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5 key growth strategies for every business - no matter what type of business you’re in

5 Key Growth Strategies For Every Business - No Matter What Type Of Business

No matter what type of business you’re in, your ultimate goal is to succeed and make a profit. You started your own business maybe because you wanted to be your own boss or because you were passionate about your idea.

It could also be that you just wanted freedom from a monotonous routine. But sadly, success is not determined by the reason behind starting your own company. No business comes with a fixed instruction manual. However, there are proven strategies for every type of business that can guarantee you reasonably good footing in the market.  

Common Issues Faced By All Businesses

Each and every new business tends to go through a number of hiccups before getting on the right track. Some of these include:

1. Lead Generation - In business, you cannot rely on word of mouth alone. Your business needs to have customers and this is possible only through a solid  marketing strategy for lead generation.

2. Cash Flow - No business has an unlimited supply of money. Each needs to learn to manage what they have and work with it. The idea is to get every penny’s worth in all transactions.

3. Time Management - In essence, for every business time is money. You cannot afford time waste. Time management skills are not well defined and sometimes missing in start-ups. This is a lesson learned after the first BOOM of a busy period and hopefully doesn't become a reason for failure.

4. Team Management - going to the office daily and completing your workload is not enough. It is not just about “working-in” but also about “working on” your business.

5. Clarity And Direction - When you work as a group you need to give clear directions. This will ensure that all the people in your team know what needs to be done, how it needs to be accomplished, who will do it and most importantly when the task has to be completed.

5 key growth strategies for every business

Above we discussed the 5 main problem areas for any business. A good strategy to success would be to just remove or minimize these issues. Here is a list of 5 key growth strategies for every business no matter what type of business you’re in:

1. Effective Lead Generation 

You cannot sell your product to every Tom, Dick, and Harry because no two people have the same requirements. It will be a waste of both time and money to sell your idea to people who have no use for it. To begin with design an attractive product and keep its pricing competitive.

Now that the product is designed to perfection, a good strategy would be to first identify those people who would benefit the most from your product or service. For this create a suitable customer profile or persona and identify those people who match it. Pass on this information to the sales team so they can personalize the sales pitch to attract them.

2. Manage Cash Flow 

Cash-flow management is critical to every business, big or small. As a business owner, you need to completely understand your cash requirements. Plan and budget for each and every expected expense. Keep some aside for the unexpected rainy days also. Don’t spend everything you earn on expanding your business but invest a portion of it for additional returns.

While investing, make an informed decision and don’t just bank on your gut feeling. In case you are not sure, talk to financial and investment experts for proper guidance. Most importantly, eliminate wastage by employing lean and six sigma strategies.

3. Efficient Time Management 

Most of the work that happens in an office is regular and routine work. Surprisingly, most of it can be automated and yet we fail to do so. Automation is important in order to save time. Again, using lean and six sigma strategies identify wasteful activities and eliminate them.

Remember it is not necessary for you to do everything. As a new business or a start-up, doing everything on your own is not advisable. Outsource activities that you are not well equipped to handle like IT, Finance & Investments etc. This will give you more time to concentrate on other more relevant aspects of your business.

4. Make A Good Team 

Business is all about the hard-working people behind it. It is never a one-man effort. Employ suitably qualified people. Remember when you are just starting out you can’t always get the best so go for the next most feasible option. Give people, who meet your criteria a chance. Don’t forget they too might be starting out. The adage that experienced people are the best choice does not always prove true.

For all you know, their experience might make them set and rigid leaving no room for flexibility, many times when we have looked to hire staff the fresh ideas of intelects who have not worked in a monotonous environment have proved more valuable than that of people who have had experience with Microsoft, HP and Dell.

Having said that, a good mix of experienced, in-between and bright eyed fresh blood  is wise. Motivate them to “work on” the business. Every person goes to work but very few people decide to “work on” it. By this I mean improving processes within the company instead of just customer focused work. Success comes only when you step out of your comfort zone and try to be different. Encourage out-of-the-box thinking and be flexible to change and innovate.

5. Clear-Cut Direction 

There is no room for if’s & but’s in business. If you have planned well, you know what needs to be done. Don’t just jump into the thick of things, plan and strategize for it. Keep your goals simple. Make sure you don’t complicate matters by splitting hairs. Let others be the judge of the smaller aspects of business. It is the big picture that matters. Give clear directions about who is responsible for what, when and how things need to be done and when they need to commence and stop.

Measure at every stage in order to be on top of things. If there is an area where you are lagging, you can either pull in more people to lend a helping hand or identify the problem and eliminate it. It is good to have standard operating procedures because they act as a framework within which the work needs to be completed.         

The Winning Mantra

Plan for the worst, always hope for the best, a business is anything but predictable. It’s better to be ready rather than be caught unaware.

 

The Ultimate Guide To IT Outsourcing For Small Businesses

 

The Ultimate Guide To IT Outsourcing For Small Businesses

Face it, Information Technology has drastically changed the face of business. It doesn't matter anymore where you, where your employees are, and where your customer is.If your IT department is doing its job well, it can help you reach anywhere on the globe. Employing a full team of IT professionals might be too big a step for businesses that are just starting out. For most companies, you can simply outsource. It means bringing on a team of IT brainiacs as a third-party to manage your IT requirements. To make matters easy, here is the ultimate guide to IT Outsourcing for small businesses.

Why outsource IT?

There are many reasons why you need to think about outsourcing IT.

