Starting a business isn’t easy. So, if you’ve already launched one it’s a great achievement. Congratulations!  To grow your small business you’ll need the same motivation and hard work that allowed you to get to where you are today. But this time, you need to be even more strategic. The main target should be to stay ahead of your competition while offering value and delighting your customers.

The following 10 tips are intended to help you achieve just that:

  • Have a business plan and stick to it

Most of the big enterprises are only so successful because they have effective business plans and are at all times pursuing clearly defined goals. A business plan gives you direction. Without it, it’s easy to get lost along the way. It’s true that strictly following a business plan can be a challenge especially for small businesses. Sometimes you might be forced to roll with changes and adjust your expectations to reflect prevailing circumstances. However, even during the most trying periods stick to your guns. It’s not wrong to adjust things a bit. But customers like consistency. If the company changes too much, the customers might leave.

  • Never compromise on quality

A common mistake among start-ups is that as soon as the business shows signs of flourishing, they tend to forget about quality in the hope that they can take shortcuts and get away with it. This is a sure road to business failure. Even when economic times are hard, do your best to deliver the same level of quality you’ve always offered. If possible, improve on it. You can freeze wages, freeze hiring, and even let a few employees leave, but compromising on quality is never an option. As soon as customers sense diminishing quality, either through consumer reviews or by testing the product themselves, they might seek alternatives.

  • Build strong relationships with your customers and suppliers

For long term viability, you must prioritize your customers and suppliers. Immediate gains that impede your chances of establishing long-term relationships with these two groups should be avoided. You’ve probably seen customers who always buy at a certain local store no matter what. This is the level of loyalty you should be aiming for. Do the same with your suppliers. You are their customer so keep that relationship strong. If you establish a solid relationship, along the way, you’ll benefit in many ways including receiving special discounts and being the first to be informed about new arrivals.

  • Create a solid and loyal employee base

Employees can make or break your business. Happy, satisfied employees are usually your biggest promoters. Wherever they go, they won’t stop mentioning their employer and the great products and services your business offers. This alone can win you many new customers. Unhappy employees, on the other hand, tend to lack motivation, and can be a bad influence in the workplace. Outside work, they could represent the organization in a negative way. Maintaining a loyal base of employees also reduces employee turnover, allowing you to retain your best talents.

  • Change your hiring habits

If you’ve already grown to the point where you have a large group of employees, consider reviewing your hiring practices. Instead of just adding bodies to the team, start bringing in unique recruits. Even if it means directly contacting a recruiter to acquire that special talent, pick up the phone and make that call. Diversifying your talent pool helps to bring a new perspective to the work environment which can open doors to new opportunities. Also, thoroughly screen your employees and conduct reference checks to ensure that you’re hiring the right people.

  • Hold each employee accountable

One of the best ways to build a productive workforce is to ensure that each employee takes responsibility for their actions and inactions. Train them to be responsible for every task assigned to them. To further encourage them to work hard for the company, consider rewarding through recognitions and promotions those who perform excellently. You should also consider feedback which is a powerful motivational tool, sometimes more than financial rewards. Positive feedback makes employees feel valued and empowered.

  • Keep an eye on operating costs

Most start-ups are funded with loans. So, you may have thousands of dollars in your business account. Keep in mind that this money has to be paid back eventually. Spending big just because there is a lot of money available is the wrong approach. Prudent start-ups focus on efficient, sustainable production practices, maintaining a grip on operating expenses while actively seeking ways to lower production cost.

  • Expand into new markets and client bases

Few start-up owners think of this but it’s a major factor to grow your small business. Limiting yourself to a particular region, industry, advertising channel, or consumer base only limits your chances of success. With the digital revolution in full swing, business should leverage the power of digital mediums such as email, social media, and search engine marketing to enter new markets in pursuit of new clients.

  • Go back to school and keep learning

If you’re serious about taking your business to the next level, enroll for a course that will help you better manage it. Learning is the only way to discover new things. By going back to class, you’ll be able to stay engaged with the ever-changing business landscape. The newly acquired knowledge will also allow you to diversify and further grow the business. The good news is that you don’t have to go back to university. You can take a short course via webinar, through local networking workshops, or even an online education portal.

  • Outsource accounting and other time-consuming tasks

Finally, don’t hesitate to outsource any time-consuming task. Start by finding a professional accountant to handle your bookkeeping, paychecks, withholding, and tax accounting. Thereafter, outsource your artwork, social media, and editing. You’ll save a lot of time which you can redirect to other business-critical areas.


Any small business that follows these ten tips will quickly realize improved efficiency, high levels of productivity, and sustained growth.