Markaaz Founder and CEO Hany Fam, and Co-Founder and COO Fabi Hubschmid give you simple and practical tips on how to grow your small business from start-up to Series A and beyond
In 2023, with a crowded marketplace, having the proper small business foundation and the right growth partners to ease your path to growth can mean the difference between success and failure. With over 600,000 small businesses opening each year in the US, Markaaz wants to ensure yours is a success.
Ensuring your business is visible, your public business information is correct, and finding the best partners, tech, and operational processes are a few essentials when creating a growth strategy. This guide will run through five critical tips to help your business hit its optimum growth trajectory with minimum fuss – in 2023 and beyond.
Create streamlined operations
Streamlining business operations simplifies day-to-day workflows by eliminating unnecessary and complex steps in the business. By doing this, you can improve your operational efficiency, stay competitive and, in turn, boost your employee satisfaction and customer service.
With small teams used to wearing many hats, small businesses can be highly agile and flexible, meaning many teams are already operationally effective. But here are a few tips and tricks to improve even further and start you on your path to the growth goals you want to see in 2023:
- Review your tech stack every year. What was relevant to your teams last year may be too narrow or irrelevant for this year’s growth goals or business focus. You don’t want your team to waste time on the tech that doesn’t fit the purpose anymore, and you don’t want to waste money paying for them.
- Ensure that business processes are organized effectively and that there is a structure in place so everyone knows which department or person to turn to for assistance, knowledge, or planning, and make sure communication is accessible.
- Plan ahead. Have at least your Q1 and Q2 planned in-depth before your business year starts. Communicate these plans to your team well in advance (think November!) so that everyone is on the same page and can prepare. Surprises may happen, but with pre-planning done, those can be addressed quickly and efficiently.
- Talk to your team leaders. Understand where the gaps and successes are in their department. See if a new process, tech addition, or a new hire is needed to fill the gaps and ensure that the team runs smoothly and mistakes and their associated costs are minimized.
- Make time for innovation. Great ideas are immediate, but exemplary implementation and rollout take time. Give your teams the task and ask for timeframes for a strong launch and good results.
Find trustworthy business partners
Building a reliable and trustworthy partner network is essential for a small business, especially when those partners interact directly with your customers. Whether your partners are delivery services, payment providers, or suppliers, you are responsible for your reputation through them. If your delivery service loses packages, that falls back on you, the business owner. Your customers will lose trust in you, not your business partner. This leads to unhappy customers, declining business, and, at worst, legal action.
How can small businesses properly vet potential partners and suppliers – to build a strong network?
- Pay close attention to reviews on sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, or Glassdoor. While some reviews may be biased, you can get a general sense of the business’s operations, successes, and failures.
- Do a web search and see what comes up about the business in the news. Make sure you visit its website, as you can tell a lot about a company by its website functionality!
- Use your Markaaz Dashboard membership to search our 300m+ real businesses to find new partners and suppliers. You can quickly check their Markaaz Directory profile for their business information. Claimed business profiles on the Dashboard have gone through company checks that verify their authenticity.
- Check the company’s socials to see how they respond to customers and clients, and dive into their client reviews. Their social posts are also a great way to stay up-to-date with their operations and focus.
Your business can gain exceptional insight into your competitors and your entire vertical using competitor monitoring, and that insight can help you grow your business.
The insight you can get from competitor monitoring will inform aspects of your business, including:
- Sales strategy
- Marketing strategy
- Product or service roadmap
- Target customers
- Differentiation point
Start by monitoring your direct competitors, i.e., those most likely to have the same or similar customers. You can find them on a web search and bookmark their websites and social networking sites or follow them on the Markaaz Dashboard to find them again quickly.
We suggest quarterly reviews of your competitor’s marketing, sales approach, socials, team, products, and more. Use this analysis to inform your brand strategy, find ways to differentiate and stand out, and thoroughly understand your market segment. Through your competitor analysis, you can find that one thing that only your business can provide that will set you apart and ensure your business growth trajectory.
You can only grow your business if you are found!
Have you ever met someone at an event and tried to find their business on Google or LinkedIn and failed? You give up trying to find them and move on to something else. If your business is not active on critical platforms, your customers will do the same.
To get your business found and grow your customer base, you need to ensure your business is in the public eye and easily accessible. This does not mean putting a billboard up in Times Square (although if you have the budget – why not!), but instead, get your business active on social and get yourself as the business owner on the map and networking.
Here are our top 5 get social tips:
- Put your business on the map (Yelp, Google Business, Markaaz Dashboard!).
- Invest time, thought, and talent into your social media presence – it’s your public face.
- Network and join the community or industry associations as a business owner.
- Learn from your existing customers to understand what areas of your business you should build out and are worth investing in.
- Make sure your business has a blog and news section.
- Position yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn and your company blog.
As business owners, we use LinkedIn a lot and find it a highly effective business tool; you will also find our Markaaz small business blog packed with small business tips and tricks.
Correct your business information to access financing
One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is getting access to capital. There are several reasons for this, including that banking on small businesses, especially brand-new ones, is a high risk in an uncertain market.
Our top tip for getting quick and easy financing access is to ensure your publicly available business information is correct and up to date.
For a lender to be sure that your business is legitimate and will stay the distance, they need to find data and information on your business.
The information they need to know includes your business’s:
- Credit history
- Physical address that can be confirmed
- Business documents, such as articles of incorporation
- Debt and payments
Publicly available business data is often aggregated and sold by business data companies. However, this information, used by lenders to get a business information overview, is often outdated, incorrect, or has important fields missing.
If finding the correct information on your business takes too many person-hours, or the information appears wrong, your financing application will be shelved or rejected, or they will try to verify your personal risk as a business owner. Check how correct your public business information is on our Small Biz Info Quiz.
With the Markaaz Dashboard, small business members can update and correct their publicly available small business information on their Markaaz business profile and apply for customized financing from within the Markaaz Dashboard app. With an integrated digital business document vault, everything you need to apply for customized financing is at your fingertips.
It’s time to grow
Building the foundation of your business is the most critical step to small business success. As we have outlined, you have a greater chance of small business success and growth by developing the right processes, understanding your target markets, finding the right partners, accessing growth loans, and more.
Join us on the Markaaz Dashboard, and let us and our partners enable your growth journey today!