How to (Help) Guarantee Your Small Business Success

Starting in 1979, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) introduced small business week. Since its introduction, it's taken place every year during the third week of October. During this week the BDC holds events such as conferences and workshops allowing small business owners to grow and network.

At Grand & Toy, we have a large client base consisting of small businesses. With our Business Select program, we strive to help these customers every day. To help celebrate small businesses during this special week, we have put together a list of 4 tips to help achieve success for your small business.

Tip #1: Customer Service is Key

A successful business is not only one that can sell its amazing products/services, but it's also one that can retain its loyal customer base. So, how can you do this? By focusing on great customer service.

To find out if you are providing great customer service, you should examine your current process and look for areas of improvements. We suggest that you send a survey to your customers relating to your customer service or look at the feedback that customers have provided you with in the past. Some things that you may discover include:

  1. That your customer service team needs to be better trained on certain products/services, to better respond to certain questions
  2. Customers face long wait times via phone or email
  3. Customers feel unappreciated

No matter what it is, it's important to continuously evaluate your customer service and improve it. By doing so, it will encourage your customers to keep buying your product/services as they will be loyal to your business.

Tip #2: Hiring & Retaining the Right Talent

Your current and future employees are just as important to the success of your business as your customers. Without your employees, you would be managing customer service alone, along with all other aspects of your business. That's why it's important to hire the best employees for your business and to retain this top talent.

So, how can you retain employees that have been helping your business succeed?You need to create a work culture that provides a work-life balance along with opportunities for growth at your company. You can do this by providing flexible work hours, such as the ability to work from home and giving them opportunities to attend workshops to grow their skills. Providing employees with this type of environment will show your employees how much you care about them. Employees will then be more likely to stay at your company and work their hardest to help with the success of your business.

With the help of your dedicated employees, your company will continue to succeed and hopefully grow. When this happens, you will need to expand your workforce to keep up with the increased workload. Remember that it's important to hire the right person who will not only be great at their job, but who will be a good fit in terms of value and personality, as hiring the wrong person could lead to loss of time and money.

Tip #3: Focus On Marketing

To have a successful business that continues to thrive, it is important to always attract new customers. A vital part of this includes focusing on your marketing efforts. Doing so will help your business:

  1. Increase sales of your product/service to your current customers and attract a broader audience
  2. Communicate the advantages of your business over your competitors
  3. Put your company at the top of mind to potential/future customers
  4. Build a positive association with your brand to encourage a purchase

To achieve the above you will need to have the proper marketing tactics in place. Some tactics that we suggest include:

  1. Social Media: Make sure that your company is on the right social media platforms. You will need to post organically and have paid ads to promote your products/services.
  2. Email: People who visit your business' website may not buy from you right away. We suggest capturing their email and putting your leads into an email journey to convert them.
  3. Promote awareness with free products or free demos: Doing so will help future customers become familiar with your products/services and understand what makes them special.
  4. Pay-Per-Click: This type of marketing tactic allows businesses to display their ads on online search engines to people searching for relevant products/services. Each time someone clicks on your ad, you will pay for the click.

These are just a few marketing tactics that can help with the success of your small business. If you want to expand your marketing efforts talk to your marketing departments or hire the right marketer for your business.

Tip #4: Managing Cash Flow

Have you ever heard the phrase "cash is king?" If you own a business, you probably have. This phrase reflects that cash (your cash flow) is valuable to your business.

So, what is cash flow exactly? The definition of cash flow is the total amount of money being transferred in and out of your account. Therefore, having cash flow ensures you'll be able to cover your expenses such as paying your employees.

Despite this importance of cash flow, 61% of small businesses worldwide struggle with it. Some of these struggles come from having high overhead expenses, an excess of inventory (if you sell products rather than services) and slow-paying invoices - just to name a few.

To avoid these issues, we suggest that you keep an eye on where your money is going. See if you can cut down on some of your overhead expenses, change how much inventory you order and change how fast you require your invoices to be paid. If you're having trouble with managing your cash flow, you may want to contact a financial advisor to help.

Think About The Future (and adjust your plans)

When you started your small business you hopefully had a business plan in place. This plan probably outlined the way your company would operate along with potential costs, marketing and sales plans, and expected revenue.

We suggest that you review your business plan on an annual basis to see what you have achieved and what you still need to do. You should then update your business plan based on your new objectives and guidance that you want to take your company.

At Grand & Toy, we are excited to be celebrating small business week with you. As your biggest fan, we know that owning a small business isn't always easy and we want to commend you for chasing your dreams. We also want to let you know that now and, in the future, no matter how much you adjust your business plan, you will always be able to count on us.

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