Despite the vacillating projections presented by many economists, the volatility in the global market has presented some unique opportunities for small businesses to grow and thrive in numerous markets. As many larger corporations have been forced to reduce the size of their work force, it has pushed a significant number of skilled individuals into the role of entrepreneur. This influx of small businesses is representative of a major shift in the global economy. As you may well know, the increase in the number of small businesses in any market also intensifies the level of competition as companies compete for larger shares of the market. There are several elements that are vital to the successful stabilization and expansion of any small business.

Of course, there are a lot of the obvious steps that you have probably studied and practice on a regular basis. What you will read here will hopefully create some lucidity for determining what path you want to take.

Elucidating Your Vision

One of the most prevalent pitfalls that small business owners encounter is an unclear vision. Determining which direction you are taking your company in is extremely important. Many business owners make the mistake of riding the momentum of trends, which may produce profits without solidifying the foundation of the business. Having a clear vision of where you are heading will help you maintain your course during those lean times.

Business Vision

According to Ultimate Small Business Tools, the most common thread among successful entrepreneurs is a lucid vision. This vision must have a certain level of specificity. Any business owner will tell you that they want to be profitable by a certain point and that they want to grow the business, but having a specific view of how they plan to do it is vital.

Creating and Nurturing Relationships

The importance of building relationships with potential investors or those who can connect you with people who will be of benefit to the growth of your business cannot be overstated. According to a recent article by Forbes, more than 80 percent of small businesses suffer due to the fact that the owner does not spend adequate time in front of those who will be beneficial to the growth and financial stability of the company. In other words, they are not spending enough time with those who can write checks. With so many different technological breakthroughs that allow business owners to sit behind the computer screen and make multitudinous moves, it can be a scary thought to engage the possibility of personal interaction.

This type of interaction is normally not highly technical, but it is very strategic. It gives you the opportunity to increase your exposure to those who are influential while developing your personal and business brand.

Develop a Web Presence

This may seem obvious and you have more than likely heard this before; however, it is imperative that you understand the dynamic at work here. The advances in communications technology has made the web and unbelievably powerful and expansive entity. There was a time in which the internet was the dwelling of internet based companies, but that has changed now. Even companies that have physical storefronts are coming to the realization that they must have an internet presence in order to sustain their business.

This is especially true for local businesses. With rapid advancement in smartphone technology, more than 80 percent of consumers looking to make a local purchase will search the web before determining with whom they will spend their money. It is vital to put in the work to ensure your presence is felt on the web.

Human Resources and Payroll

Believe it or not, one of the biggest challenges to small business development and growth is the inability to effectively facilitate the growth in personnel from an administrative perspective. As outlined by Deputy, there are numerous tasks and responsibilities that must be managed as far as employees are concerned. The more employees that you hire the more time consuming and complex the administrative tasks become. It can be difficult to keep up with payroll, overtime, benefits and paid time off. You can also be faced with the difficulty of attempting to manage the productivity and responsibilities of each employees. This can become a very daunting responsibility, and failure to properly engage this responsibility can have an immense impact on your ability to effectively grow your business.

Be a Transformational Leader

There are basically two types of leaders. All leaders will fall into one of these categories in a distinctive manner or they will fall somewhere in between. Some of what makes up these two distinctions is built upon personality, but all of it can be developed through focus and effort.

You are either a transactional leader or a transformational leader. A transactional leader focuses on exchanges of benefits in order to motivate their subordinates. The primary belief of transactional leaders is that people are primarily motivated by two types of stimuli — reward and punishment. On the other hand, transformational leaders visualize themselves as social engineers, seeking to change people and systems for the better. Transformational leaders are very transparent with their vision, allowing their subordinates to take part ownership in the vision. One of the clearest examples of this would be Steve Jobs and the manner in which he led at Apple. It was his vision, but almost to a person, his employees bought into the vision.

The truth is that there are no guarantees in business, but you can greatly improve your chances for success by implementing the elements listed here into your overall strategy. Work on growing the business, but don’t neglect the efforts that sustain the business that you already have.

Images by Chris Potter.