1. Cost Effectiveness - As a start-up or a relatively new business, finance is already tight. You really want to make every penny count. In such a case, setting up an entire IT division is just an added expense. An expense you can very well do without. It would involve hiring extra staff, equipment, office space, insurances, workcover, superannuation etc. On the other hand, if you outsource the expense, it comes down to the black and white hiring fees.

2. Access To The Best Technology - Because you are new in business getting state of the art technology might seem like an expenditure you can very well do without. But if you outsource, it is the prerogative of the third-party to make sure that it has the best that the industry has to offer, both in terms of technology and manpower. This is necessary to maintain their competitiveness in the market.The benefit of this drills down to you as well. You get the best technology, with no headache of future updates, skilled manpower, and all this for a fixed amount each month. As a business, you get guaranteed operational efficiency and accountability.

Which Services To Outsource

Now that you know the benefits of outsourcing, your next question would be, “Which activities to outsource”? The truth is that almost everything can be outsourced for the right price. Nonetheless, as a business, you need to be critical of this. The activities which you can outsource without much trepidation are:

  •  Software development and implementation.
  •  Support services including IT maintenance, backup, recovery, and security.
  •  Activities like data-management and data-processing can also be outsourced.

 

How To Outsource?

Deciding to outsource is only half the battle. How to outsource is a completely different  ball-game.

1. Determine What To Outsource 

First and foremost, you need to decide which activities to outsource. This might require brainstorming and talking to others riding the same business boat. Remember experience is mighty armor,  learn from other peoples hits and misses. There is no point in committing mistakes which others have to their detriment. Let their experience count and learn from it. Having done this gig for a bit, you will find that your competitors are all in the same boat and normally over a casual beer will comfortably steer you in the right direction. Very few businesses out there are going to cause malice.   

2. Make A Business Case 

When it comes to making decisions, you might not be the one who has the last say. There might be other equally invested in the success of your business like your partners, shareholders etc. Make a business case so that you can sell it to others involved in the decision-making process.

3. Budget  

Because you are trying to save money by outsourcing, have a budget that makes you feel comfortable. Don’t pull this figure out of thin air but do a complete cost-benefit analysis to justify it. Make sure that the companies that you are looking to outsource to are going to service you with a budget that you resonate with. There are companies out there with very cheap hourly rates but lack the integrity and training to get your problems fixed in acceptable time frames. Look for a company that charges a flat rate per month in a plan that is tailored to your company and includes an uptime guarantee. You can be sure that if something does go wrong they will want to get it fixed as quickly and as properly as possible, removing potential revenue loss due to downtime.  

4. Send Out Feelers 

Now that you know what you want and how much you are willing to spend on it, it’s time to find out who is interested. So, start looking for an outsourcing partner who makes you feel comfortable. Check their market reputation and financial feasibility.

5. Either Approach Or Invite Third-Party 

If there is a specific firm that you want to outsource your IT to, you can approach them directly. Alternately, you could invite a few of them to make a presentation along with a pricing model. At this stage you should have the complete picture of your IT requirements clear in your mind. This way you will be in a better position to judge whether you are getting value for money, if they are over servicing and if you want to do business with them or not.

Off-Shore Or On-Shore Outsourcing?

Usually, offshore-providers are more reasonably priced. However, while outsourcing, pricing should not be the only concern. Getting a cheap provider who fails to deliver on the contract is a useless and cost-heavy expenditure. Being cheap is expensive

It’s not all sunshine and roses yet, frequent meetings might be required with the outsourcing partner to overcome the initial hiccups. How will this be managed? You will also have to make sure that they conform to the same rules and regulations, as yourself, when it comes to data protection and other critical activities. In short, they need to legally adhere to all regulations as any on-shore service provider. How will an audit of this be conducted? Again, the language barrier might create further problems. How will they overcome this factor?

If you get a satisfactory solution to all these questions, you can go for an off-shore provider by all means. But, if there is any niggling doubt, your answer lies in an on-shore provider.

SaaS And IT Outsourcing Same?

SaaS or Software as a Service and IT outsourcing are principally the same in the service delivery. SaaS is a web-based solution while IT outsourcing may or may not be so. If you look at the broad picture SaaS may provide services like sales force automation, finance, and accounting etc. IT outsourcing is the management of all Hardware, Software, Licencing and Project management for any business elements both in the cloud and on any premises.

Most all IT support companies that have a high level of integrity will not charge you a per hour rate to support your network unless they are unsure of its integrity due to old hardware etc. The companies that charge per hour do so because they are either not technically capable of managing your network at a set price, they don’t want the responsibility of 24 hour monitoring or know that they could very well spend too many hours on your infrastructure because they are inexperienced.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

A win-win position can sometimes be possible. It is always best to plan for the worst case scenario. At least it gives you a chance to be prepared for the unforeseen future. Having said that, if you have made a wise and informed decision while choosing an outsourcing provider, don’t stress.

Worst case scenario is that you lose control over a significant business activity or service. For example, if your outsourcing partner does not provide you decent service your customer relationships will suffer. Your outsourcing partner might be so rigid that there is no scope left for any flexibility. In order to salvage your reputation in the market, you may have to invest more time than you bargained for when managing your relationship with your IT outsourcing partner.

Something To Think About

There is no sure-shot way to success. Sometimes you make your own mistakes and learn from them and sometimes you learn from those of others. Success stories are made of hardwork and the determination to succeed. Always, remember it is easy to make a decision when you understand and have a complete overview of your business and all that it entails. Before taking any decisions educate yourself about your business needs and requirements. Support your education with data that corroborates with you Armed with data you can never go wrong when making the right decision of outsourcing IT.




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