Five ways to grow your small business on any budget

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For local businesses, there is no more important period than the EOFY. Today, millions of businesses are eager to grow and put the financial impacts of the pandemic behind them, but many may face sizable tax bills from July. However, paying off a tax bill doesn’t have to come at the expense of growing your business. I’ve worked with thousands of local businesses at Podium and previously Google, and I’ve seen many innovative and easier-than-you-think ways you can grow your business cost-effectively.

Budgeting

According to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, small businesses (0-19 staff) have just a 60 per cent success rate, while University of Technology Sydney found that financial mismanagement was one of the most common causes of business failure. Budgeting helps you prioritise and ensures you don’t lose sight of overheads like rent and taxes. As you’re budgeting, think about expenses that directly help sales growth, brand recognition and other business goals, and then prioritise those. Give yourself flexibility for emergency expenses.

Free resources

Before you purchase expensive software or classes, it’s worth looking around for affordable options that perform the same function, or trial periods to assess the value of something before jumping in fully. You may find ways to save big without having to compromise on the function itself. Plus, finding cost-effective versions of important tools or classes helps you allocate more budget to growth strategies. Working for yourself doesn’t mean working alone, and there are many Federal and State Government resources available.

Outsource

Small-business owners wear many hats, but for the functions that you can’t perform, or can’t afford to hire for, outsourcing provides ultimate flexibility. For example, if you’re designing a logo, it’s unlikely you can do it professionally yourself, but there’s no need to hire a graphic designer either. Fiverr has great access to Australian freelancers if you’re keen to support local. Freelancers often have higher rates but can be engaged at your convenience and you aren’t burdened with employee benefits or taxes.

Automate

Time is money for small-business owners, and there are many mundane, time-consuming tasks that can be automated. Tools that help you automate admin-heavy processes save time and labour costs and help minimise human error. Through automation, you can spend less time working inside your business, and instead invest your time in growing and providing the experiences, products and services that your customers love, remember and recommend. Automation can also help you condense the number of technology platforms you use. For example, instead of using different apps for SMS marketing, payments or receiving reviews, identify platforms – like Podium – that have multiple functions that automate alongside one another and integrate into back-end systems too.

Your customers

No matter your business’ size, industry or growth goals for it this year, never lose sight of the most important people: your customers. Those who have a positive experience will actually stay with a brand nearly two years longer than normal and provide 306 per cent more value. It’s important, and valuable, to turn your existing customers into ambassadors for your business. Word of mouth is still king for local businesses, and today it exists online. In fact, two-thirds of consumers are influenced by online reviews, so consider the value your current customers have in promoting your business throwing glowing online reviews in the new financial year.

If the new financial year brings with it a tax bill, don’t be daunted. It also brings with it a new dawn and new opportunity. So, whatever your budget and your goals, there are plenty of cost-effective ways to give your business every opportunity to grow and thrive in the year ahead.