Successfully growing a business is not a small feat. It takes a great team, consistent determination, a large number of man hours, and often a decent helping of luck. With so many things to contemplate, it is often hard to find a place to start. Here are three suggestions to help you take the next step in growing your business.
Suggestion 1: Start Considering Your Competition
Whether your business is a bakery or a software developer, it is highly unlikely that you are the only player in your market. Now that your business has gotten off the ground, it is now time to start analyzing your competition. Start considering who your competitors are, how you can outmaneuver them or how you can carve out a niche in your industry. This is where the concept of brand positioning comes to the fore. Brand positioning entails achieving differentiation from your competitors. In order to grow, you want your business to stand out from the competition in consumers’ minds.
When positioning your business, there are four general questions you should ask yourself:
- What is the business for? This refers to your business’ promise to your consumers. How does your business benefit consumers? What are the actual functional benefits of your business?
- Who is the business for? This refers to your business’ target audience. Think of the demographics of your target audience, such as age, gender, profession and characteristics such as personality traits. If your product or service appeals to multiple demographics, take note of this.
- When is this business for? This refers to the time when your product or service will be used.
- Who is this business against? This refers to your competitors whose customers are possible to capture.
- What makes this business different? In order to be successful, your business needs to be different from your competition. Think of what sets your business apart. What does your business do differently to the competition? Is there anything your business does better than competitors? Let your potential customers know.
Brainstorming these questions helps you compartmentalize the positioning of your business’ brand. With strong and focused positioning, a brand is more likely to succeed and be more easily identified by consumers.
Suggestion 2: Obtain a Business Credit Card
Now that your business is up and off the ground, it is important that you start separating your personal and business finances. A great way to do this is to apply for a business-specific credit card and use it solely for business transactions. Obtaining a business credit card and using it responsibly can help you track your business expenses and profits, build your business credit scores, and simplify tax filings. A large mistake that business owners often make is mixing their personal and business finances and expenses. Mixing business and personal expenses on a personal credit card can quickly eat up your credit limit and even potentially max your personal card out. Doing this can cause a drop in your personal credit scores, making it harder for a business owner to apply for personal credit, such as car loans or mortgages.
Business credit cards are designed to assist in funding for small-to-medium businesses. They provide businesses with numerous advantages, which vary from card to card. Such advantages include:
- Separation of business and personal expenses
- Higher credit limits than personal credit cards
- Rewards like cash back, miles, and points on various business expenses
- Benefits including extended warranties, purchase protections, and discounts on certain business expenses
- The potential to increase business credit scores, allowing for better business loan terms and high-tier business credit card rewards
- Better cash flow management, allowing 20-30 days to pay business costs without interest
How to Choose the Right Business Card for Your Business
Like personal credit cards, there are numerous types of business credit cards that provide varying suites of rewards and benefits. Therefore the “best” business credit card on the market is subjective; it is the card that is going to bring the most value to your business. While the right card for your specific business is subjective, there are a number of general guidelines to follow when choosing a business credit card:
- Make sure the card provider reports to the business credit bureaus – Using a business credit card responsibly is a fantastic way to build your business credit scores. However, not all card providers actually report good card behaviour to the business credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet). When shopping for a card, make sure to ask potential providers on whether they report back to the bureaus.
- Check if the value of the card is worth the annual fee – If a potential business credit card has an annual fee, make sure that the value it brings your business is worth the cost.
- Compare signup bonuses – Businesses generally have higher expenditures than individuals. Therefore, a signup bonus should reflect this by being larger than that of a personal card.
- Compare card rewards and benefits – The best business credit cards will offer cash back or points on your most frequent business purchases. Also compare card benefits and perks as different benefits suites will suit different businesses. For example, a business card that offers numerous travel related benefits will give significant value to a business owner who needs to fly often.
Take note that to get a higher tier business credit card without a personal credit check, you need good business credit scores. Generally most small businesses have yet to build strong business credit scores. For those who lack well-established business credit scores, there is the option of a secured business credit card. While the rewards and benefits are less than that of an unsecured card, it still offers the benefits of separating personal and business finances. A secured business credit card can also help you build business credit, which can allow you to apply for better cards in the future.
There are numerous business cards on the market suited to a range of different business types. When researching business credit cards always keep your business aims in mind. Make sure a business credit card’s rewards and benefits give as much value to your business as possible.
Suggestion 3: Increase Efficiency with HR Software
Whether a business is 3 people or 3000, its success is reliant on its employees. As your small business grows in number, the right HR software can help streamline multiple tasks and increase your team’s performance and the business’ overall efficiency. Here are three ways HR software, like Effortless HR, could increase the efficiency of your business:
It Reduces Business Costs and Saves Time
The biggest benefits of HR software is that it saves money and time. Investing in a good HR system can negate the need to hire multiple HR staff and therefore the costs associated with it. Improving efficiency and productivity through streamlining more banal tasks also saves money and time.
It Streamlines Payroll and Time Off
Payroll management is often a burdensome task, especially as your business grows in manpower. With Effortless HR, employees can manage their payroll preferences, time off, and access any other necessary information without the assistance of an HR employee. Employees can access and update their information easily through an employee self service portal.
It Assists with Financial Record Keeping
HR software often contains tools that benefit record keeping and accounting, such as payment tracking. HR software can allow your business to keep better track of your financial records, which helps with tax filing and applying for business tax incentives.
The path to growing a successful business is not a concrete one. However, these three tips can help business owners increase efficiency and organisation, giving them better chances of success and growing their business.