You’ve started up that small business and want to grow it. In today’s current climate that can be difficult, but with the right actions taken at the correct times it is always achievable. Listed below are 21 small business growth strategies that can help you to grow your business.
1. Always be Aware of your Performance
By tracking the performance of your business, you lay a solid foundation for continuing growth despite market fluctuations and uncertainties. It is important to be aware of what sectors of your business are performing and what isn’t. If you can identify this, you can act to grow the areas that are performing best and look to see why other sectors aren’t performing so well.
Never be afraid to drop sectors that aren’t performing as well, by monitoring your performance you can adapt quickly to changing markets and circumstances. Such ability is crucial for achieving business growth,
2. Establish and Maintain Customer Loyalty
Customers are a business’s biggest asset, and they should be treated as such. A loyal customer will come back again, and not only that, but they will recommend your brand to others. Establishing a relationship with consumers through good customer support is essential to maintaining a healthy business growth strategy.
As your business grows it is important to grow your customer support along with it. It is easy to let it drop by the wayside and losing customer loyalty, in these days of Social Media, can quickly do a lot of damage to your business. customer service became our byword, and we learned the importance of using tools like social media and CRM software.
3. Identify your Market
It may seem obvious, but many companies have failed at this step. It can be time consuming, but by conducting some market research you can begin to focus your attention more accurately towards the right consumer and in a more cost-effective manner.
Once you have identified the target market, you also need to consider the target audience. The target audience can differ from the target market. For instance, everyone uses or benefits from household cleaning products, however it is more frequently purchased by women.
Once you have identified your market and audience you can target your time and resources more efficiently.
4. Penetrate Your Market
Of course, identifying your market is all fine and well, but an identified market means nothing if you can’t penetrate it. A good market penetration strategy is crucial for business growth and maintaining a healthy income stream. For a market penetration strategy to work successfully it should concentrate on three main areas.
- Persuading existing customers to buy more or new products
- Target new customers, perhaps using introductory offers etc.
- Be aware of competitors weaknesses and convert customers by offering improved product or services
Social Media has also become a powerful tool in this strategy, this is covered in a bit more detail later in the article.
5. Identify and Focus on your Ideal Customer
Like identifying your market but with a crucial difference. Not all customers are equal, there is an adage that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. While the percentages will not hold true for every business, there will be a certain percentage of your customer base that generates a higher proportion of revenue.
Being aware of this will help when it comes to knowing where and towards whom, to concentrate your market penetration strategy on.
6. Social Media
Social Media is now an essential tool in a small business growth strategy. In fact, for a business to successfully operate these days Social Media is an absolute must.
This isn’t just a case of starting a Facebook page and calling it your social media empire. These days social media should be an integrated mechanism into your whole marketing and customer service machine. If used correctly Social Media is a boon for small businesses. Equally, it can be troublesome to say the least if it is mishandled.
Time and effort should be allocated to ensure that your social media presence is engaging, relevant, active, and targeted. Look out for influencers from within your sphere, use them to reach out to your customer base. Respond to all posts, and not three weeks later. It may become time consuming, but it is a crucial aspect to any long-term growth ambitions.
7. Cut Costs and Increase Profit Margins
Whilst in an ideal world your customer base is an ever-growing entity, this certainly isn’t always the case. However, it is still possible to maintain business growth without increasing your customer base.
Being fully aware of the costs of your business is crucial to running a successful company. And being aware of where those costs can be cut is vital in increasing profits and maintaining growth in periods where new customers are difficult to attract.
A growing business is an evolving thing. Unfortunately, evolution doesn’t always lead down the most economical path. By examining your existing systems and procedures it is often possible to not only cut costs, but in doing so actually increase efficiency and profit margins.
8. Increase Your Product Range
Sounds simple and at its most fundamental level it is. The more product you can sell the more your business grows, and if you add more product to your range then the faster that growth can occur.
However, it is counterproductive to add products or services merely for the sake of increasing your product range. consumers are savvy and will be quick to see through this and that can have the opposite effect. Increasing your product or service range should be a well-considered course of action.
9. Always Look to the Future
The future is something you should always be concentrating on. Set some time aside for this and consider the current situation and the most likely future paths for your industry. Consider aspects like
- Your current strengths and weaknesses and how they are likely to affect future business.
