Over the past couple of years, Americans opened millions of small businesses to fill gaps from pandemic closures — and their futures are looking brighter.
Two years from now, small businesses could add over $2 trillion to global GDP growth. After the pandemic cleared nearly 30% of small businesses from the field, many wondered what would happen next.
It's true that 2020 was a hard year for businesses of any size, but small enterprises faced the worst. Then in 2021, the global small business closure rate fell from 24% to 18%. That’s a noticeable decline, but still a high number. In the United States particularly, closure rates fell to 16%.
Small Businesses Thrive Online
As we rounded out 2022, the future started to look brighter. Over the past couple of years, Americans created millions of new businesses to fill gaps the pandemic left. Many of these businesses operate exclusively (or almost exclusively) online. After laying the foundations of their operation while working a day job, 67% of new small business owners are planning to grow their businesses full time.
If they weren’t already online pre-pandemic, 62% of businesses that shifted to digital plan to expand digital operations going forward.
Almost half of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are ready to start planning for a digital future. Just over a quarter are already working on it. As the pandemic has demonstrated, businesses need to be ready to rely on digital operations moving forward.
Related Article: The State of Digital Customer Experience: Where We're Headed
One Person Can't Do it All: Preparing for Unexpected Growth
More than switching to online, businesses need to be prepared for the unexpected. This is a big ask for one person. Many small business owners take complete responsibility for nearly every aspect of their business. Over 70% of business owners are directly responsible for sales, client management, hiring/onboarding and team performance. All at the same time.
As a result, more than half of business owners are too terrified to leave their business for even a short period of time. If their second in command takes temporary leave, many fear the business would collapse.
But consider: How is a business supposed to grow in this environment? If one person is responsible for nearly everything, and that person is already overworked, how is the business supposed to handle new clients? The truth is that they can’t. No matter how much they might wish for it, most small businesses aren’t prepared for unexpected success. If a small business acquired 10 new clients in a single week, four in five would not be prepared. Just 1 in 25 SMBs are prepared to handle a sudden influx of leads.
Related Article: Marketing's Big Problem With Small Businesses
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Marketing/Customer Experience Side of Scaling a Small Business
Let’s have a look at scaling a small business from the customer perspective. When a small business is first starting out, it is typically composed of a small team.
At this point, the setting is intimate and quality driven towards the customer. Customers are typically having an excellent customer experience. The trick is to continue to be customer driven even as you are scaling quickly. Many companies start “watering the soup” hoping that their client base won’t notice. Sorry to break it to you…but they will.
Scaling Small Businesses Through Delegation
The key to scaling a small business is delegation. Building a resilient and scalable business means making it possible for more than one person to complete critical tasks. A scale map can be used to create an optimized business system capable of delegation. Owners can use them to track progress, streamline processes, support assets and more. Not only are multiple people capable of a job this way, but scale maps also give business owners a way to measure progress and performance objectively.
Part of the growth process means trusting subordinates to take the reins. When delegation is successful, a business can grow while its owner is on vacation.