If it’s time to grow or expand your small business, your first step may be to acquire funding to help support your ambitions. With a little extra money lining your company coffers, you can do great things for your business—if it is used wisely.
If you’ve already devised a step-by-step plan for how you’ll expand your small business into a nationwide empire, you’re off to a good start. Knowing exactly how you intend to use a working capital loan makes it easier to acquire the funding you need. But like many small business owners, you may not have a clear idea of exactly what you should do to grow your business. What next?
Making a plan before you start spending will help ensure that your funds end up in the areas of your business that need it the most. Read on to discover 6 easy strategies to improve your business’s performance and maximize your funding dollars:
1. Improve your customer service
If you are searching for ways to employ your small business funding, start with one of the most important facets of operating a small business: customer service. To fully understand what your business needs to do to improve in this area, take a look at any customer complaints you’ve received, read through your online reviews, speak to your customer-facing employees, and observe how your people interact with your customers.
Some of the most common customer complaints include:
- Disengaged employees – An exchange with an unhappy employee can put customers off patronizing your business entirely. Everyone has bad days, but there are some things you can do to ensure your employees are providing the best level of service possible, even with difficult customers (see strategy #2 for more information).
- Ineffective methods of communication – There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get in touch with a business if a product or service is defective or a question needs answering only to find them impossible to reach. If this is an issue your client base complains about, consider investing in platforms and services that will allow your customers to reach you quickly and easily.
- Organization and cleanliness – Customers will often complain if the layout of your store or business is confusing, items are crammed in together and hard to shop, or the space itself is unclean. If this is a complaint that has come up in your reviews, it may be time to consider investing in an expansion or a move to a larger location. You may also want to consider investing money in a full-time cleaning staff.
- Condition of the establishment – On the other hand, if your customers complain about your physical establishment (how it looks, the ambiance, etc.), this can indicate that it’s time to consult an interior designer who specializes in customer-friendly spaces and renovations. You can choose to renovate the whole space or start from scratch and build a better branch in a new, more desirable location.
2. Hire, train, and retain competent employees
Since the way that customers are treated greatly affects your business’s revenue, you may want to use your loan or advance to acquire and train competent employees that share the same vision as you. By investing money in your employees and their development—and paying them what they deserve—you are likely to see an increase in their job satisfaction and find you have greater employee retention, surrounding your business with happy workers who are invested in their jobs and the success of the company.
3. Expand your product line
In most cases, expanding a product or service line is costly. Aside from the fact that you have to make a new product or develop a new service altogether—which means investing in research and development—the risks are high given that your business may be entering a market they haven’t competed in yet. In spite of this, expanding your product or service offering can be a great way to improve your small business by gaining more customers or upselling existing customers.
Most successful product line or service expansions venture into areas that are related to the business’ core product, keeping it relevant to their client base and making it easy to promote add-on purchases. For example, a company that manufactures shoes could expand their product line to incorporate things like shoelaces and socks, polish, cleaners, and waterproof or winterizing sprays, or even shoe repair services.
4. Invest in marketing and promotions
The cost of effectively promoting your business can be prohibitive for many small businesses. Many business owners choose to use their funding to invest in new marketing and promotional strategies that will help increase your brand awareness, such as:
- Strategic local marketing campaigns and partnerships
- Creating a new website that is capable of selling products online
- Starting a digital advertising program, including search engine or social media ads, or working with social media influencers
- Sponsoring local teams or events
5. Acquire inventory or raw materials
If you operate a seasonal business, you may want to use your funding to acquire inventory ahead of your busy season.
Some businesses, such as construction or manufacturing businesses, may also require raw materials on hand to pitch new projects. A can help you acquire these raw materials so you are ready to take advantage of opportunities to take on larger, more prestigious products. Alternative lenders like Greenbox Capital® can provide the funding you need to acquire inventory or raw materials in as little as one business day.
6. Expand geographically
If product expansion is not in the cards for your company, you could use your small business funding to expand to a new location in another part of the country, within the state, or even within the same city. Expansion to a new location can increase your exposure and the number of customers you are able to serve.
Like the other three tips above, this method can be quite costly. To make sure that your investments reap the benefits of this type of expansion, begin the process with detailed research on the local demographics, preferences, and culture—even within the same city, these considerations can vary wildly. This way, you will know which locations will be a good fit for your business, target audience, and product offering.
If you’re ready to grow your business and have acquired a working capital loan to support your expansion, there are many ways you could use your funding to support your goals:
- Improve your customer service
- Hire, train, and retain competent employees
- Expand your product line
- Invest in marketing and promotions
- Acquire inventory and raw materials
- Expand geographically
Here at Greenbox Capital, we are committed to your continued success and will strive to help you improve your small business in any way we can. From guidance on where to invest the money to strategies for improving business performance, and suggestions for ways to improve your small business, consider us your both your cheerleader and your partner.