Small business development strategies help new companies to grow.
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Business development strategies guide small companies through growth by focusing on vital areas of operations, including marketing, partnerships and employee development. Effective strategic management can help new businesses to navigate the often unstable early years, helping them to become profitable and gain a solid position in their industry.
Focus on Marketing
Spend a significant amount of time on marketing and public relations efforts in the early stages of your small business. Your marketing budget may level off over time, but it should be one of your largest expenses for at least the first year of operations. Create a buzz for your company by reaching out to potential customers in innovative ways. Build a social networking presence and establish a presence at local trade events. Offer price and product promotions to encourage first-time purchases. Maintain a steady advertising presence in addition to reaching out to customers in the community. Place ads in magazines, on the web, and on television and radio outlets consistently during the growth stage.
Form Strategic Partnerships
Strategic partnerships can strengthen your competitive advantage in the marketplace by allowing you to leverage the capabilities of existing companies. Forming a partnership with a distribution company, for example, can help you to get your products into the hands of online or mail-order customers reliably with a minimal investment of time and capital. Seek out companies in lines of business that supplement your own when forming partnerships. You may even consider seeking partnerships with your competitors, as certain agricultural producers have done, to strengthen overall demand for their products.
Related Reading: The Development of a Small Scale Business
Invest in Employees
Employees can make or break a new business, and investing time in employee development can lead to increased productivity and efficiency in your company. Provide growth opportunities for your early stage employees by giving them access to information and decision-making responsibilities. Stretch your employees' capabilities, and foster a culture that encourages creativity and innovation. Allow employees to submit strategic ideas, and to take the lead on viable initiatives they recommend.
Solicit Customer Feedback
Solicit frequent feedback from your customers via your social media presence, customer surveys and informal conversations. Allow your product and service mix to evolve in response to customer feedback in the early stages. Do not hesitate to add or remove features from your products and services, and offer price promotions to encourage existing customers to try new product/service variations.