Today’s blog post, by guest author Lilach Bullock gives us a way to start thinking about next year. 

2018 is almost here:

Are you ready to take your business to the next level?

The new year is fast approaching and with it, come the resolutions – we all make them, but few of us actually keep them up. This year, I want to suggest a new resolution for all you small business owners out there: prepare your business for growth. Are you ready to take your business to the next level?

Business growth can come organically, but more often than not, you need to prepare yourself for this growth:

  • Raise the funds needed to invest in your business and grow it
  • Create a scalable business model
  • Create a strong marketing strategy
  • Get the right employees on your side
  • Automate and streamline your business processes

Automate everything

One of the first steps in building a scalable business is to, quite simply, automate everything – or, as much as possible. Automation tools are now more accessible than ever, no matter the size of your business, or your budget.

Even if you do have to make some monetary investments, they will be ultimately worth it, as they will allow you to create smooth-running processes that will free up your time to handle the important stuff – the things you can’t pass over to artificial intelligence.

Look into getting:

  • Marketing automation: it will not only allow you to save (a lot of) time, but it will also help you get better results for your business – more leads generated, better lead nurturing, and more conversions. Plus, it’s very accessible to small businesses and startups, as there are free plans from top tools, such as Jumplead and Mailchimp.
  • Social media automation: cut down the time you spend marketing your business on social media by getting a social media management and scheduling tool.
  • Accounting: accounting is a very time-consuming process; look into getting accounting software to help you manage it at a fraction of the time, send bills and invoices automatically, calculate your taxes easily, and more.

Additionally, you should also look at all of your daily tasks to see what else is taking up too much of your time. Can you get someone else to do those things? While it might be an extra cost to get a virtual assistant or outsourcer to help, think about it this way: instead of pushing papers for hours every day, you’ll get to focus on what matters – making more sales and growing your business.

Another essential element to success is to make processes as easy as possible for you and for your employees. This isn’t a costly investment – and it can help all of your lives much easier:

  • Cloud storage for easy and quick access to all business files
  • Task management tools keep track of what everyone on your team is doing, how long it’s taking them, and so on – and then, look at ways to improve your team’s productivity
  • Communication tools (if you work with a team of people) make things easier for everyone and use a central platform for communicating. This way, every conversation is kept in one place, people are easier to reach, and communicating takes less time.

Start raising funds for business growth

One of the unfortunate realities of business growth is that you will, most likely, need extra funding to hire more people, to invest in a new product line, to improve existing services, and so on.

Depending on how much money you will need, you might be able to raise funding for your business by yourself.

How? Quite simply, put as much money aside as you can every month and help it grow by investing it. If you have experience with investing, it may be worth investing in higher risk, higher return investments. If not, you can always look into low-risk investments (you won’t have the chance to make as much money, but you also won’t lose all of your savings), such as:

  • Bank savings account or fixed-rate savings bonds
  • Money-market securities and ETFs
  • Government, municipal, corporate, and inflation-protected bonds
  • Peer-to-peer lending

There are plenty of low-risk investments worth looking into to help you raise money; otherwise, you will most likely have to:

  • Get a loan (and pay interest)
  • Get an angel investor/crowdfunding (and give away equity in your business)

Hire the right employees

Another essential factor for a successful, scalable business is to hire the right people to support your goals and objectives – and help you achieve them.

I can’t stress enough the importance of a good employee. I’ve started a few different businesses in my day, and I can honestly say that this has been one of my biggest issues – not the idea, not the funding, not my motivation – but finding the right people to help.

Ideally, you should find people that are willing to grow along with you and your business. People that understand what you want to achieve and are ready to do their best to take you there.

How do you do this? I’ll be honest – there is no universal right answer. Finding amazing people to hire is not easy; however, once you do find them, it’s not that difficult to keep them happy and motivated.

Include them as part of your decision-making process, where possible, and get them involved in the growth of your company – this will help make them feel as part of a team, and make them want to help you grow your business. There’s really nothing that is more valuable than that – you can’t do it all alone, and if you want to succeed, you’ll also need good people to help.

Conclusion

A new year is always a great time to make positive changes, to improve, and to grow. And if you’re a business owner, why not use the opportunity to grow your business and take it to new heights? Get your business plan ready, put together your new goals and objectives, and start working towards achieving them.

SWOT Analysis

About Lilach Bullock

Internationally recognized for her expertise in social media, Lilach was listed by Forbes as one of the Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers and by Career Experts as the  Number 1 Digital Marketing Influencer. She was also named the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle,  Learn more about Lilach at www.lilachbullock.com