As the U.S. economy continues to move at a healthy pace, many analysts are projecting a 2.5 percent growth for 2018, which would represent the best two-year run since 2005. A big contributor to this growth, and to the high U.S. consumer confidence, which reached a 17-year high in Nov. 2017, were small businesses. And they remain well positioned to benefit from the current economic boom. To take advantage of the favorable economic environment, consider these four moves to set your small business up for success.
1. Leverage software to optimize efficiency — While newer businesses can make do with basic tools like spreadsheets, you’ll need more advanced software to manage operations successfully. For instance, automating your manual processes can help you run your business more efficiently and help grow your bottom line. Implementing a network of systems can exponentially increase communication and smooth workflows between growing teams.
2. Futureproof your hardware to avoid buying twice — Having the right hardware can be one of the most important drivers of success. In fact, the right hardware means employees can do their jobs better and more efficiently, saving you capital and time. Can your company’s existing tech handle your growing business? For instance, if you grow your website traffic, you’ll need more powerful servers and increased storage capacity. Having trouble assessing how your hardware needs might change down the road? Working with a tech-focused small-business adviser, such as the free program offered by Dell’s Small Business division, can help you avoid costly mistakes as you move your company into the next phase of growth.
3. Find free financial resources to aid growth — When your business is on the up and up, the money coming in from increased sales will help cover your increased expenditures, but it may not be quite enough to scale. If you’re looking for additional routes to cover costs without relying solely on your profits, there are a few options. Consider reaching out to supportive networks and financial institutions for loans and potential new investors. Some companies like Dell offer lines of credit to small business owners, enabling you to quickly get the equipment your business needs now, without heavy upfront cash outlays. Or consider leasing your hardware. Instead of tying up your capital in equipment acquisitions or utilizing bank loans, lease options allow you to pay for your IT needs in low monthly payments while retaining your cash for investing in higher return opportunities.
4. Build a team that will flex with your company — When scaling your team, do not sacrifice company ideals just to increase head count. Maintaining the company culture will help keep your company focused on achieving its mission, ensure passion does not burn out and help with retention. Also, don’t overlook hiring to address the HR and operational management aspect of your business, as you can’t — and shouldn’t — do it all yourself. Tasks like payroll, onboarding and day-to-day work should be handled by a support team that lets you run the show and focus on the future. With consumer confidence high, your business has an opportunity to scale. Take solace knowing there are resources to help you navigate this complex process, and that you don’t have to do it all on your own — after all, you have enough on your plate as is.