Have you ever looked at a successful entrepreneur and wondered what the secret to leveling up a business is? While we can’t give you a magic formula that’ll lead to guaranteed growth, we can provide you with tips from 13 business owners who are scaling their companies in big ways.
These tactics can help you take your business to the next level. There’s a variety of strategies here, so pick one that sounds like it’d work for you, and give it a try. Then you can move on to another. Make one or two small changes at a time, and before you know it, you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you've come.
If you’re ready to move the needle on your business, here are the nine best strategies to level up your business.
1. Automate as Much as Possible
How much time do you waste doing repetitive tasks? If you’re tired of the busy work in your business, it’s probably time to add some automation. Automation minimizes human input by utilizing technology. It frees you (or your employees) up to work on different tasks.
In today’s technological world, there are plenty of ways to automate. Here are a few ideas for you to implement:
- Set up a chatbot to respond to basic customer service inquiries.
- Use a scheduler to plan your social media in advance.
- Sync your payroll data with your workers’ comp to plan your cash flow better by switching to Hourly.
- Create processes for essential business tasks, so they’re done efficiently each time and use automation integrations to tackle the repetitive parts.
- Script a response email and automatically send it to customers when they fill out your contact us form so they know the company received it.
And that’s just the tip of the automation iceberg. There are so many different ways to build efficiency with technology.
Freeing up time was one of the keys to success for Loren Howard of Prime Plus Mortgages. Automating helped lower the stress level among his employees and created more opportunities to complete important tasks. “We automated tasks such as reporting and admin work that was taking too much time. This led to us being more efficient and effective with our time and more productive.”
2. Make Delegating a Priority
Are you trying to do everything yourself? It’s not a great strategy for long-term success. Not only does it lead to burnout, trying to do it all can hold you back from massive growth. After all, there are only so many hours in a day.
Tate Meagher of Meagher Law Office, PLLC found that delegation was key to his business success. He says, “Delegation not only helps a business grow, but it also frees up time for the business owner to spend with family or to figure out more ways to grow the business.”
When you’re focused on the day-to-day operations, you bog down your brain with too many details and limit your creativity. Taking some of these tasks off your to-do list frees you up to focus on higher-level tasks you enjoy.
But what if you’re struggling to let someone else take the reigns on tasks you normally do?
Meagher has some great advice: “The best way to prepare to delegate tasks is by making sure all of your systems and processes are constantly documented (such as in writing or video format).”
Once you have your processes in place, start by turning over smaller tasks, such as calendar management, drafting emails, or adding posts to a social media scheduler. As you become more comfortable delegating and training your team, you can let go of even more.
Hiring the right people is a big part of delegation. John Ross of Test Prep Insight recommends hiring a virtual assistant. “It’s been a total game-changer. [My VA] does about a hundred tasks I don't have time for. This has allowed me to reclaim my time and channel my efforts into high-yield activities like business development, product ideation, and reviewing important educational content.”
3. Invest in Your Team
Once you have a team put together, it’s essential to treat them well. As the owner, you play a significant role in establishing the company culture in your business.
Jerry Ford from 4WD Life knows that “…the success of your business largely depends upon your workforce and team leaders. It's crucial to invest in their growth and development by offering training, access to online courses, webinars, and other opportunities designed for upskilling.”
Get to know your team members and learn what motivates each person. Work with their strengths and help them build up their weaknesses. You won’t regret the money and time invested in your team. Ford says, “Ensuring that our employees and managers are equipped with the best possible tools is fundamental to the growth of our business.”
4. Go the Extra Mile for Your Customers
Without customers, your business would fail. That’s why it’s so important to take care of them. Take a moment and put yourself in your customers’ shoes and examine your processes from their eyes. Is there anything that needs to change or improve?
Sara Shah of Journ discovered the impact of customer service: “Focusing on the overall customer experience can make a huge difference in making an impact and retaining customers. For example, we include dried flowers in every box we ship out to customers, which adds a layer of luxury to each order.”
Take some time to brainstorm and think of ways to go the extra mile for the people you serve. This could be as simple as:
- Including a quick, handwritten thank-you note in packages
- Taking time to personalize an email with someone’s name
- Sending birthday cards and emails or small gifts to new customers
- Mailing physical copies of digital products like email newsletters and books for a unique touch
These little gestures can go a long way towards making your customers feel special.
It’s also essential to listen to your customers and be willing to pivot as necessary. For instance, the drastic changes that came with the pandemic were a turning point for Dragos Badea of Yarooms.
“We listened to our customers and the needs of the new reality where they were. By understanding them better, we pivoted quickly with our SaaS product. Thanks to that, we could help our customers implement and manage a hybrid work model through our system.”
5. Hire Professional Freelancers
Consider hiring a professional freelancer if you’re not quite ready to hire a part-time employee to help with things. These remote employees can help give your business the boost it needs without the stress of bringing someone on board permanently. It’s a strategy that Ann Young of Fix The Photo highly recommends.
“I can't even begin to tell you how much time this has saved me. The freedom to hire the best people available, no matter their location, has been a game-changer.”
The pandemic increased the number of freelancers, making it a great time to hire a professional. You can find freelance graphic designers, writers, accountants, photographers, and more.
