3 Ways to Optimize and Expand Your Business in 2020 - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

With the end of the year upon us, many business owners and their advisers are looking forward to bringing in the new year. Whether your goals are to introduce new products or services, hire key employees, or expand into new markets, you will benefit from developing a growth plan to realize your goals in 2020. 

The plan should consist of SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely—goals that will help you set appropriate expectations for you and your team. From there, you can zero in on the activities that will produce the greatest return on investment. 

Here are three ways to optimize and expand your business next year. 

1. Financial optimization

As a business owner, your job is to make sure that your team is using limited resources efficiently and effectively. The best way to do this is by managing your business finances. You don’t have to be an accountant but you should be familiar with your accounting system. Being able to interpret and act on your financial data is paramount to being a successful owner. 

Work with your accountant or adviser to determine how your financial ratios, such as gross margin, average days to get paid, and monthly revenue per employee, compared to your industry. You also want to make sure that you are taking advantage of all of the tax credits and deductions that are available to you. Armed with this data, you’ll have a better idea of what expenses you need to reduce and how you can improve your margins to increase revenues while minimizing your tax liabilities. 

2. Streamlining HR & Payroll

The biggest expense that you will incur is labor costs. While many accountants and business owners think of labor as a cost center, I challenge you to look at it as an investment. Your employees will help you implement your strategies, develop your core offerings, acquire and serve more customers, and manage your processes. It’s important to make sure that you have the right people in place. However, if you focus on keeping essential tasks in house and outsourcing nonessential tasks, you can eliminate unnecessary expenses. If you decided to outsource your HR and payroll to a specialist, chances are they will complete the tasks more quickly and at a fraction of the cost. 

Cloud-based platforms like Gusto and Zenefits are two providers that specialize in helping businesses reduce their administrative burden. Streamlining your operations isn’t only a good business decision, it helps key employees focus on what they do best, serving your customers. 

3. Embrace Omnichannel Marketing

If you are using one of two marketing approaches you are already lagging behind your competitors. Companies like Disney and Starbucks have mastered omnichannel marketing. According to HubSpot, omnichannel marketing is “a multi-channel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out.” 

Think holistically. How can you provide your prospects and customers with an experience? How can you deliver your message seamlessly? If you are a retailer using Google Ads, you may want to incorporate Instagram Ads and YouTube videos into your strategy. If you provide professional services, a combination of LinkedIn Ads, YouTube videos, organizing Meetups for prospects and direct outreach may give you the best return on investment. 

Today, there are a variety of apps and platforms available to business owners to help grow their business. You don’t have to do everything on your own. By leveraging your trusted advisers and incorporating the right business management tools, you’ll be well on your way to increasing your competitive advantage and profits.