In honor of National Small Business Week, here are some tips for smart growth.
For small business owners and their customers, time is money.
Entrepreneurs spend too much time managing people, processes and paperwork to grow their profits. And customers increasingly expect to spend less time waiting for products, services and problem resolution. Marrying the two can be a daunting task.
“For small business owners and their customers, time is money.”
According to a survey from New York Enterprise Report, small business owners work twice as much as traditional employees: 33 percent reported working more than 50 hours per week, and 25 percent said they work more than 60 hours a week.
Meanwhile, 40 percent of shoppers want same-day delivery, according to a study by L2. They want what they want, when and how they want it.
I was one of those consumers.
In 2009, I dropped my phone, and the screen shattered. Instead of waiting for what I deemed to be a costly and timely repair, I did it myself. The phone was a total wreck when I got done.
My small business journey
But my trial-and-error experience taught me about the abundance of available parts online. I ordered parts and a few old phones and tinkered around until I became good at repairing them. Not bad for a 21-year-old with an accounting degree.
My newfound skills turned into a business venture called uBreakiFix, a mail-in cell phone repair service my buddy and I ran out of my bedroom. Increased demand for same-day service led to our first storefront in Orlando later that year. Business boomed.
Within three years, our little phone fix-it shop had morphed into 47 corporate stores and $27 million in revenue. We not only repair cell phones but almost anything electronic such as game consoles, tablets and computers. We offer free diagnostics for any device with a power button.
“It’s important to prioritize growing smart over growing big.”
Now we operate more than 300 franchise stores throughout the United States and Canada – all focused on solving cracked screens, water damage and other problems for customers in a timely manner.
In my nine-year entrepreneurial journey, I’ve been surprised at how doing what’s right is also right for business. And that starts with valuing people and their time.
So, in honor of National Small Business Week (April 30- May 6), here are three lessons I’ve learned that are good for business – and good for saving time:
Studies have shown that 40 percent of business owners have an ineffective annual operating plan or budget – or none at all. Don’t be one of them.
It’s important to prioritize growing smart over growing big. Cast a vision for the future, set goals and work backwards to develop the systems and processes necessary to achieve those goals. Time and money spent researching, developing and implementing growth strategies will save you in the long run.
Put people before profits.
Be customer-centric by doing what’s right and creating personal experiences for your clients. Sixty percent of customers stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service, according to the 2016 State of Global Customer Report.
And nearly three-fourths of customers expect the business to know their contact and product information and service history when they contact you.
Any great company rests on the shoulders of hard-working, dedicated people. uBreakiFix started as a partnership between myself and two friends, and relationships continue to serve as the foundation for everything we do.
There is power in collaboration when teams align their unique gifts and talents to support a shared vision. When you invest in transparency, unity and respect among your people, you’ll find you can grow your business beyond anything you could ever achieve alone.
Work on your business, not just in your business.
When it comes to business growth, balance is the key to success. It’s easy to get caught up in the weeds of administrative tasks and putting out fires in your business to better your external performance.
But, it’s equally as important to work on your business by continually challenging yourself to improve internal processes and adapt alongside your industry to ensure longevity.
Inc. magazine found that 64 percent of businesses outsource services to gain access to functional expertise, reduced costs and greater operational flexibility.
Let go, and outsource some of the daily grind. It’s very gratifying and gives you more time to focus on core competencies. That’s what we did.
“When it comes to business growth, balance is the key to success.”
After spending years running the warehouse – helping to ship and package products – we finally outsourced to a third-party provider for inventory and distribution, warehousing and transportation.
UPS serializes products during the inbound process and provides kitting of multiple parts. Their end-of-runway services in Louisville enable us to take orders as late as 10 p.m., compared to 7 p.m. from our former warehouse in Orlando.
The partnership has allowed uBreakifix to almost double our order volume within eight months and sustain tremendous growth. We’ll have 450 stores by the end of the year and expect distribution to double to support that growth.
That’s more stores, more parts and more time to enjoy more fun.
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