How do you continue to grow your small business in an increasingly uncertain economy? Itâ€™s a question many entrepreneurs are asking themselves, and the answer may lie in taking a relatively simple approach to growing your business.
Here are five pragmatic steps businesses can take as they work their way to profitability.
1. Right size your business
One of the biggest costs for small businesses is their office space. With more professionals working remotely, traditional, long-term leases are underutilized and expensive. The capital invested in property would be better directed at growing your company. Businesses looking ahead to 2013 should consider where they need to be and for how long. Does your business need a permanent office? Are you scalable? If your employees are not all in the office at the same time, would flexible arrangements like drop-in lounges make sense? Ask yourself these questions before you commit to something that wonâ€™t work in six monthsâ€™ time.
2. Get flexible so your business can react to change
Explore todayâ€™s many flexible working options such as co-working, home-working and staggered working hours to reduce stressful commuting, improve morale and boost productivity. Give workers the option to work from home occasionally or from a business center closer to home. With the ongoing struggle to improve work-life balance, giving employees more control over their work day will help retain your best talent.
3. Reach out for new customers
You donâ€™t have to be the victim of a sluggish economy. This could be the perfect time to take assess and go for new opportunities in new markets. Businesses that have an address in the same city as their customers and prospects have an advantage over out-of-town competitors. Use a virtual office (prestigious address and select office support). One challenge of expansion is securing a large enough client base to justify an additional office. With no upfront capital required and minimal risk, a virtual office solves that problem.
4. Leverage Technology in lieu of Business Travel
Thereâ€™s a range of mobile technology that can help you cut down on your business travel costs. Videconferencing, Skype and online meetings can keep you in touch with colleagues and clients without the hassle of traveling.
5. Learn from your mistakes
Symbolically, the New Year represent a clean slate your business. Make the time to evaluate what worked and where there is room for improvement heading into 2013. Did you do enough research about your customers? Did you spend enough time analyzing your data? Did your analysis confirm your assumptions? Every business will make a mistake. Itâ€™s what you do with the knowledge you now have that will make the difference.
Grant Greenberg is responsible for all PR and social media activity in North America for Regus, the worldâ€™s largest provider of flexible workplaces. In this role, Grant is responsible for building Regus into a nationally recognized brand by designing communications programs that deliver measurable results across multiple channels. Prior to working at Regus, Grant was an award-winning broadcast journalist in New York, Boston and Florida. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelorâ€™s degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives in New York City. Contact Grant directly: Grant.Greenberg@regus.com.