When it comes to growing a small business, one thing is certain.
It takes time, effort and money. But more than that, it means wearing many different hats and turning your hand to sales, marketing, taxes, corporate compliance, customer service and more.
All in all, if you want to grow, you need to put in the work.
So what do you do?
Like anything else in life—or business—you need to put in the time if you are looking to reap the rewards.
Try one, or a few of these growth tactics. They have all been tried and tested by other successful companies, so with the right mindset and investment, they can work for you too.
First things first, you need to know who you are up against.
It’s time to spy on your competitors.
You want to check out everything you can about your competition. Search for their landing pages, their marketing ads, copy, prices, any promotions, and reviews. Anything you can reverse engineer for your own success.
Competitor research is not a new tactic. But it is one of the quickest ways to scale your business.
Why? Because if it’s proven to work for your competitors, executed properly there’s no way it can’t work for you either.
If you don’t know where to start with conducting competitor research, don’t overcomplicate things, just follow these 5 steps:
1. Identify your top competitors. Aim for 5 – 10 of them.
2. Analyze and compare content. Things like blog posts, ebooks, videos, guides, FAQs etc.
3. Look at their SEO structure. Look at what keywords they are ranking for.
4. Check out their social. What channels are they using and what are they doing there?
5. Areas for improvement. Look for areas where you can do a better job.
Understanding your customers’ needs is super important for growing your company.
Encouraging customers to leave feedback could be the turning point for your business. Once you know what they want, you can start developing your services and products to meet these requirements.
Here’s a hint. Consider sending out a customer feedback survey.
Limit it to only a few of the most important questions and only send them out when necessary. You could even consider offering a reward for filling it out.
Gaining insights into your customers allows you to personalize your product or service to them—hopefully building a sense of brand loyalty.
Not only this, as you get to know your customers, you’ll be able to expand your offerings to keep up with emerging customer trends.
After you’ve got feedback from your customers, you’ll know exactly what they want.
Loyalty = sales.
And loyalty programs are a great addition to build around this.
Did you know, it costs almost three times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep—and sell to—an existing customer?
Save yourself money—keep customers loyal.
Acquiring new customers gets expensive fast, so make sure you are retaining customers. The added benefit here is that this might actually mean you attract new ones as well
Having a loyal customer base is a great trust signal to new customers who are on the fence about purchasing from you.
By incentivizing your loyalty program with an attractive offer, you can make sure customers stick around for the long run.
Customer service can make or break your business.
Try going that extra mile when you can. Not only will customers remember that—they will be more likely to refer a friend.
Here are some customer service tips to help you out with growing your small business:
• Know your product or service inside out
• Be friendly and approachable
• Say thank you—with a smile
• Show respect
• Listen to your customers
• Be open and responsive
• Ask for feedback and use it to improve
• Train your staff to do all of the above
Offering great customer service is definitely a team effort. Make a commitment to improving not only your customer service skills, but your teams too.
Keeping your eye open for new opportunities is essential for growth
Analyzing your industry helps you to understand it, and your demographic better. Send out a market research survey, or a demographic survey to find out more about the people interested in your product.
With the right information and insights, they are likely to be lots of new opportunities you could pursue.
Just don’t neglect your existing customers in the process.
Make sure you have strategies in place to nurture existing customers, like staying in contact with them via a newsletter.
Remember—the ROI of retaining an existing customer is higher than that of attracting new leads.
Looking for new avenues to grow your customer base, whilst retaining old ones is a juggling act. In order to grow, make sure you are doing both.
Want to know one of the simple methods of growing your business?
While this is a simple tactic, it might be difficult to put into practice.
When it comes to growing a business, a lot of the time we are actually talking about growing the bottom line?
The what? The bottom line is the final total of an account, basically the profit.
The difference between pre and post-tax can make a big difference to growth. Cutting costs comes down to two approaches:
1. Removing underperforming products
2. Improving the turnover of your inventory
Improving your bottom line by cutting down costs is a great (and healthy) way to grow a company.
Social media can be a powerful promotion tool
Not only will you be able to put your company directly in front of your target market, but you’ll be able to benefit from social listening.
Social listening is the monitoring of digital conversations in order to understand what customers are saying about a brand, product or industry online.
What’s more, you’ll be able to see what customers are saying about you, monitor their behavior, keep an eye on emerging trends, and see what keywords appeal to them.
Oh, and you’ll be able to use all this to help inform your customer service too as well attracting new customers. Double win.
Building an email list is one of the best things you can do for your business.
Email lists allow you to grow quickly by getting customers into your sales funnel.
Whilst quick to get going, building an email list is a long-term marketing asset. Sending regular emails to your client base is a great way to build trust and increase the likelihood of turning them into a paying customer.
Email lists are one of the few direct communication channels, so make sure you are using them.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Investing time to build your network is an essential step towards company growth.
Networking allows you to build relationships with other business owners and encourage them to refer customers your way.
You could even consider hosting your own event.
This could be a valuable method to get to know your existing customers and encourage them to bring their friends, aka potential new customers.
Meeting new people may present the chance to form strategic partnerships.
With the right people and companies, partnerships can be invaluable.
How? Well, they may allow you to reach a whole new customer base quickly by tapping into your partners’ network.
Here’s how you could find partnerships:
• Identify companies that complement yours
• Reach out
• Propose opportunities for working together
The aim is to look for opportunities that benefit both parties so that everybody’s a winner.
Building up brand awareness in your local community is a great way to attract new business, from both customers and local businesses.
It can be as simple as sponsorship, hosting contests or giving to local charities.
Not only does this make your business look ethically and locally aware, but it brings you to the attention of people in the local community. And there’s a strong chance some of these people will be future customers.
Monitor everything you do to grow your business.
Keep track of where customers have come from and what methods brought them there.
Without tracking your hard work, how will you know what is or isn’t working? Refining your approach if something isn’t working is part of the process.
Remember—focus on the activities that bring in the best results and do more of them.
So, there you have it—how to grow your business.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the list and do nothing. That’s the worst thing you can do for your business. Instead, pick one to three of these ideas that are most suitable for your business and execute them with care.
Keep a close eye on what works and what doesn’t work. Then do more of what works, and learn from what doesn’t.
Now you probably won’t experience rapid growth right away, but you’ve gotta start somewhere right?
Today might as well be the day you start growing your business.