Believe it or not, some entrepreneurs want to start small and stay small. They have no intention of growing beyond their current level. They like things just the way they are because it is familiar and something they can manage. They have no plans for the business to continue after they leave it.
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They started the business for a specific reason such as the following:
- They lost their company job and had to support a family
- They inherited the business
- They needed to push themselves to see if they could be successful on their own
- They had a particular passion for a specific thing
All of these are valid reasons to start a business. And no one is obligated to grow their business if they don’t want to. In fact, some businesses end up dying off because they handled their growth opportunity incorrectly.
That said, if you are looking to grow your business to the next level, there are some major changes ahead for you. Going from small to medium size is a big jump. It is not just a matter of doing more of the same.
Here are some of the tools you will need if you are ready to take it to the next level:
A Customer Data Platform
The moment you go from hundreds of customers to thousands of customers, you are handed a new set of challenges that require a new set of tools. One of the most important new tools will be found under the heading of CDP solutions. A customer data platform is necessary for,
- Unifying your data and building a single comprehensive view for all your customers
- Generating accurate insights in real-time, with the click of a button, and without asking for IT support
- Centralizing where your data lives, who has access to it, and how it is used across your systems
The last point is crucial because threats to your customer data are nonstop. There is no way to fully secure it without stringent policies for who has access to it.
In your small business, you might be used to running everything from your laptop. There might be only a few employees that could ever gain access to it. You feel rather confident in your security. Even if you got away with it for years, you will need to step up your security measures before you hit that next level. As a medium size business, good enough is no longer good enough, especially when it comes to customer data security.
A More Professional Marketing Profile
Word of mouth is an excellent way to generate dozens of happy customers. But if you are ready to generate thousands of happy new customers, you are going to have to up your marketing game by quite a bit. This will be one of the biggest and most expensive upgrades you will have when going from a small to a medium business. Almost none of your small business marketing will carry over to the next level.
You will have to utilize internet marketing in a whole new way and to a much greater degree than before. Social media marketing is table stakes. It will also be time to give pay-per-click another look. It tends to get a bit expensive for small businesses. But as you grow, it can be a very handy tool when used well.
Is your data security better than the largest meat processor in the world? JBS is just one of the latest in a long series of high-profile companies that have been victimized by hackers. The fact that you haven’t been the target of a hack does not mean your security measures are sufficient. It just means you haven’t yet been targeted.
As your size increases, so will your threat profile. If you handle customer data without taking security seriously, you will be pantsed sooner or later. Everything you know about digital security has to go out of the window when you go to the next level. You are not going to figure it out on your own. Hire a consultant.
CDP, marketing, and security are central to any business of any size. When you are ready to progress your business to the next phase, you will need to take those tools to the next level as well.