13 Feb Growing an ethical business in 7 easy steps
How are you planning on growing an ethical business?
If you’re running a conscious business or social enterprise, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how to grow.
Reflecting on your successes and setting new goals can really help you develop a strategy for growing your ethical business.
Growing an ethical business is a challenge, but here are 7 top tips you can follow to expand your ethically-focused venture:
1. Break down your excuses
Growing an ethical business isn’t easy, especially if you’re working full time like lots of business owners.
It’s easy to start the new year feeling positive and setting goals for how your business is going to grow over the next 12 months. But one, two, three months in and we haven’t always stuck to them.
Set some time aside to write down all the ways you’re going to grow your ethical business and then think about all the possible excuses not to.
Reflecting on the things standing in the way of your business growth will help you overcome them. I wrote a post about the excuses standing in my way last year, and it really helped me stay focused. So what’s stopping you from growing your business?
2. Set your goals, and stay accountable
If you’re growing an ethical business, having short, medium and long term goals is essential.
You need to stay focused on how you’re going to grow, so your goals need to be SMART:
We’ve probably all got a grand plan for how our business is going to grow, where we want to be and what type of positive impact we want to make…but sometimes that grand plan can feel overwhelming.
The secret is to grow your business a little every day, and that’s why micro-goals and short term targets really help.
You probably need to split your goals between your ethical priorities, positive social impact and business operations. Obviously there will be cross-overs, but when you’re a passionate ethical business owner or social entrepreneur, it can be all too easy to overlook the “boring stuff” and focus on the values driving your business.
Make sure you don’t get left behind. Set some SMART goals for each area of your business to help you stay on track.
If you’re looking for support to grow your business check out The Business Bakery’s 100 Day Goal challenge. It started on January 1st but it runs regularly and the community of business owners taking part are really supportive all year round.
When you’re growing an ethical business you have to stay focused. Remember to write your goals down, review them regularly and keep yourself accountable if you’re serious about growing your ethical business this year.
3. Make some time
It’s easy to let life get in the way of growing your business, and as an ethical business owner with a big vision, it often feels like there’s not enough hours in the day.
When you’re thinking about how to grow your business, you also need to think about when that growth is going to happen.
Set yourself regular time slots throughout the week where you focus entirely on business growth. That might mean an extra half an hour each week to grow your social media presence, an additional hour to write a blog post, or some time to follow up with previous clients. Link it to your goals for business growth and make sure you stick to it, don’t let distractions get in the way.
Remember, when it comes to running and growing an ethical business, your time is the most valuable thing you can give. You won’t be able to grow your business if you’re feeling burnt out, so make sure you also take time for yourself this year.
4. Learn a new skill
When you’re growing an ethical business you often have to be a jack of all trades, looking after all the different areas from sales and marketing to finance.
If you’re taking your business growth seriously, you need to understand where your weak spots are and commit to building your skills.
Learning new skills can give you the edge when it comes to growing your business. Start by mapping out what you want to learn, where you need to improve and how you can do it.
There’s plenty of free and low cost training options online so you can learn in your own time and at your own pace. Personally I’ve committed to improving my SEO skills and I’m taking a course on Udemy because I’ve identified it as an essential element to the growth of my business.
Learning new skills and expanding your knowledge can be exciting and a big step in growing your business. What will you learn this year?
5. Stop trying to do it all
Investing in new skills is important to give you a full understanding of all the elements of your business, but if you’re serious about growing then it might be time to admit you can’t do it all.
If you’re exploring how to grow your business, it could actually be more cost effective to hire a virtual PA, an accountant, or someone to manage your social media, write your blog posts and take care of your day-to-day marketing activity.
There’s all sorts of business solutions available and they’re probably not as expensive as you might think. Plus, think of the hours of your time they will free up – if that helps you focus more on maintaining your well-being and growing your business by working on it and not in it, then it’s invaluable.
Take some time to reflect on what areas of your business you could outsource, then you can research your options.
6. Build your brand
Your brand is at the heart of your business – it sets you apart and tells current and potential customers what they can expect. As an ethically-focused business, it also shows the world what you stand for.
If you’re ready to grow your business this year, you need to get your brand in ship shape.
When it comes to strong branding, consistency is key. Take some time to update your social media profiles – make sure your logos, profile pictures and cover images are up to date. Write bios that convey what problem you solve and why people should follow you. Taking an audit of your profiles can be really useful – find out what I learnt from mine here.
Talk to current customers, fans and followers to find out what they think of your brand.
If you want to get really serious about growing an ethical business, then it’s time to get real, constructive feedback and take action.
If your logo needs an update, hire a good graphic designer. If your website doesn’t clearly say what you do, hire a copywriter. Small changes to your brand could make a big difference to your business growth.
7. Find a support network
If you’re growing an ethical business, you can’t do it alone.
We all need people to bounce ideas off, celebrate successes with and turn to for advice when we’re feeling stuck or things get hard.
Our family and friends don’t always understand how to grow a business or what we’re trying to achieve, so you need to build a tribe of people in the same boat as you.
Finding a support network isn’t always easy. Fortunately, #EthicalHour is the world’s first support network for conscious businesses, blogs and social enterprises, and ethically-focused people trying to grow a business.
To help you grow your ethical business, we’ve launched an exclusive, free #EthicalHour Growth Network on Facebook. This is a supportive space for you to connect with other ethical business owners and support and encourage each other as we all try to make a positive impact.
You’ll find useful articles, blogs, posts, advice and discussions all about how to grow your business. Plus there will be opportunities to collaborate and take your business to new heights. Join the network today and learn how to grow your business now!