After a rather tumultuous year, business leaders want to find and capitalize on strategic growth opportunities. The only catch is that they want those growth opportunities to be effective beyond the immediate future. Here are a few ways small businesses can achieve sustainable growth.
Small businesses everywhere are bouncing back from the pandemic after a year of challenges. While they are not quite back to where they were pre-pandemic, small business working hours and sales are rising steadily, and many plan to create new jobs in the next three months.
This is great news. But after a year of upheaval, business leaders want to find and capitalize on strategic growth opportunities that will last. Many had to overhaul operations, lay off valued staff, and take drastic action just to stay in business. Now, they want to do everything they can to ensure stability moving forward.
As we work toward and move into a post-pandemic future, here are a few valuable — and sustainable — opportunities for growth:
- Standardize your sales process.
To find sustained success in business, it’s crucial to have a standardized sales process. But according to Sales Xceleration’s Sales Agility Assessment, only 8% of leaders believe their sales processes are well-understood — and only 28% of small and midsized companies have documentation outlining their sales processes.
“Companies cannot identify the deficiencies in their sales process if that sales process is being carried out differently each time,” said Mark Thacker, president of Sales Xceleration. “That would be like trying to fix your golf swing when you never swing your club the same way twice.”
If you’re looking for sustained growth, a documented sales plan is necessary. Don’t risk your business suffering simply because you don’t have an outlined sales strategy in place.
- Adjust your digital marketing efforts to focus on SEO.
While the world has been becoming increasingly digital for years, the pandemic pushed digital transformation to the forefront at a speed that almost nobody anticipated. Businesses took operations digital overnight, and this digital-first world is here to stay.
Now is the time to focus on specific components of your digital strategy — one of the most important being search engine optimization (SEO). For businesses to thrive online, they need to be able to be found online, and ramping up SEO efforts is the way to ensure yours comes up in search results.
Devoting to SEO and ramping up your digital marketing has myriad benefits. It increases organic revenue by increasing traffic to your website, leads to improved search engine results page (SERP) listings, and drives traffic that is more targeted and relevant — benefitting the business overall and driving long-term growth.
- Automate areas of your business to focus on what you care about most.
Along with the rise of digital, it’s important to note that technology has the power to streamline operations in a hugely impactful way. Tedious tasks that once required manual labor can now be done with automation. One McKinsey report estimates that companies can automate up to 45% of tasks today.
Kenny Tripura, co-founder of Edkent Media, says automating operations can save small businesses a tremendous amount of time. A whole range of tasks can be automated, including everything from accounting and payroll to marketing.
When you save time by implementing automation technology into your operations, you’re investing in your employees and your business. Automation gives workers time to focus on the things that matter most to their roles: increasing productivity and maximizing results.
- Focus on work-life balance for your team.
Finally, the collective trauma and loss of the pandemic showed all of us how valuable our time truly is. It revealed the need for work-life balance so we can focus on what matters.
Moving forward, make sure you’re putting people first and working to ensure they can find that balance. This might require some shifts in how you’ve traditionally done things, but now is a great time to prioritize your team’s desire for balance.
During the past year, leaders across industries have found that more flexible schedules, remote work options, and a focus on employee wellness can all help drive success. To see growth in the months and years ahead, continue to take care of your people by offering more flexibility and an expectation of balance. You’ll see the benefits immediately — and the results will last.
Everyone is ready to move forward and build a better future after one of the most challenging periods in recent history. As a business leader, you’re ready to capitalize on the growth of the moment while taking steps to also ensure increases down the road. By following the advice above, you can set your people and yourself up for success built to last.
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