Are Canadian Small Businesses Growing?
Regardless of whether a business is seeking to make it past the start-up phase, satisfy a major increase in demand for its products and services, or strengthen its competitive position, growth is a vital step in the development of a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).
How many Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are pursuing growth in Canada? What are the obstacles they face? And what are the most commonly used strategies for overcoming those obstacles?
This Report looks at how Canada’s SMEs meet the challenges of growth and identifies four winning strategies that leading SMEs are using to achieve sustained growth.
Growth does not only benefit leaders, employees and the business itself. The ability to provide more stimulating work to employees is a significant benefit for 85% of those surveyed. Over 77% reported that they would be able to have a bigger impact on the community. Leaders of younger businesses were more likely to mention the positive effects of their activities on the community, such as supporting social or environmental causes, or creating jobs.
A Strategy for Growth
Be a client-centric business
Nearly all of the leaders (99%) mentioned that having a good grasp of client needs and satisfying them was a decisive factor in ensuring their business’s growth. Serving clients well and, if required, revamping product and service offerings according to their needs and expectations allows them to increase their sales to existing clients and attract new ones. This strategy is unanimously supported, regardless of the business’s degree of growth (strong or sustained), location or size.
Developing a client-centred approach
(Advice from BDC Advantage)
- Get to know your clients well. Where are they? What are their values, attitudes, interests and lifestyles? How do they prefer to do business with you?
- Conduct research using secondary sources (reports, surveys) or conduct your own study based on interviews, focus groups and surveys.
- Do not treat all your clients the same way: Most of your sales are generated by a minority of your clients (80/20 rule). Develop a keen understanding of these top clients and cultivate their loyalty by providing outstanding service, personalized communications, and special offers or discounts.
- Invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system to provide centralized access to relevant information on existing and potential clients.
- Ensure you have a solid continuous improvement program in place to create value for your clients.