In a competitive global marketplace, real success hinges on much more than just getting the job done. To outcompete larger, better funded, and better connected businesses and to establish yourself as an industry leader, you’ll need to change the game. You’ll need to become a disruptor.
For many small businesses, surviving in a competitive environment is difficult enough even without the added burden of finding ways to meaningfully drive growth. Of course, entrepreneurs don’t go into business looking to just survive. There are many different ways to grow your business, but the most disruptive and easily accessible tool available to businesses today is the Internet.
Disruption is built on innovation and invention. By patenting a particular new process or invention, businesses can protect their exclusive access to it. However, to do that, they have to disclose exactly what their innovation is, and how it works.
Of cash flow interruptions that SMEs don’t have direct control over, late payments from customers are one that every business has to wrestle with. A single late payment might just be an inconvenience, but over time these incidents can seriously undermine the long term viability of your business.
Daniel Ek founded his first company at the age of 14, and hasn’t slowed down since. After launching several businesses, retiring, and coming back out of retirement before the age of 25, he decided to get serious. Together with Martin Lorentzon he hammered out a plan to create a product that would provide free seamless access to all the world’s music while rebuilding the ailing record industry.
Actively generating new leads using a classic marketing funnel can require an enormous amount of effort and resources. While typical marketing strategies are a valuable way to generate leads, the most efficient way to drive growth is to turn your existing business connections into a referral network. Existing and former customers and other industry professionals that you have an existing relationship with can provide quality leads that you may not be able to reach with your traditional marketing efforts.
Franchising is a great way to expand your business quickly when you don’t have the cash flow to to drive growth efficiently on your own. It also distributes the risks and rewards of opening new locations, since franchise owners cover their own startup and operating costs. If the franchise were to fail, the financial loss to the franchisor is relatively low. Of course, that does not mean franchising can be approached lightly and without proper planning.
The most difficult part of developing a new product or to launching a new project after conception is finding the capital you need to get started. Fortunately, a huge number of different funding options are available to businesses today. Each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses, but one relatively new, popular, and high profile choice is increasingly attracting attention: Crowdfunding. It sounds like a perfect solution. Businesses or individuals can publicise an idea directly to the end consumer, skipping financial gatekeepers like banks and traditional investors to access raw market demand.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) conducted a nationwide consultation of small businesses in 2016 to build a better picture of what issues affect their success in Australia today. The results revealed a worrisome trend: Big businesses are paying their much smaller counterparts increasingly late, and it’s those small businesses that are forced to pay the price.