Starting a business is a bold and terrifying enterprise, and letting it grow can be just as scary. Many entrepreneurs stunt their business’s growth rather than make the changes necessary for successful expansion. Just think of your business as a seedling. To begin with, it needs delicate nurturing–just the right amount of food, water, light, and heat. As your seedling grows into a plant, it needs to be repotted if you want it to grow to its full potential. Sometimes the dead leaves need to be trimmed, and the unruly growth needs to be cut away. If your business is ready for repotting, but you’re scared of breaking off the roots in the process, try using the following six safe and effective tips to get started.

 

1) Make a Plan

 

Poor planning can be detrimental to even the most promising of business start-ups. If you want your business to grow, you need to plan that growth every step of the way. That being said, if you make a plan and your business stubbornly refuses to stick to it, don’t be afraid to make a few tweaks. An effective business plan should be well-researched, so get as much feedback as possible both from customers and fellow business owners. If you’re worried that your business plan is too risky or unrealistic, bring in an expert to analyse and review your goals.

 

2) Keep Equipment Updated

 

42% of customer service representatives are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications. If you want your business to succeed, you need to keep your customer service tools well honed. Make sure that you have a scalable phone system, that can accommodate extra lines and high call volume as your business grows, and stay up to date with the latest in customer service technology and equipment.

 

3) Address Customer Service Issues

 

89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. Bad reputations are a destructive force, and they can bring your carefully nurtured business crashing down around your ears if you don’t cut them off at the source. In this internet-happy age, you have to assume that every customer who has a bad experience at your business will share their story on the web. Since consumers are more likely to share their bad experiences than their good ones, this can mean that when potential customers do a web search for your business, they discover a plethora of negative reviews and opt to take their custom elsewhere. Avoid this eventuality by keeping your customer service representatives well-pruned. Review call recordings, ask for customer feedback, and make sure that your service reps are fully equipped to resolve potential problems.

 

4) Build a Mobile Presence

 

More and more consumers today are using the mobile web to research businesses, compare reviews, and shop. To keep your business competitive, make sure that your website is 100%  compatible with mobile devices, or even develop your own mobile business app.

 

5) Stay Social Media Savvy

 

Ignoring social media isn’t going to make it go away. Potential customers will seek out your store hours and availability through Facebook, Twitter, or Google +. They might check out your Instagram to see what your products really look like, or search YouTube for a visual guide to your store. If you don’t keep your social media platforms up to date, you’re discouraging potential customers as well as missing out on a free advertising opportunity.

 

6) Cater to International Customers

 

You don’t need to move your business overseas anymore to get international customers. Between a good web presence and a toll free number, you can market your product anywhere in the world without paying the costs associated with physical relocation. To attract more international customers, make sure that you have multilingual service representative on staff, and check that all of your mobile apps and web pages are translation-compatible.