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Business is not what it used to be.

It is fairly easy to start a business if you have a keen interest in a specific program, service or product. With this ease of start up comes many challenges.

These encounters occur for the same reasons that make it easy to start a new business. Some of these relate to social media, business versus self-employment, finances, planning, and knowledge. [VIDEO]

Media

We can start a business easily, but so can many others. We can bombard our friends and associates with our offerings, but so can they. We are all competing for the same valuable time. Also, so much information and advice that was offered at a cost can be obtained for free.

Online companies can sell for less than companies that need to own or lease retail or office space. Thus, even though social media and traditional media can make opening a business easier, it also increases competition.

Type of Business

Now we can learn anything we want without leaving our own space. For an owner who wants business growth that person has to decide whether or not it is worth their time to:

  • Do their own bookkeeping
  • Do their own online marketing
  • Reduce prices to compete with others
  • Replicate what they see others if they can’t capture their market share
  • Avoid using tradition methods such as 1:1 networking
  • Figure out what makes their business different
  • Plan when the business world is shifting so fast.

We cannot be all things to all people. We know we are not the same as others but how do we communicate that message?

Are we aiming to be self employed or do we really want a growing business? It is easy to get stuck in todays reality and be disappointed if things don’t progress as fast as we imagined they would. The key is to be firm in our decision to grow our business and refrain from letting anything distract us from our goal.

Finances

This is an area that is fascinating. Many times, we want to grow our business but we are unable to answer the following definitively:

  • From which line of business are we generating the most revenue?
  • What is our profit margin in each line of business?
  • What are we spending on marketing (including networking, etc.)?
  • What are we spending on supplies, equipment, space, gas, etc.?
  • What is our return on marketing efforts?
  • Is our accounting system set up to easily garner information on all projects?
  • What is our sales cycle?

It isn’t enough to give a bookkeeper our receipts and our accountant our yearly files for audit. It is essential that we know our finances well. We cannot plan if we do not know what we are spending, how our expenses compare to our income, and where we want to be in the short- to mid-term.

Planning for business growth

I know that circumstances can change quickly but I do not agree that this is a reason to avoid having a road map or preparing one only to ignore it.

If we do not aim somewhere, we will make conflicting decisions, avoid having a close check on our finances, and be unable to chose how and where to market wisely.

Business growth does not always come easily or quickly. Knowing our strategy is vital. Being able to monitor the effectiveness of our plan and adjust as necessary is essential to small business growth.

Set measurable goals. Honor them. Measure performance and keep moving forward.

Knowledge

We can only move forward if we have the knowledge to make sound decisions. We can only make effective decisions, if we have the knowledge required to see all options and problem solve.

Where we do not have the knowledge, it is essential to seek out organizations or people who do. Blindly making decisions, hoping things will work out does not work 100% of the time. Today, it is easy to access information anywhere in the world. Use that to your advantage.

You can grow your business but sometimes it means moving out of our own way, accepting help, recognizing how we are holding our business back, and utilizing our strengths to their maximum.

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