As small business owners, you probably find yourself asking if you could—or should—be doing more, even when your business is doing well.
Growing your company takes a lot of time, but there are key things you can address now to position yourself to scale in the future.
Here are five areas that small business owners can focus on now to set their businesses up for expansion in 2017 and beyond:
Focus on Your Budget.
Concentrating on month-to-month savings goals can position you to meet larger, year-end goal. When creating a budget, small business owners will want to include everything from office perks to inventory purchases to your marketing strategy. Assess where you might be overspending, as this can create a significant roadblock in your path to becoming profitable.
Salaries are typically a more complex area that might require additional attention. Every business owner wants to be sure they take care of their employees, but be mindful when calculating the right compensation.
Underpaying can lead to employee frustration and high turnover, while overpaying employees could leave small business owners falling short on funds to restock supplies or inventory. Using a comprehensive salary guide can help you figure out how to pay your employees to remain competitive and better plan your finances.
Keep up With Tax Trends.
As an entrepreneur, understanding how taxes affect your business is one of the single most important things you can do.
A number of factors go into determining how you are taxed. For example, if you have a brick-and-mortar location, where this storefront is located impacts your property taxes. When you are an employer, you’ll be responsible for workers’ compensation and payroll taxes. If you’re unsure of what taxes your company will incur, small business owners should reference the IRS webpage for specifics.
Whether you’re launching a new business or you’ve had your feet on the ground for a while, identifying the correct company structure could be essential in determining how the federal government views your business in the upcoming tax season.
Double-check that you’ve filed your company under the right structure for tax purposes. Lastly, know what constitutes as a business expense so you can get the most out of the appropriate deductions.
Diversify your Business.
By diversifying your business where it makes sense, small business owners can allow for multiple income streams and potentially an increase in profit margins while gaining exposure in other markets and industries. This could be adding new products to your retail store or even providing a different service during your slow season.
As you think about targeting other markets, consider appealing to completely different demographics. For instance, if your business appeals to an older generation, research products or services that will bring in younger audiences. Alternatively, consider expanding or licensing your products and resources for other businesses to use.
Small business owners can also share industry knowledge to profit their businesses. This can include consulting, teaching courses on your industry, speaking at industry events, or contributing to prominent blogs.
Getting your voice out there can help expand small business owners’ consumer base and position you as a knowledgeable resource.Outsource job roles.
Outsourcing can be a great way to expand your business while also cutting costs. It can increase efficiency and is cost efficient—especially if you allow your outsourced employees to work from home. As a small business owner, you don’t have time to oversee everything. In addition, it can be risky to manage important business aspects like accounting or marketing if you lack the experience.
For instance, a marketing agency will have the know-how to quickly help you build a successful marketing campaign. If small business owners try to do this themselves, they might waste time, efforts, and productivity that could be focused on other important aspects of their businesses.
When you outsource responsibilities, you gain access to a person—or group of people—who are highly skilled in an area that may not be your strength. As a bonus, these people often can serve as resources for current employees who have an interest in that area.Dedicate time to your company’s culture.
Furthering your small business isn’t limited to external growth; it’s wise for small business owners to focus internally, too. By investing in your employees, you continue to nurture your business.
First, foster creativity. Many companies find that an open seating floor plan allows teams to effectively bounce ideas off one another without the intrusion of cubicle walls. In addition, make your office a welcoming place for your employees’ furry friends. Studies show that having pet-friendly offices improves work performance and boosts company morale.
Next, be financially transparent with your employees. Keeping your employees in the know helps ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals and reminds them everything that happens for the company happens because of them. This, of course, requires an abundance of trust. Make sure everyone understands that anything talked about within company walls doesn’t get repeated outside of the team until they hear otherwise.
Lastly, organize company outings as a way get the team together outside of the office. This ultimately creates a better work relationship in the office. Employee volunteer programs are a great way to promote camaraderie while boosting your company’s image. Studies show millennials are more likely to join companies with corporate social responsibility programs. In the end, positive company culture will attract top talent.
As a small business owner, you should always be thinking about how to better your business, even in the midst of success.
By having a solid plan set in place, setting realistic goals and placing checkpoints as you expand, you can ensure you’re on the right track for sustainable growth.
Victoria Treyger is the Chief Revenue Officer of Kabbage, which pioneered the first financial services data and technology platform to provide fully automated small business loans. Kabbage has provided more than $3 billion in funding to over 100,000 small businesses and powers lending for leading global banks through the Kabbage Platform.