Affiliated Bank has relationships with so many great small businesses, and we are thankful for every single one! We love getting to play a part in the growth and prosperity of our community, and we are so grateful that these businesses have chosen to partner with us!

Here are some tips for small businesses looking to grow.

  1. Take advantage of the community around you

Being an entrepreneur, focused on finding success in a certain field despite distractions and other obligations, can be an isolating experience. Fortunately, one of the many benefits of a small business is the personal relationships it has the potential to foster, and those can be great for business and for life! A strong network and commbaunity is vital to both the well-being of a business and its employees. Aside from the business contacts and networking benefits of community connection, it’s always nice to have reminders of the people that you’re serving, and why you do what you do in the first place. Plus, having a sense of belonging in your town, neighborhood, or even an online community or network can give purpose and drive to any business – these are the people that you are doing your work for! Don’t take that for granted.

  1. Make clear goals and value

It’s important to know what you’re working towards in any circumstance, but especially when running a small business. That doesn’t just mean the vague goal of being “successful”, whatever that may mean. What does it look like to be successful in this business or that? What will it look like to be successful 10 years from now? 5 Years? 1 Year? Next Week? Knowing the answers to each of these milestones will help shape the path that a small business wants to take.

Similarly, knowing what’s important for a business, and what it’s priorities are, is necessary from the get-go. Having the values and priorities that you want your business to live by clearly lined out and articulated before they are ever tested is the best way to stick to them. Questions like “how are we going to treat or be treated by our customers?”, or “are we more interested in financial gain or customer satisfaction?” should be asked before they need to be. That way, once the rubber meets the road, and those values are tested, there’s no question about how to react in any given situation.

  1. Don’t just hire employees, train leaders

At some point in the growth of any small business, the one-man-band approach stops being sustainable. If that business that started in your garage or your home office finds success and begins to outgrow its homegrown beginnings, then the hiring process begins. This transition can be difficult, especially when the boss is confident in their own ability to run things. They will need to be prepared to share leadership, and teach others how to run things just as well as them. A one-man-band can grow into a huge enterprise and still feel like one person running everything if that one person can’t delegate, and be confident in those that they’re delegating to. Employees in a relatively new or small endeavor need to not only be able to take instruction and work hard, but to be able to make their own leadership decisions if necessary.

  1. Don’t lose yourself in your work

A healthy boss is a healthy business! Entrepreneurship can be unimaginably tough work, with work days that never seem to end, and a million tiny little worries and cares that need to be addressed at any given moment. It’s enough to drive a person crazy, and the risk of burnout is very real for small business owners. That’s why taking time to ensure the physical and mental well-being of yourself and your employees is really an investment in the future of your company. There will always be plenty of work to get done, but not if you’ve completely exhausted yourself already.

There are many aspects of owning/running a small business and they can sometimes be daunting! At Affiliated Bank, we have an experienced staff who are eager to help with your questions or needs!  Feel free to give us a call or drop by one of our banking locations!