At Elite Digital, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency, no one wanted to work the graveyard shift. But the company’s pharmaceutical, food, retail and financial firm clients needed the company to monitor their social media accounts around the clock. “I needed talented people working 24 hours a day,” says CEO Robert Burko.
Once a company has taken stock of where they stand, they should eliminate any lines of business that aren’t making money.
To handle the higher workload, Burko set up a satellite office just outside Delhi, India, four years ago. His Toronto staff, which now number 60, handle issues during the 9-to-5 workday, then the team in India takes over. “We live in a global economy. And I’m taking advantage of time zones – it’s a neat strategy,” he says.
While Burko did this to keep his current clients happy, he also saw it as an opportunity to increase growth. More hours on means more clients can be serviced. Over the last five years, this offshore initiative, plus other growth-boosting innovations, have helped Elite grow revenues by 1,021 percent.
Growing a business doesn’t usually happen overnight – it takes careful planning and a lot of work. If you want to increase revenues and profits in 2019, though, December is an ideal time to start thinking about it. Here’s what you need to do to boost your company’s growth.
Stop and think
“Small businesses are so busy doing everything they often don’t take the time to be strategic,” says Sandi Verrecchia, president and CEO of Toronto’s Satori Consulting Inc. That’s a mistake, she says. Start by critically reflecting on what is and isn’t working in the business to discover where opportunities might lie. Firms should asses their recent accomplishments, overarching strategies and vision for the future. Every tier of the organization can get involved. “One or two people should not hold that vision – this diminishes buy-in among employees,” she says.
Switch it up
Once a business has taken stock of where they stand, they should eliminate any lines of business that aren’t making money, says Verrecchia. “Are you growing in the right areas and being profitable?” she asks. Then, focus on new opportunities. Burko says he’s now getting each subject specialist at his firm to track industry trends. When a potentially lucrative trend pops up, the company tries capitalizing on it, such as by launching a new client service. “It’s first-mover advantage,” he explains. There is risk in this approach, he adds. “Something may not go well,” he says. “But that’s OK. I love that we’re trying.”
Invest in talent
Happy employees generate positive results, says Verrecchia. Though smaller businesses can struggle with managing staff, having frequent performance improvement meetings can go a long way in keeping employees on track.
Burko tries to keep his team happy by making sure there are “lots of laughs in the office.” Elite runs frequent employee-focused events like holiday parties, a treetop trekking team-building trip and an office escape room outing.
Companies that expect to add new services or products should ask themselves if they have staff for these new directions. If not, get recruiting, says Verrecchia.
Track the competition
Boosting growth also involves staying on top of what your competition is doing, says Verrecchia. “Who is doing well?” she says. “Are they doing something you should be doing?” Talk regularly to customers who deal with multiple vendors, she says. This can yield key information about new product offerings, strategic directions and pricing in the overall marketplace.
Carve out new opportunities by coming up with unique ideas. Be open to suggestions from your team – you never know where the next innovation might come from. Elite started offering niche services to competing digital agencies. If an agency needs a specific service, such as video and animation, for example, it can hire Elite to do the work, without the client knowing.
“It’s hard to be good at everything,” says Burko, who’s happy with his company’s recent growth and is keen to keep coming up with new ways to stay competitive. “But we’ve come up with a model that works.”