10 Easy Ways To Shake Up—And Grow—Your Small Business
Rieva Lesonsky, forbes.com
Has your business become ... well ... boring? I think most entrepreneurs share my passion for “shaking things up.” But if you need some prodding, here are 10 simple ways to make changes to your life and business that will grow your company, too.
1. Update the technology you use in your business
Did you know that older PCs can make your small business employees up to 29% less productive? According to Intel, every 5-year-old PC in your business could be costing you $17,000 a year in lost productivity. New computers pay for themselves in productivity and help you compete more effectively. Review your team’s hardware and software and look for ways to power up your business, whether that’s more powerful laptops or more sophisticated business software.
2. Organize your office
The KonMari craze may have died down a bit, but there’s still value in getting organized. Being surrounded by piles of paper or old file folders of documents can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. You can claim some calm by digitizing documents you need to keep and shredding the rest. Make sure to protect documents with sensitive financial or personal data by securely encrypting and storing them.
3. Learn something new to grow your business
Take a lesson in something you know nothing about (except that it will help grow your business) or become an expert in a subject you’re already somewhat familiar with. It’s easy to educate yourself these days, whether by using online tutorials, on-demand courses, or local workshops and industry events.
4. Break out of your comfort zone
You’d be surprised how much taking a calculated risk boosts your business confidence. Determine to tackle something that challenges you, like speaking at your industry’s next big conference. You can also benefit from personal challenges like learning white water rafting or any activity that gets you out of your comfort zone.
5. Grow your network
Expand your circle of business connections by contacting someone you admire and inviting them to meet up in person. Know someone you’d like to partner with? Have lunch and share ideas for a strategic partnership. Set up an advisory group of other local business owners and get together once a month for ideas and inspiration. Join a networking group or business organization you’ve never attended before.
6. Expand your horizons
Thinking small doesn’t serve the universe (or your business). Without big dreams, your business will stall out. Envision your wildest dream for your business and write it down. Then make a step-by-step plan for how to actually achieve it. Every dream can become a reality when you tackle it one step at a time.
7. Become an influencer
Not just on social media—in real life. You are your business’s best marketing tool, so put yourself out there! A B2B entrepreneur can influence the business community by speaking at conferences or writing useful content. A B2C business owner can get known in the community by sponsoring local events or working with local charities.
Small business owners burn out when they try to do everything themselves. You can’t do it all, so think about what you’re willing to delegate, and hand it off to employees or independent contractors. You’ll have more time to focus on what you do best when you’re not doing everything.
9. Practice self-care
Your health and the health of your business are inextricably tied. As a busy business owner, regular self-care can seem like a mirage. Try making small changes. Sleep a bit more, eat a bit healthier, and move your body a bit more every day. Set aside time for prayer, meditation, or any practice that recharges you mentally and emotionally.
10. Review your business finances
Many business owners fail to stay on top of their cash flow, and this can be a fatal mistake. Start reviewing your cash flow monthly (or more often) to keep your business healthy. Look at your sales and financial projections and make sure they’re on track. If you have plans that might require financing in the near future, look into your alternatives and check your business’s credit rating to make sure it’s in good shape.