by Nigel Hilton

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Every big business starts as a small business, so there’s no reason to sell yourself short. If your company wants to rise to the top then you should pursue that dream. Business growth is mainly about good ideas and only partly about investments. In the modern world, there are plenty of ways for a small company to grow without substantial financial backing. You’d be surprised by the impact that you can have simply by making tiny changes to your business model. If you need inspiration then here are some ideas that could propel your small business to the top of its industry.

Aim to boost the productivity of your business model.

The best place to start on your mission to propel your small company to the top of its industry is to aim to boost the productivity of your business model. Think about ways in which your business could achieve more on a daily basis. If you can help your employees to increase their productivity then you’ll be making your company’s money go further. You can use technology to help you with this. Automating certain menial tasks such as data entry and other forms of admin could help you out. You might even want to get an iPad cash register for your employees in customer-facing roles. This would make the entire payment process so much quicker, and it’d make a better impression on customers as a result.

You can also boost the productivity of your business model by thinking up new ways to motivate your workforce. Giving them better tools can improve the efficiency of your company, but you’ll reach a brick wall unless you keep finding new ways to push your team forwards. Obviously, you shouldn’t crack the whip; that can have the adverse effect of demotivating members of staff. Instead, you should give workers an incentive to work harder. Offer rewards such as bonuses or even early finishes to the workday on Friday for the best workers every week. People will want to work hard for the recognition and the rewards they receive. You just need to give your workforce a reason to do more than the bare minimum. If they know they’re getting paid for doing a certain level of work then what reason do they have to work any harder? Show your team that you value them. Show them that what they get out of your business depends on what they put into it.

Outsource certain aspects of your operations.

Another idea that could propel your small business to the top of its industry is outsourcing certain aspects of your operations. It’s a smart investment because you’ll be boosting the output of your company without spending too much money. You’ll be getting the help of professional workers without having to spend a fortune on salaries for more full-time employees. Growing your company intelligently is all about maintaining quality control in a fiscally responsible way. In other words, you’re trying to invest lightly without cutting corners in terms of the overall service you offer. Outsourcing is cheaper than hiring full-time employees, but you won’t be compromising in terms of the quality of service as long as you seek the help of a professional outsourcing business.

Of course, outsourcing certain job roles isn’t just a move you can make to grow in a more cost-effective way. It could also be a way to grow your business by hiring the most professional help possible. You could consider outsourcing web development, for instance. Your company might not specialize in anything tech-related, so it could be hugely beneficial to seek the help of programmers and professional designers. By getting help from experts, you’ll be able to design a website that not only impresses customers but search engines. In turn, you’ll rank higher on result pages. If there’s any aspect of your business that’s suffering as the result of insufficient knowledge or experience in a certain area then outsourcing could be your answer.

Find the USP that sets you apart from the crowd.

Finding your USP (unique selling point) is essential to the long-term success of your business. If your small company is going to climb to the top of its industry then it needs to stand out from all the competitors that are selling similar products or services. Otherwise, why are consumers going to choose you? People would much rather opt for the business with long-standing brand recognition than the new kid on the block. However, heads might start to turn if you bring something new to the table. You need to make your brand stand out from the crowd, and that all starts with you putting yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. What do they want to see from a business such as yours?

If you don’t know what the average customer in your target audience wants from a company in your marketplace then you need to do your research. Encourage people to fill in surveys (offer rewards such as freebies or discounts in order to motivate them to do so). Get opinions on certain aspects of your business and your industry as a whole. Get as much feedback as possible so that you can learn something about your existing and potential customers. You’ll start to build a picture of your ideal customer, and you’ll also be able to find problems in your industry. Once you spot problems, you can start to develop solutions that help you to distinguish yourself from your rivals. That’s how you develop a USP. You don’t have to create the next iPhone; you just have to deliver a solution that your competitors have failed to deliver.

Get your customers talking.

Word-of-mouth marketing has always been one of the strongest ways for a business to grow, and that remains true to this day. If you want to propel your small business to the top of its industry then focus on your existing client base. If you have 100 clients and they each encourage 5 of their friends to join your business before the end of the week then you’ll suddenly have 600 clients. Don’t underestimate the influence that each of your customers can have. You just need to give them a reason to start spreading the word. Perhaps you could start a referral scheme. If your clients see that they’ll get redeemable points for discounts and other deals when they refer their friends to your company then they’ll definitely start talking about your business. Of course, simply offering exceptional customer service is a great way to ensure that people spread the word about your small company.