As you most likely know, every great business needs a great plan. If you’re running a new business then you should already have some ideas for the general direction and structure of your company. You probably have an initial business plan already, but that doesn’t mean your work is done. Good business preparation requires constant planning. If your new business is going to do well then you need to grow. Your company won’t be new forever, but your ideas need to be new if you’re going to progress. Here’s what it takes to plan a small business well.
An expectation of the unexpected.
You also need to expect the unexpected if you want to plan your new business well. It’s easy to make a plan for all the products you’re going to create and all the marketing strategies you’re going to implement, but planning for unpredictable events is slightly harder. You might also want to put legal security measures in place to cover your business’ back, for example. Costly lawsuits can crush small businesses before they’ve even had a chance to really grow. Seek help from a small business solicitor if you’re struggling. You could legal advice with employment agreements, corporate issues, contracts, and other business-related matters. It’s important to know where you stand in a legal sense if you want to know how to protect your business from unexpected issues when they arise.
You should also have a plan of action to protect your company’s data. Whether it’s unexpected file corruption or deletion, your business’ digital files can be damaged or lost unexpectedly. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan B. You should consider backing up your documents on a cloud storage system. That way, your data will be protected off-site. Otherwise, the cost of losing mass amounts of data (both in time and money) could grind your new business to a halt before it’s even taken off. You should also install firewalls and other security-based software to protect your system against infiltration. Stolen information could be damaging to your company’s reputation. If your customers feel that their details aren’t secure then they’ll lose faith in your business, and that could be very damaging to a new company. Digital security should be a key part of your business plan.
A great strategy to build your client base.
If your new business is going to do well then you need to start by building your client base. After all, you need profits if you’re going to grow. You also need to gain customers if you want to build your reputation and increase brand awareness in your industry. Your initial planning should revolve around attracting customers so that your new business can grow. A social media strategy is one of the best ways in which you can make this happen. Your business should use social networks to build a relationship with customers. Answer their questions, respond to comments, and update them on solutions to issues you might have been experiencing (e.g. website downtime). The point is that social media is a platform which allows you to communicate with customers and develop lasting relationships. In turn, this will ensure that you gain long-term customers rather than one-time customers. This is the key to client retention. Increasing sales is one thing, but increasing your client base is another.
Additionally, you should create a strategy as part of your business plan to utilise your existing customers when growing your client base. After all, spreading brand awareness through word of mouth is still one of the most effective advertising strategies. You might just need to encourage your customers to get talking. Obviously, happy customers are more likely to leave great testimonials on your website and tell their friends about you, but happy customers don’t always feel the urge to spread the word. Maybe you could start a referral scheme; if people get discounts for referring your company to friends and family then they’ll be more likely to talk about you. On another note, you could offer deals to customers on their second or third purchase as an incentive to keep them returning to your business. Client retention is easier if you show your customers that they’re valued. If you‘re loyal to your customers then they’ll be loyal to you. It’s a two-way street. That’s how you’ll start to steadily grow a permanent client base.