The proven process of scaling a business is a slow and winding one, and is more involved than basic growth. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to remember that every Fortune 1000 company started just as you are. And while it may be tempting to seek out shortcuts and quick schemes that promise to speed up growth, your results will likely be as fleeting as the path was to get there.
A recent study of small business owners showed that most (around 77%) believe they will be able to grow their business through the next recession, despite being unsure on how they will do so.
So, to ensure you’re taking the right steps for long-term success, we’re highlighting six essential tools for strategically scaling your business.
Also, remember that you don’t need to overwhelm yourself – Work Less and Achieve More Growth in Your Business.
Success stems from customers. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers, and oftentimes can also be your biggest advocates.
However, given that business growth is only sustainable with a reliable customer base, a decline in customer satisfaction can have a significantly negative impact on your growth plan. Keeping this in mind can make all the difference in the speed at which you scale your business.
For this reason, establishing a strong customer service model is essential. This allows your team to provide the service your customers have become accustomed to, while also catering to new customers.
Many small businesses, particularly ones with plans to scale, have begun implementing chatbots. This eases the workload of increased customer queries and also maintains high-quality service.
As chatbots become increasingly more advanced, more and more businesses are relying on them for the bulk of their service requests. This not only enables businesses to successfully grow their customer base (and, thus, take on larger workloads), but it also meets modern customers’ requests for on-demand service. In fact, more than half of consumers would rather talk with a chatbot, than a human, in order to save time.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
A dedicated CRM system can be a big help as you grow your customer base. It cohesively manages all of your company’s relationships and interactions with new and existing customers. This allows your team to effectively work toward improving business relationships as you grow.
Along with the increased customer connections, a CRM system can also aid in user data management and improve team collaboration—particularly between your marketing and sales teams.
CRM software for SMBs
When selecting the CRM software best suited for your small business, there are a few key qualifiers to help you make the right decision.
- Budget: Seek out cost-efficient options capable of growing with your business without breaking your initial budget.
- Customization: Certain datasets are more relevant than others in the early stages of growth. So, tools that allow you to look at the bigger picture can reduce the sense of overwhelm.
- Integration: Make sure the system you choose integrates well with other tools.
- Customer support: Overall, SMBs have smaller teams. Therefore, a reliable support system helps get you up and running with the new technology.
HubSpot CRM is a popular free option for small businesses, thanks to its easy to use built-in interface. Since everything is deployed in the cloud, there is no need for complicated installations and/or navigational training.
Salesforce CRM is another excellent option, for it’s easy integration with external business solutions and sales assistance tools.
3. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System
Organizational software can make all the difference when it comes to achieving your business scaling goals. Generally speaking, small businesses can get away with simple record-keeping processes, and basic accounting solutions. However, as you scale, you’ll likely grow out of these preliminary tools. Therefore, an ERP can help automate and coordinate the growing number of complex business processes that your scaling business will inevitably accumulate.
Since the introduction of cloud-based systems, top quality ERP systems, once only available to large corporations, are within reach of smaller companies—both financially functionally. A modern ERP cloud solution can help streamline operations, ensuring your entire organization is working in sync, and on pace with technology.
For business scaling in particular, software that you can both, trust to update autonomously, and grow with your business, is essential. You can avoid any unnecessary complexity by choosing a solution that is specific to the cloud, as opposed to the on-premises solutions that have been rewritten to service in the cloud (for instance Infor ERP products).
Today’s industry leaders recognize the power that small businesses hold. As a result, they are increasingly targeting small and medium sized businesses with cloud-based versions of ERP software. Depending on your specific business environment and goals, there are several available options to help you meet your scaling goals.
4. Inventory Management Software
Increased volumes of business are expected when scaling. As is the amount of inventory and information you need to keep track of. Although a spreadsheet may have been suitable as a small business, the larger you scale, the more difficult effective management becomes.
Inventory management software relieves this pressure by simplifying the tracking process of whatever it is that makes your business function. Comparing inventory management software, based on their offerings, pricing, and your specific business needs, can help you make the right choice for your business.
5. Email Automation
A digital marketing strategy is fundamental in modern business success. As you scale, however, your traditional marketing efforts will likely need a reboot.
Automation is a lifesaver when it comes to scaling a business. Extending your reach without additional effort is possible through the many tools designed to help automate marketing tasks. Mailchimp, for example, is an easy-to-use platform for email automation.
To build your customer base, it’s important to put adequate effort into spreading your message. This means alerting all potential and existing customers of your latest offering, and generating new conversion whenever possible.
6. Social Media Automation
A strong social media presence is critical to successfully promoting your business. However, in the early days of your scaling, you probably don’t have a dedicated social team.
Not to worry, though. Social media automation tools have made it easier than ever. They can pre-schedule content to share across your various networks and profiles, track performance, collaborate with fellow social media users, and manage a consistent reposting schedule.
Ultimately, There is no one-size-fits-all method to scaling a business. As you go through the process, you’ll recognize what works for you, and what your business needs to achieve success.
QUESTION: Which of these tools interests you the most? Let us know in the comments below!