The widespread adoption of remote working means that more people than ever before are taking the plunge and pursuing their own business ventures. Starting a business can be financially rewarding and provide you with the flexibility to live your life the way you want.
Upwork and Freelancers Union’s Sixth annual “Freelancing in America” study finds that more people than ever see freelancing as a long-term career path. The share of those who freelance full-time increased from 17% in 2014 to 28% in 2019.
However, to succeed in business today, you need to be flexible, strategic and have good organizational skills. We could share hundreds of tips on how to grow your small business from the ground up, but the following are among what we believe to be the most useful.
1. Have a contingency plan
When you’re running a business on your own, it’s often easier to recover when the tides turn, especially if you have a side hustle or backup plan to rely on. But when you start to grow it can be harder because there’s more at stake. Have a financial plan in place for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances to help you navigate the inevitable storms.
2. Polish your homepage
Make sure your homepage is as perfect as it can be. Optimise it for SEO by making it clear and easy to read. A consumer needs to interact with your brand message at least seven times before they take action, and a messy landing page will put them off straight away.
A/B test your call to action and key word variations to see what works best for your audience.
3. Strategize then execute
There are so many ways to grow your audience (and subsequently, your bottom line), that it can be easy to get carried away. It’s so important to form a plan first then execute it. Identify your customers’ needs before testing your initial approach.
Imagine you’re growing your email list and your open rates are low.
Use the in-built analytics tool in your email marketing platform to figure out what could be improved. Maybe a lot of recipients are opening your emails because you’ve got the subject line right, but the sheer amount of content is putting them off, resulting in a high bounce rate.
4. Build up your blog
Blogging can be one of the most fruitful inbound marketing techniques. Blogs drive visitors to your website, convert traffic into leads and help you establish authority in your industry. Identify the top questions on your customers’ lips and adapt them into blog post titles.
The majority of your blog content should be “evergreen”; in other words, content that remains relevant and does not date. Evergreen content is quicker to update and maintain.
5. Improve your product / service
Every entrepreneur will tell you that in order for your business to grow, your product or service should evolve. Customer feedback is a critical part of this. Use customer surveys and reviews to identify flaws and inform the next iteration of your product or service.
6. Get a virtual office
As technological advancements make remote working a viable option for many, a lot of businesses no longer need a physical office space. Instead, business owners are opting for a virtual office. Virtual office memberships typically provide you with a business address for receiving mail and a telephone number, access to meeting rooms and the option to hot desk.
7. Employ people
Making the transition from solopreneur to an employer is a big step, but can be well worth it. Think about whether your small business will benefit from a permanent employee or a freelance / contractor approach to recruitment.
The right people can make your expansion dreams a reality, so it’s important to ensure they are supported from the very beginning of their journey with you.
8. Keep detailed records
Thorough record-keeping will help you to know where you’re at when it comes to filing your tax return. Some small business owners hire an accountant, while others decide to manage the finance side of things themselves. Fortunately, there are lots of apps on the market today to make small business accounting that bit easier for non-accountants!
9. Compile an email list
One of the most effective ways of attracting and retaining customers is by sharing useful and engaging information about your product, service, brand or industry in an email newsletter. Again, it’s important to have a flexible strategy and schedule in place and make sure that you are collecting, storing and using people’s data in a compliant way.
10. Listen to your gut
Finally, trust your instincts.
Having solid strategies and scalable systems in place will help make risk taking and leaps of faith that bit easier. You’ve already laid the foundations – now it’s time to flourish!