October is the month when Canadians from coast-to-coast recognize the awesome achievements of this country’s nearly 3 million business owners.
As you well know, success for Canadian business owners doesn’t come easily. Building a company that works well takes plenty of time, energy, money, patience, teamwork, perseverance, support, and no small amount of optimism. With so much to do, any help is appreciated.
Celebrate Small Business Month by committing to make your business even better with the following tune-up tips.
First tune-up: Talk to your customers
Your customers are the lifeblood of your company, the very reason you’re in business.
Make it a priority to strengthen your customer relationships this month. Reach out by email or phone to personally thank your customers for buying from you. And take the time to check in with your customers to find out how you can better serve them.
Consider asking your customers:
- If they could change one thing about your company, what would it be?
- What product or service would they like your business to offer?
- What is the biggest challenge your business can help them solve – and how?
Show your customers you value their input by making the changes your customers want to see. Read up on strategies and tactics designed to increase sales and grow more profits by keeping your customers happy.
Second tune-up: Update your business plan
Has some time passed since you updated your business plan? Small Business Month is the perfect excuse to dust off that stale plan and breathe some new life into it.
Open your plan with an eye to these updates:
- Refresh any goals and timelines to achieve them.
- Revisit any financing strategies to make sure they align with your current business stage. For example, rather than start-up funding, you may need money to reinvest in aging equipment or to upgrade your computer systems.
- Check your ambitions to expand the business into new territories or customer segments. You might already be doing that.
- See if your hiring strategy should change – do you have enough people for your current goals, or should you plan to bring in more talent? You’ll need to budget for the latter.
If you’ve been putting off updating your business plan because you think it will take too much time, try Scotiabank’s easy-to-use and interactive business planning tool to get it done.
Third tune-up: Get the cash you need for growth
You know what your customers want and you have a plan for growth.
The last part of your business tune-up involves checking that financing is in place. For example, you may discover you need access to $100,000 or more of additional funds in order to introduce a new product line that your customers clearly want, hire more employees, and tackle a new geographic territory.
- Check to see if you can find the funds required for growth within your business by shaving costs and embracing efficiencies.
- Talk with your accountant about financing options available to you. Your accountant might be able to help you prepare an application for financing.
- Ask your small business advisor for information about financing products available to your business.
Before you take action on any of the information above, we recommend consulting with a qualified business advisor that understands your unique needs and situation for your specific business and/or personal plans.