- What directions your competitors are moving in
- What risks are your industry facing or about to face
By having a decent handle on what the future is likely to hold you can put strategies in place to optimize future possibilities and minimize potential pitfalls.
10. Pick a Path
By always looking to the future, you can make informed decisions upon which path your business should take. Once this decision is made then commit to it! Doing something half-hearted will rarely work. But always keep that eye on the future, some paths lead down dead ends. So, don’t be afraid to change direction if necessary.
11. Product Improvement and Development
You have the perfect product, nobody else makes anything quite as good or as effectively. That won’t last, your competitors want to grow too, and you can bet your last buck that sometime soon your product will be outshone. Whatever you produce or services you offer, you must always be looking to improve them.
Investing in this side of things can seem counter-intuitive, but there is always an optimal time to invest in product development – it is called the present day!
12. Market Segmentation
Think of where to place your product and how to present it. If you are a young vibrant company wanting to sell a new line of surfing accessories, then advertising in a heavyweight financial newspaper probably isn’t going to generate a lot of interest.
Market segmentation simply means picking the right subset of your potential market to focus your sales effort on.
13. Take Over a Competitor
This can be a big step and unsurprisingly many small business owners shy away from it. After all it doesn’t come without risk, but with the right research and application of due diligence this can be an effective and quick way of increasing your business growth.
It isn’t something that should be dismissed out of hand because you don’t feel your business is large enough to take such steps. But this is not always the big expense that it’s imagined to be. Apply the steps listed above, know the market and its future direction, know your competitors, know your own strengths and weaknesses. Apply this knowledge to any decision that is made when considering this course of action.
In a nutshell make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.
14. Focus on Your Strengths
All businesses have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it is better to focus on your strengths rather than the weaknesses. In doing so you are likely to grow in a fashion that suits the way your business operates rather than trying to grow in a direction that isn’t working for you.
By focusing on these strengths, you naturally lead the business down a path where it already thrives.
15. Get the Right People Onboard
This is a must. You will have your own standards and expectations about the services or products your business supplies. It is crucial that your employees work to the same standards.
Poor quality staff can damage a business quickly, good quality staff will help the business grow.
16. Explore New Distribution Channels
Currently, expanding the ways in which you reach customers is beyond being merely important, it is crucial. Owning a small high-street store would once have been a guarantee of having the local populace crossing your threshold. That is no longer the case. But if you treat this as an opportunity and embrace it, then suddenly it isn’t a drawback but an effective way of increasing your income stream.
Look at setting up an ecommerce site, or perhaps look towards affiliate marketing. There are boundless opportunities out there to open up new distribution channels.
17. Be Innovative
Not just in the products you market and sell but in the way you approach the whole process. Innovation doesn’t have to come from big companies with limitless resources. Many small companies have become leaders in their field simply by introducing new and innovative services, sales techniques, or products.
18. Give Stuff Away!
There is a saying that goes – what you give comes back many times over. This applies to businesses as well. People have long memories and that gift you gave to the local community center or that work you did for free to help a charity out will bring your company’s name to the forefront of their minds when they are next in need of services or products that you offer.
19. Don’t be Afraid of Change
Change should be embraced and not shied away from, consider the example of the Blockbuster Video Rental business. It went from a massive high street concern to nothing because they didn’t change with the market.
Change may be painful and difficult at times, but it is a fact of life. For small businesses to prosper and grow they must have the ability to change as their market does.
20. Inward Investment
The profits may be rolling in, but if you don’t plough some back into the business then sustainable growth probably isn’t going to happen. If you don’t invest in your own business, then it’s likely no-one else will.
Investment will keep your business healthy and able to follow the above steps more effectively.
21. Work Hard
And finally, but most importantly – Put the hours in, roll up those sleeves and get dirty. Any successful business owner will tell you that success didn’t come easy. But those long hard hours that you put in now will pay dividends in the long run.
Running a small business is challenging and never risk free. But with some application, a bit of due diligence and the right steps taken at the right time it is possible to grow that seedling into a sprawling oak tree.
Every multinational company that exists today was once a small business. While the above steps are unlikely to make your business the next Amazon or Body Shop, they will help you to grow when applied correctly and followed through to their conclusion.