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5 ways to develop your business

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Regardless of the age and size of your business, or the type of products or services you offer, it is sensible to focus on development and progress. 

No successful company ever stands still for long and the emphasis must always be on constant improvement. In order to achieve this, making the right choices and decisions is paramount

Here are five ways in which you can ensure that your business continues to develop.

1. Innovate

In today’s business world, innovation is key. Without creative ideas, new products, unique services and original marketing campaigns, a company will likely struggle.

Developing quality new products or services and thinking up exciting new ways to reach customers is one of the best ways to ensure a business thrives and continues to grow.

That said, one or two innovative ideas will only extend a business' life for so long and it is important not to rest on your laurels. The pressure is on you, as the owner, to make sure that your company constantly strives to break new ground and consistently delivers new products or services to your customer base.

2. Delegate

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is trying to do too much themselves. 

As a business grows, job roles often become less clearly defined and delegation becomes increasingly necessary. Sharing the company workload can enhance the overall efficiency of your business and, perhaps more importantly, it can free you up to focus on 'bigger picture' issues and the larger company goals.

However, for delegation to be effective, distribution of the workload needs to be carefully considered. Try to find out the strengths, weaknesses and skills of your workforce, including things outside of their official job description, and administer the additional work accordingly. 

For employees, extra responsibilities can help them to feel like they are making a more valuable contribution, improving their morale in the process. 

But be careful - it is vital to strike a balance between offering extra responsibilities and not overworking staff or putting them under too much pressure.

3. Automate

Making effective use of technology is another crucial aspect of developing a business and in the vast majority of cases, automation can play a beneficial role.

If your company is handling tasks manually when they could be automated, you are wasting time, manpower and almost certainly money as well.

It is essential to work out which tasks can be assigned to computer programmes without sacrificing quality. There are numerous packages available that can streamline accounts, marketing, payroll and social media function as well as improving information sharing within the company and recording specific data on customers.

A solid automation strategy can help your business to significantly broaden the entire scale of its operations.

4. Investigate

Having successfully attracted customers to your business, it is important to do some investigative work and truly get to know them.

Becoming familiar with their predilections and habits will ensure you have the power to keep them happy and loyal.
You could employ a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) package such as Salesforce or, if your business can’t afford that just yet, simply use social media to research customer needs, wants, likes, dislikes and behaviour. You can develop products and adjust other strategies based on the information you discover.

 Maintaining a happy customer base is the best marketing strategy any enterprise can have. A satisfied customer is a walking, talking billboard for your business.

5. Penetrate

Finally, for a business to develop to its full potential, it needs to look to new markets.

Although it is crucial to pay attention to existing customers, it is also extremely important that you strive to find new ones. This can sometimes mean broadening your horizons and expanding your current target market.

There are numerous ways in which new markets can be reached. For instance, you may be able to target a new product towards a different age group or gender to your core demographic.

Alternatively, only a tiny percentage of small businesses export to foreign markets, so it may be that you can research and focus on overseas customers. The key mentality needs to be: "Who am I not reaching and how can I win them over?"

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