BUSINESS STRATEGY & GROWTH • February 24, 2015
4 minutes Read
We’re proud to announce that today marks CAN Capital’s 17th birthday. Since 1998, we’ve been providing small business owners with access to capital to help grow their businesses, and to date have delivered access to over $4.7 billion in working capital across 543 unique industries, including restaurants, medical offices and spas, just to name a few.
To mark this occasion, here are 17 ways small business owners can use funding provided by CAN Capital to help grow their businesses:
1. Expand your inventory to bring in new products. For instance, if you’re a retailer focused on clothing, you might consider expanding your offerings to include shoes and accessories. These new products could help grow your customer base as your store becomes more of a “one stop shop.”
2. Open a location in another city. Once you have an established business, opening a second location can help to grow your brand and customer reach. A successful restaurant that is seeing consistent growth at its flagship location, could consider opening up in a city nearby. It is important though, to be sure you only take this step when your “home” location has shown steady success.
3. Run promotions. If you’re a consultant, offer a free initial consultation. If you’re selling goods, offer free samples. Having a giveaway will help to drive awareness for your business and get new patrons in the door. People will be more likely to try something if it is discounted or free, and if they like your product or service, they could become a future, loyal customer.
4. Hire extra hands. If your business is experiencing rapid growth, you will likely need some extra support to keep things running smoothly. Consider hiring interns, freelancers or independent contractors on a temporary basis to fill any gaps on your staff while you determine what your business will look like amid this period of growth.
5. License your business. By attaching your firm or product to a large or more popular licensing partner, you will have the opportunity to potentially increase revenue and overall customer reach.
6. Consider franchising. Do you think your business could be the next Subway or Forever 21? If your business is growing rapidly, and you’ve already expanded to multiple locations, this could be a good next step. Be sure to carefully evaluate your business and develop a comprehensive strategy taking into account national appeal and current industry trends.
7. Invest in online advertising. There is a multitude of ways to advertise online so a good starting point is to think about where your customers spend their time on the internet. One growing strategy in online advertising is direct guaranteed programmatic. Programmatic allows for instant buying of relevant ad space that allows you to market to targeted customers who may be interested in your products or services.
8. Leverage paid social media promotions. Many small businesses use social sites like Facebook to engage directly with consumers. If your target audience is active on social media, you may want to consider paying to highlight important posts or messages from your social page. This paid amplification will help to promote your business’ news in order to reach a larger audience and potentially drive more business through your door. Sites like Facebook have amplification programs you can easily take advantage of to get started.
9. Invest in your employees. The success of a business is dependent on the success of its employees. With extra funding, you could offer additional incentives for full-time employees to help maintain employee retention and make your business attractive to future job candidate. This might include offering memberships to professional development organizations in their field, paying for gym memberships to encourage healthy living or even giving an extra vacation day for the employee’s birthday. Small perks excite employees and incentivize them to work harder for your business.
10. Offer additional training. Another way to invest money back into your employees is to give them access to more training. Training or continuing education can improve overall employee satisfaction, while also producing a more effective and productive work environment. This ultimately helps yield higher profits for your business.
11. Upgrade technologies. Technology changes rapidly, so it’s likely your small business could use an upgrade to the latest and greatest. You could consider using extra funding to invest in a new POS system or upgrade your computers to increase efficiency.
12. Make security a priority. Data breaches and cyber attacks are an ongoing problem for even the most established companies with high-tech infrastructures. In order to keep your and your customers’ data safe, it’s important to invest in online protections such as cyber insurance or data storage devices.
13. Revisit your insurance policy. Another important security investment is business insurance, which you may want to consider depending on your industry. One of our previous blog posts addressed the different types of insurance available for small businesses. Investing in proper insurance now coverage can mitigate risk and potential financial losses later.
14. Engage in your community. Many towns and cities have local street fairs and events that small businesses can get involved in to promote their services. By opening a booth or sponsoring a local event, you can increase awareness for your services and potentially generate new business.
15. Initiate a customer loyalty program. Another one of our blog posts detailed the different types of programs your business could start. The idea is to encourage your regular customers to keep coming back through incentives that are at a low cost to your business.
16. Make an investment hire. If you are seeing rapid growth, you may want to consider “hiring ahead.” Depending on your business, hiring someone with existing knowledge and expertise in your sector could help you expand seamlessly or even open a new location. The most important factor is to make sure you choose the right person—someone who is trustworthy and who will work well with your existing managers and business leaders.
17. Keep the doors open longer. With extra employee support, you might also consider expanding your store hours. This could mean keeping your store open for an additional hour each night or opening earlier in the day. Or, it could mean operating on a day you were previously closed for business. Those extra hours or days could bring in significantly more customers.