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September 1, 2019

BY LIZ ILLG

As a small-business owner, I know how challenging it can be to grow your business. I started with just one pet-grooming shop in Phoenix, Arizona, blindly figuring out next steps as I went along. It wasn’t until I opened my second shop that I realized I was in desperate need of an organizational rehaul. I needed to put some serious systems in place if I was going to truly scale my business. Now, five shops and six years later, I’ve gotten into a groove in running my business. Does this mean I no longer experience ups and downs? Certainly not—but that’s part of the secret. Knowing that your business will go through cycles and being able to roll with the tide is essential. Be sure to follow the four tips below if you’re looking to take your business to new heights—no matter what industry you’re in.

1. Build Systems
When it comes to scaling your business, building systems may be the most important thing you can do. As a small-business owner, you know everything there is to know about your business. But it’s key to remember that no business owner should be the sole keeper of everything there is to know about their business. It’s critical to create both operational and training manuals for daily use as well as for emergencies.

When I opened my second pet-grooming shop, I realized I needed to put everything I knew about my business down on paper. There was no way I was going to succeed in building out more shops if I didn’t have a concrete document that detailed everything from administrative functions and marketing materials to information on vendors, financials and more.

2. Customers Matter
Whether you’re selling a product or a service, remember this: You would not be in business without your customers. Now, read that last sentence again. Always, always keep that in mind! In fact, your customer service policies should be detailed in both your operational manual and training manuals for your business. You need to make sure your employees know how to deal with customers in all types of situations.

A great motto to follow is this one: The customer may not always be right, but they don’t need to know that. It’s key to treat even the most frustrating customers with respect—otherwise, you risk losing not only their business but the business of those that they share their negative experience with. On that note, be sure to respond to customer feedback with grace and a solution to make things right. Your business won’t grow if you haven’t gained the trust of your customers.

3. Engage Online
While this goes along with my last point, I really want to drive home the point of engagement. In today’s technology-driven society, your business will not grow if you refuse to “get with the times.” This means creating various social media profiles and engaging with your audience on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. Create contests, take polls and keep your customers up-to-date with the latest happenings in your business.

Creating a blog is another great way to connect with your customers and get their feedback on certain topics. Engaging with your audience is an excellent way to grow your business because you’ll have a better idea of what products and/or services your customers are actually looking for. In fact, we have the ability to talk to our customers directly in a way we never have before—take advantage of that!

4. Delegate Tasks: The final piece of advice I have for you to grow your small business is to learn how to delegate out smaller tasks to your employees or freelancers. This will allow you to really focus on the big picture and hone in on all the ideas that will help take your business to new heights. I would not have five pet grooming shops today if I didn’t learn to delegate work. It can be hard to do at first—why take the time to teach someone something you already know how to do so well? Trust me when I say that it’s time well spent!

The sooner you can move away from being bogged down with day-to-day happenings in the business, the sooner you can start to expand your business. As long as you have the right people on your team, you’ll be sure to succeed.

With these four tips, you’ll feel more organized as you move forward in growing your business. While it can seem overwhelming to put all these pieces into place, it will greatly benefit you moving ahead—trust me! Need help creating systems for your business? Let’s chat. In fact, you can learn more about my services right here. I’d love to take one thing off your plate so that you can focus on your company’s long-term growth and success.

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