduce the scope for manual work in all these areas. Take time-tracking for example. Apps like Toggl or RescueTime can track every minute that employees spend on websites or web-based applications.
ROI tracking apps come with an analytics dashboard, offering every minute detail and solving complex calculations. Marketing apps combine creativity with technicalities. Apps like Hootsuite can optimize your social media presence and give you access to a broad spectrum of audiences.
Put simply, automation saves you wads of cash and makes everything easy for you. Hence, small businesses need automation more than large businesses.
We mentioned multi-channel marketing in the preceding paragraph. The webinar is a new-found marketing channel that brands can harness. Hosting a trade show or a business summit is outrageously expensive. Hosting an online seminar, on the other hand, doesn’t make one even feel the bite.
Success in webinar marketing depends on:
- Realistic registration and attendee goals, and
- Offering giveaways to attendees.
The largest webinar was held by Hubspot, which registered 31,000 attendees. A small business cannot expect so many attendees. It has to have realistic expectations. Registration headcount and giveaways are interwoven. The attendees won’t register unless there’s a payoff for them. Downplaying the webinar opt-in page is a grave mistake. The page should have the must-have elements.
For a startup owner, a webinar is a platform allowing him or her to discuss problems faced by customers and assure them there’s a solution. He should be serious, or else the attendees would sense he’s doing everything to persuade them to buy from him. So all small business owners out there, assure customers that your product/service is the one-stop solution for their problems.
You must be wondering how failing can be a strategy. Let me reference the Product Hunt Singapore Meetup. The speakers at the Meetup explained with great details the benefits of deliberately letting a product fail.
What happens when you meet with failure?
You identify the shortcomings that led to failure. Because a small business is not ahead in the learning curve, facing the challenges lying ahead is hard for the business owner. Failure opens his eyes. Failure teaches him about the roadblocks to success. As the business owner internalizes the lessons, the odds of success escalate when he embarks on his next venture.
And despite the fact that the word “failure” adds a negative connotation, the strategy is safe because when you proactively minimize the risks, failure doesn’t put a dent in the wallet.
The importance of UGC is growing. For small-scale fashion and accessory brands, UGC does all the marketing. Fashion startups are lucky that customers are receptive to review them. But startups from various other industries are not so lucky.
Hence, they have to use automated review aggregators. Small businesses are in a greater need for positive UGC because data analytics has revealed customers, especially millennial customers, tend to ignore whether the average order value (AoV) is proportionate to the store size, but relate UGC to the brand experience.
Very simply put, UGC speaks for a brand’s reputation. Since reputation matters, small brands need to cultivate UGC. Customers no longer value a product or a service alone. They value the experience too. A positive feedback loop is generated when the brand experience is positive for customers. That leads to growth.
The seven strategies discussed here are offbeat, as in these are not usually recommended to small business. That, however, is not a challenge but an opportunity because the business to follow these strategies will enjoy the upper-hand.
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