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6 Tips for Growing a Small Business
To succeed with growing a small business, it is essential to have great organizational and planning skills, as well as having a flexible approach to work. Before starting a new business venture, it is important to put in the time for initial planning before opening the doors. Here are a few things to consider for the greater likelihood of success in the future:
In order to set up and grow the business it helps to be very organized. An organized person is that much better at staying on top of things and completing tasks. A simple strategy to achieve this is a to-do list. This can be updated daily to give a complete overview of what needs to be done on any given day. Also, this is a great way to avoid forgetting tasks or leaving things until the last-minute.
Maintain detailed records
Any successful business will keep and maintain detailed records. A major benefit of record keeping is the ability to constantly know the financial position of a business and make it easier to see potential growth options or challenges in the future. Also, if things do start to look bad, there is more time to start creating strategies to overcome those hurdles.
Analyze the competition
Healthy competition has the potential to breed the best possible results. To grow the successful business it is always worth checking the local competition to see if there is anything to learn that could help improve your business.
Try to be creative in the process of setting up your business and think up ideas that could potentially make your business stand out from the rest. It is worth remembering that you won't have the complete business knowledge when starting out, so you should always be open to new approaches and ideas to expand the business.
Even with a lot of time spent on the planning stage, there is no guarantee the business will start to earn money straightaway. It can take a little time and marketing to get a new business recognized, so it is essential to stay focused and continue to work on the short-term goals.
Understand future risks
In the early stages, it may be necessary to take one or two calculated risks in the process of growing the business. If the worst-case scenario of a particular risk isn't too devastating it may be worth taking the risk in the hope of a tremendous reward in return.
Small Businesses Can Leverage Machine Learning Just Like The Big Boys
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Expert Author Robert K Janis
How would you define a small business, the number of personnel, the size of the budget, or sales?
However you define your own small business, it too can take advantage of the AI/machine learning revolution that is now taking place. Yes, small business owner, you too can leverage AI just like the big guys.
The Trickle Down Affect Of AI
Artificial intelligence has actually been around for a long time. Launched in the 1950s, it was initially used to translate between languages like say English to Russian or visa versa. In each successive decade, we have seen advances in the technology so that today it can be utilized in almost any trade of business.
Just like the development of new technologies in other fields, after awhile, the cost has reduced as capabilities have expanded. For example, thanks to the U.S mission to the moon, overtime the cost of computer chips dropped significantly. Moreover, as the luxury segment of the car industry has developed new safety technologies, the costs have declined allowing the technology to now trickle down to moderate and even lower end car models.
In addition, the cloud, a computer concept that allows individuals and businesses to gain access to software that they may not have on their own computers, has resulted in lower costs for utilizing technologies.
Moreover, because computer power doubles every 18 months, there is access to more powerful and cheaper processing capability. This means that there is more potential to implement AI solutions.
Thanks to these advances, 45 percent of work activities could potentially be automated using today's technologies and machine learning can provide 80 percent of that, according to a study performed by McKinsey, a business analytics company.
Business Segments That Use AI Cost Effectively
Today AI or machine learning can be used in many aspects of a business operation in a cost effective way. For example, businesses are using AI to improve customer relations. Its use decreases costs while customizing assistance to customers.
It is also being used in the field of human resources to automate elements of the hiring process and assists executives in making decisions.
AI is also being used to train a workforce and improve forecasting. For example, one company, Udacity, an educational organization, improved sales by 50 percent when it introduced chatbots to its sales team. A chatbot is a computer program that can communicate via written conversation. The software assists humans on closing a sale based on sets of words, conversations and information collected from the customer.
Tremendous advancements in algorithms, data and infrastructure and the costs of acquiring them have helped to decrease the cost of AI overall making it affordable for small businesses.
Top Two Formulas for Creating a Small Business Strategy
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Expert Author Arlene Lagman-Tabamo
If you think that a business strategy is not important because you only have a small venture, then you need some serious rethinking to do. Creating a strategy is a crucial task of a business owner. Even if you only have a garage-type operation or an Internet-based home enterprise, the strategic direction that you will set for your business will determine your failure or success.
Unfortunately, most small business owners are intimidated by the word strategy. They will simply create a short-term business plan for their weekly or monthly operations. If you are following this approach, then you will have a difficult time transforming your small business into a big and highly successful corporation.
You have to remember that creating a business strategy need not be too complicated. There are simple ways of devising a strategic plan for your small venture. Here are the top two models or formulas that could help you.
The Goal-Focus Graph
Creating a strategy graph that focuses on your bigger goals is the easiest and simplest way to formulate a strategic plan. You do not have to earn a business degree to create the goal-focus graph. In fact, you can finish creating the strategy in a few hours.
What you need to do is to get a clean sheet of bond paper. Consider this paper as a representation of your 5-year strategic plan.
The bottom edge of the paper is year zero while the top-most part is the fifth year. On the bottom part of the paper, write the current status of your business. Then you should write your five-year goal on the upper edge of the graph.
The blank space of the paper should represent the x-number of years or months and you must set concrete and quantifiable milestones for each year or month. Make sure to set the major tasks that you have to accomplish to reach a milestone. Once you complete the goal-focus graph, then you will now have a working business strategy which should guide you for the next five years.
Following the Kaizen Model
The Kaizen model is a Japanese invention focusing on performance and productivity. It is practically a hands-on business strategy which could become the unique culture of your enterprise. Even the global MNCs of Japan are following the Kaizen model to chalk-up more achievements.
The Kaizen business strategy is not complicated. In order to simplify your approach, you need to focus your efforts on improving two things: customer relationship and employee morale.
Your intra-corporate strategy should be centered on teamwork, quality, rewards system, discipline, and thrift. On the customer or sales side, the focus of your strategy should be customer satisfaction, giving greater value, building lasting relationships, and maintaining cordial communications.
If you apply the Kaizen principle to your small business, then you are already half-way to your success. This is a proven business strategy that promotes greater customer loyalty and harmonious relationships within the workplace.
Creating a business strategy for your small business is not difficult. You can easily create a strategy as long as your business goals and objectives are clear. Once you have created a strategy for your business, you have to apply it consciously in order to achieve greater success.