Potter entrepreneur using laptop in workshop

The Dos and Don’ts of Growing Your Small Business

This small business story may have a familiar
ring to it—

·           It started with a great
idea

·           The great idea turned into
a product

·           The product goes to market

·           Customers buy the product;
sales grow!

·           Inexplicably, sales fall
off, and growth slows

Sometimes called the “hockey stick” curve,
this growth pattern is a common one. Wondering what next step to take, business
leaders know they need to do something
to invigorate sales. But what?

The short answer: Innovate!

Experts point to innovation as a critical
contributor to business health and growth. An innovative company is one that
can create new ideas and put them into play quickly. With innovation being so
critical, what are the dos and don’ts to fostering an inventive spirit within
your company?

Do
have a flexible strategy

Setting goals and a long-term strategy to
reach those goals is an essential function of an effective business leader.
However, a business that can’t flex to changing market situations is going to
struggle to keep up.

Change the game by looking for market “white”
space or customer problems that haven’t yet been solved. Rethink, retool, or
repackage your current products and services. Get out of a rut by bringing new
products to the market, finding new customer niches or implementing leaner
business processes.

Don’t
ignore your customers on social media

Savvy companies understand the value of
listening to their customers. Instead of continually trying to anticipate
customer needs, they rely on customers to help them create new value. When you
are in touch with customer problems, questions and demands, you can discover
what will really impact their buying behaviors.

Not listening to customers can create
negative word of mouth and lost business. Surprisingly, however, a recent
article
reported that only 13% of customers who
interacted with companies via social media ever received a response. Social
media is an exploding channel to get feedback from your client base and
clearly, ignoring it can be bad for business!

Do
encourage risk-taking

Would you believe that many of the top
companies have a high failure rate for new product innovations? In fact, some
even encourage the failure of new ideas! These companies know that growth means
taking chances and trying new things. Moreover, they recognize that many—if not
most—new ideas won’t make it.

Businesses that don’t periodically go out on
a limb are likely to see diminishing revenues over time. To minimize the risk
of losing too much investment on new ventures, start small, get into trial
market quickly and move onto the next one if it doesn’t work.

Do
consider local outsourcing to stay agile and flexible

It’s clear that innovation has many potential
benefits, but it also comes with risks. Instead of jumping in immediately with
both feet, you might consider incremental changes such as refreshing packaging
or creating new products by combining multiple SKU’s from your current line-up.
Outsourced “kitting services” can help you do this quickly and
cost-effectively.

Working with a local outsourcing company like
Ohio Valley Goodwill Industrial Services will help you innovate your products
and streamline your processes. You can be more responsive to customer feedback
more quickly than going it alone. Additionally, businesses which partner with
Ohio Valley Goodwill for services such as kitting contribute to our mission of
providing meaningful employment to individuals with disabilities. It’s a
win-win for your business and your community!

Want to learn more about the benefits of
outsourcing business services to Ohio Valley Goodwill? Contact us
and take a free tour of our facilities today!

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