If you’re ready to hire, create a job description detailing what you’re looking for. Then you can start your search. Here are a few ways to find freelancers:
- Freelance platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr
- Placing an ad on a remote work job board
- Asking people in your network if they have someone in mind
Hiring help can be a great move for your business. As Remon Aziz from Advantage notes, “The best thing I’ve ever done to level up my business was bringing in talented professionals to handle aspects of my business. It freed me up to do the work I needed to do.”
6. Dream Big
Are you holding yourself back from success? If you can’t envision yourself winning with your business, there’s a good chance you never will. It’s important to set stretch goals to help push yourself to victory.
Jean Gregoire from Lovebox knows the importance of dreaming big. “It’s important to push yourself and your business. If you only ever set easily attainable goals, your company may stay afloat, but it won’t flourish.
To level up your business, I recommend stepping outside your comfort zone and setting lofty goals. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve when you set your sights high.”
If your goals for your business are too small, it’s not too late to reevaluate. Think about where you are now and let yourself think about the possibilities.
Where could your business be in a year or five? What steps would you need to take to get there and start working on it? Your success is within reach.
7. Be Willing to Adapt
Successful entrepreneurs know the importance of being agile. This “…allows businesses to stay on top of the latest trends and pivot to accommodate changes in the market, which is crucial in determining if a business will succeed or fall back,” says Sam Santa of Zeitholz.
“Moreover, businesses get to test what really works for them and what doesn't, opening up doors to opportunities that they otherwise wouldn't have encountered.”
Are you willing to adapt as necessary? If you’re not comfortable dealing with change, here are a few things you can do to stretch yourself:
- When you face a problem, think critically about it and be proactive in creating a solution instead of dwelling on the negative.
- Be transparent with your team and listen to their ideas. Collaboration is important.
- Make reflection a regular habit and think back on what went well and what you would change in the future.
- Identify any mindsets holding you back, and take steps to overcome them.
While adapting may not be something you enjoy, it can mean the difference between shutting your doors or scaling your business.
The pandemic allowed Stefan Chekanov of Brosix to adapt in big ways. “We had to switch to remote work, and the transition period took a while. Our business did suffer a bit, but our marketing team came up with very creative steps that brought us new customers and expanded our client base.”
When life happens, don’t give up. Instead, think about how you can adapt and change. Be willing to do the hard work Chekanov and so many other small business owners did during the pandemic. The more you practice an agile mindset, the easier it’ll become.
8. Create a Sales Funnel that Works
You’ve got to generate leads to get your business to the next level. An effective sales funnel can take your leads and turn them into buyers. Nuno Gomes of With Process noticed a drastic improvement of 30 percent on the number of leads turned clients after implementing an intentional sales funnel.
A sales funnel is a marketing tool that helps you visualize the path your customers follow. Like a regular funnel, the top is wide. This is where your leads initially are. Then as you nurture your audience, some make their way down to the bottom of your funnel, where they make a purchase and become a customer.
But you can’t throw up a hastily prepared funnel and hope for the best. Instead, you need to take time to research your customers before you start writing. Gomes recommends “…identifying the pain points of your clients so you can deliver the right things to them.”
If you’re ready to make a sales funnel of your own, here are five points to keep in mind.
- There are four main stages to a basic funnel: awareness, interest, decision, action. Your job is to create content to move your audience through each stage.
- Your audience must drive your funnel. Know who you’re selling to and keep their pain points in mind.
- Without traffic, your sales funnel won’t work. Spend time working on lead generation. You can run ads, write guest posts for popular blogs in your niche, ask for referrals, and do other marketing tasks to help spread the word about your business.
- Show up consistently for your audience. Post consistently on social media, go live and answer their questions, and take time to reply to emails they send. As you nurture them, they’ll equate you with an expert in the field.
- Keep it simple for your audience. Don’t over-complicate your sales funnel, or you’ll miss out on sales. Your customers shouldn’t have to wade through pages of content to find the buy button. Instead, make it easy for them to purchase.
9. Keep Things Simple
Many entrepreneurs struggle with overthinking, which means they tend to complicate things. To take your business to the next level, permit yourself to keep things simple. Start with something basic, and grow it from there.
For instance, when you need to build a website or create an app, don’t decide that you first need to learn to code. Instead, consider what Tyler Vallely of OUTREC does, and use Bubble.io. The program “…allows you to develop and deploy a custom, public-facing website or internal tool” quickly and inexpensively without limiting you to templates.
Websites aren’t the only thing to keep simple. You can use this same philosophy when it comes to your:
Processes: Are you efficient in the way you do things? Or do you add extra steps because someone successful said you needed to? Take time to review your processes and cut out unnecessary tasks.
Focus: You can’t concentrate on a dozen tasks at once. Avoid multitasking and stick to one thing at a time.
Products: You don’t have to start with a flashy product that costs a lot of money to create. What happens if you spend all that money trying to create something and it turns out to be a flop? Instead, start with a minimum viable product and go from there.
When you have an idea, look for ways to get it done that aren’t complicated. Sticking with simple solutions saves you time and lowers your stress.