Growing Your Business: Where Should You Start?

When you are starting to think about growing your business and hiring staff to help you manage your daily tasks as you take on more clients, which department should you focus on growing first?

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7th January 2014 at 1:05 am

When you are starting to think about growing your business and hiring staff to help you manage your daily tasks as you take on more clients, which department should you focus on growing first?

There is no one answer to this. Every business is different and will grow into its individual departments naturally throughout its development. But what are the factors you need to consider when growing your business into a larger, more professional company? Which departments should be on your list and why should you consider one before another?

Digital Marketing

Everyone’s favourite topic at the moment, it seems that the start-up world is intrinsically linked with marketing. Traditional advertising methods such as TV advertising are typically out of the question for new business owners but you need to get the message out there in order to generate paying customers.

After all, what’s business without customers? Marketing is business.

Social media marketing is a particularly popular approach for small- and medium-sized businesses. Business profiles can be set up for free and managed from your PC or smartphone. It’s a great way to generate traffic to your site and build brand recognition.

Social media can be manned by you as the business owner. Do you need to hand over control to a new employee? What about focusing on more hard core marketing tactics?

How much time do you have on your hands to dedicate to an in-depth SEO strategy, PPC, the leads to your site and the number of conversions from your social media activities?

If you opt to hire a team or employee dedicated specifically to your digital marketing strategy, you can focus on running your business, while they focus on expanding its reach.

Sales

What’s the use of marketing your product, building your brand and showcasing your wares if there’s no one there to pick up the phone when it rings and make the sale?

If you opt for sales over marketing, of course, you make the decision to go with an outbound sales team. You will rely on cold calling potential customers and ringing up leads from six months ago to see if they’re still interested in what you’re selling.

Outbound sales representatives offer the advantage of being able to build up real relationships with potential clients (who then go on to become clients). They get to know your demographic, what works and what doesn’t and they understand the clients already using your products or services.

This provides you with valuable insights into what makes your existing customers tick, what they like and what they want to see. When you invest in sales department, you can adjust your business to meet the direct demands of clients you already have and future customers as well, while relinquishing the burden of hard-selling.

Customer service

Bringing in a customer service team is a great idea if you are a client-based business offering services that often entail follow-up questions and additional requests.

As a start-up looking to expand, you might want to ask yourself whether you really need a customer service team. This depends on the number of clients or customers you deal with and the nature of your business. For instance, if you work in retail then having a separate, dedicated team to focus on customer service is probably a good idea.

Great service helps sets good firms apart from great ones: it demonstrates an attention to detail and a dedication to customer experience. But part of the small business charm is the personalised service that can often come from dealing directly with business owners, for many customers. Ask yourself whether customer service is the best place to invest the first time you hire new staff.

Accounts and billing

Play to your strengths. If you have a good head for figures and can keep on top of spending and income, then there is no need to delegate this role to someone else. Though as your business expands, your workload will also increase. Do you have the time to dedicate to something this important?

Perhaps you can handle the commitment but only at the expense of your personal life. If you find that you are either spending too much time crunching numbers and not enough working on your business, maybe it’s time to get someone else for the job.

Outsourcing your accounting is a great way to handle a heavy work load or know that you’re getting a difficult job well done. Alternatively, you could hire an in-house employee to do the work for you. This way, you do not have to divulge company information to a third party.

Fill in the gaps

Every business is different. When you are in the early stages, your company is full of potential for growth and the hiring decisions you make will impact your company’s focus and philosophy for years to come.

Whether you decide to emphasise customer care or understand the need for a marketing strategy that you can’t design yourself, the reasons behind your decisions will be very personal to your company’s image and vision.

Your new departments should fill in the gaps in your knowledge and experience. We can’t all be marketers, sales people and accountants. Play to your weaknesses in this scenario and hire a person who can bring expertise and innovation to an area of business you are not necessarily familiar with.

It is definitely worth thinking about which departments are most crucial for watching your business grow.

This article is written by Sue Ratcliffe, Head of Client Services at alldayPA, award winning telephone answering services.

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Sue Ratcliffe is Head of Client Services at alldayPA, award winning telephone answering services.

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