Not So Small Business: Growth Tips for 2013

Small businesses are primed for growth in 2013 after an up-and-down 2012. Analysts predict the small businesses market will bounce back in 2013. According to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, small business loan approval rates increased to 14.9 percent in December 2012, up from 13.2 percent in November and 9.7 percent in December 2011.

Successful start-ups can expect competition from eager entrepreneurs, but the market is ripe for growth. Virtual tools will facilitate real-world growth, with mobile sales and cloud computing paving the way for building-less businesses to make an impact. Apply these trends to your small business for growth in 2013.

Go Mobile

With mobile credit card processors, businesses looking bring more customers through doors can take their acts on the road. Square, a small device that plugs into a smartphone, enables businesses to accept credit cards anytime, any place. Square charges a standard 2.75 percent transaction fee, but high volume businesses can pay a flat $275 per month for up to 21,000 transactions.

It's not just start-ups getting in on the mobile revolution, either. Credit card processing company Capital Processing Network offers its service through the Verifone Payware system, which also processes credit cards through smartphones.

Join the Cloud

Data-driven businesses looking to free up their budgets for marketing no longer need expensive servers and the real estate that houses them. The cloud is changing the way small businesses access data, operating online inside an encrypted space, or "cloud". Not only does this technology save money and space, it also enables employees to access data anywhere with an internet connection. The shift will create more flexibility to pursue new business and more money to spend on marketing.

Think Local

A trend in shop local bodes well for small businesses, especially those that embrace the movement. The Shop Small movement began in 2010 when American Express began hosting Small Business Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The 2012 iteration of Small Business Saturday was the biggest yet — 21 percent bigger than the previous year, according to American Express.

With more and more information explaining how small businesses strengthen community economies, shopping small is trendy. According to marketing firm PME360, small businesses can capitalize on this sentiment by focusing on local search rankings. Ranking highly on Google for terms that include industry, city and state will local business.

Keep Evolving

Whether your business is brand new or well established, the moment you stop trying to improve is the moment you stop growing. Humetrics CEO Mel Kleiman called standing pat one of the 5 biggest mistakes businesses are making today in a post on If your business is king of the hill, invest in advancements that lesser competition can't match. Not every attempt at innovation will turn a profit, but the standard of improvement will pervade throughout your operation.


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