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Maintaining Your Small Business Long-Term

It can be tempting to forgo investing time and money into long-term strategies—especially when the future seems unknowable and prone to sudden change. Implementing long-term strategies sets your business up for success and offers some peace of mind that you will be in a good position even when you do not know how things will change. 

When you are thinking about long-term strategies, your business plan is a good place to start. Review your financial projections and make adjustments where needed. Update your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. If you feel like a lot of things need to change, you may consider recreating your business plan with your current circumstances in mind.

In addition to reviewing your business plan, take these strategies into consideration. 

Set Healthy Financial Goals

If you’re looking to expand your small business in the long-term, your finances will be what affords you the opportunity. As you’re setting your goals, don’t forget to set one for saving. Little by little, you can see that savings grow and use the funds for lean times in the future.

For long-term business needs, you may think about debt financing. Many financial institutions, including Banks and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), believe that the best use of loan funds is for long-term needs such as the purchase of new equipment, improvements to your site, acquiring a building, or acquiring another business. 

Using debt financing this way saves your business’ revenue for concerns that may arise over time, giving you quick access to cash.

Marketing Efforts

Building out consistent marketing materials and methods will help attract and retain customers. The sooner you start, the sooner you can start to refine your marketing tactics and find out what resonates with your clients and leads. You don’t need to participate in every marketing practice available now, but a long-term plan will give you a roadmap.

Some of the marketing efforts to keep in mind include email marketing, social media, traditional tactics, and SEO. Learn more about low-cost marketing for small businesses

Refine Hiring and Training Practices

Hiring the right people affords small business owners the ability to delegate tasks to those who offer expertise and experience. Then they can focus more time cultivating and nurturing leads to bring more revenue in the door. 

Of course, finding the right hire can seem like a job in and of itself. Nonetheless, taking your time during the hiring process can save you in the long run. Don’t rush the process of finding a person that will fit into your organization and be able to perform well in their role. 

Before hiring, think hard about what exactly the new hire would be doing. Be explicit as possible instead of adding “other duties as assigned” at the bottom of a shortlist of generalized tasks. Having a firm grasp on what you’ll ask of the person will help you determine if a potential hire is right for the job.  

Once you find the right person, make sure you are offering the training needed to develop the most effective team member. investing in training can be low on a business’ priority list, but it’s absolutely essential that your staff understand how to do their job up to industry and company standards. 

40% of employees who don’t receive the necessary job training to become effective will leave their positions within the first year. But training doesn’t need to be expensive. It could be as simple as providing videos and handouts outlining standard operating procedures so that staff can refer back to it and ask questions. 

Build Mentor Relationships

The potential roadblocks or issues you encounter as a business owner may be brand new to you, but others have already faced and overcome similar challenges. A business mentor can help offer advice and guidance tailored to your specific business situations. 

If you are not sure where to start, it can be helpful to attend industry-related events and networking meetings. Learn more about the importance of mentorship.

As you are making long-term strategies to reach your goals, keep in mind that these strategies might need to change. Be open to pivoting. You must be willing to let go of old ways of doing things and ready to embrace new methods. Making adjustments can keep your business moving upward. 

If you would like to start or expand your Indianapolis-area business, the Build Fund, operated by Renew Indianapolis, may be able to connect you to flexible, affordable, and responsible funding options for your business. Start the process now!

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