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6 Best Practices to Grow Your Small Business

Courtesy of Walmart Business

As a business owner, you're responsible for every success and culpable for every failure within your organization. That can be a heavy burden, it can also cause you to focus the day-to-day and leave you blind to long-term growth strategies or the next phase of your business. As we head into the end of the year, now's the perfect time to step back and chart different ways to improve your business.

You'll want to examine all aspects of your business. That includes new customer acquisition and retention, hiring and training new employees, ongoing and future sales, marketing campaigns, the financials, and your processes for re-ordering and stocking supplies.

But don't fall into the trap of assigning all the work to yourself! Take a moment to think holistically about your business and then ask for help; you cannot do it alone. Here are six tips to help you free up more time and identify resources that can help you keep your focus on your top priority: growing your company.

1. Meet Customer Expectations

Always remember that your customers have options and treat every purchase as an opportunity to refresh and reinforce their loyalty. If your products or services don't meet expectations, deliveries don't arrive when scheduled, or if you fail to answer questions or address issues promptly, they will quickly turn to your competitors. It's imperative to keep the lines of communication with your customers open across multiple platforms.

2. Find Whitespace

Don't let your business become stagnant. Determine your top competitors and compare their products or services to yours to identify gaps you can exploit to differentiate your offerings. Start by searching online, and if you operate a brick-and-mortar location, take a walk in your neighborhood to conduct some first-hand research.

3. Build a Toolset That Works for You and Your Business

Look for ways to automate and streamline your business operations. For example, the Spend Analytics tool is one of the many ways Walmart Business+ members save time and money with a fresh perspective on their spend. It provides insightful data, including spend by user, top categories and items, so business owners can identify spending patterns to make informed budgeting decisions and implement better buying policies.

4. Attract and Retain Talent with the Right Partners

The right talent can make or break a business—and is crucial in alleviating the feeling "to do it all yourself". Don't hesitate to ask for help. Consider hiring a part-time HR consultant who can handle writing job descriptions, recruiting and conducting initial screener interviews - what might seem like an additional expense can dramatically decrease the time it takes to make a hire and accelerate your ability to focus on growth elsewhere. Incentivize your employees to make referrals, as good talent often knows where to find more. Above all, prioritize the highest and best use of your time: building the business, one employee at a time, and empowering them to do great things that raise all those around them.

5. Make Feasibility Plans to Manage Your Budget

A sound feasibility plan that outlines all business operations, marketing, balance sheets and income statements is key to managing your budget effectively so you can be confident when making big decisions.

No matter what industry you're in, there will be times when your business is operating at its peak and times when things are slow. Managing your spend wisely during peak seasons will help ensure you are still successful during slower periods. Even if you have an accountant who handles that work, you still need to understand it to tell your story when talking to employees, partners or when seeking financing.

6. Find Your Support Team

Your entrepreneurial journey doesn't have to be a solo one. Your local chambers of commerce, professional networks and your fellow entrepreneurs can be invaluable sources for advice. Also, schedule time to participate in professional networking events to meet people who can help with tasks and projects outside of your area of expertise, like marketing or accounting.

A thread weaves through all six of these tips: you don't have to take everything on by yourself. Find people who can help with the day-to-day tasks like recruiting talent and managing your finances. Use technology to automate manual tasks to save time and money. Embracing these tips will simplify your operations and amplify your business potential.

We want to be a partner for you and have published a Business Priority Planning Guide to help guide you through your business planning process. Download your copy today and use the operational insights, planning prompts and expert guidance to help you gain clarity and make informed decisions.