Growing a business takes time and energy – sadly, there are no tips for instant success. Building the foundations of a business and scaling it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process that requires hard work, dedication and a bit of patience. However, there are things you can do to accelerate the process.
To help you be successful in your venture, we’ve rounded up our 9 proven business tips for business growth.
1. Have a clear plan for growth
This is essential if you want to make the right decisions for your business. However, it’s pretty common amongst small business owners to have clear objectives in mind but no clue on how to achieve them. After all, there are so many things to think about and evaluate – how can you possibly wear all those hats?
This is when business advisors come into play! Having an expert opinion can make all the difference when thinking strategically about your business objectives. It’s important to come up with a realistic and practical plan to get you to your desired outcome.
We love working with de Jong Phillips. As our finance partner, they have helped us become more efficient and confident in our decision-making processes. But mainly, they’ve helped us map our path to growth. And, they’ve helped us enjoy the process along the way!
2. Build a simple yet effective marketing plan
Who are you targeting? Where are they based? Do you know what their needs and pain points are? If you have answers to these questions, then great – you have the essential info to strategically think about your customers’ path to purchase.
Let’s go back to your customers’ journey for a moment. How do your potential customers find out about your business? A marketing plan will enable you to understand this in more detail and you can work towards ticking this box. In fact, it forces you to think strategically about this process. If you’re not too sure about how to build a simple yet effective marketing plan, then check out our blog. Alternatively, if you already have a marketing plan at hand, you may be interested in our top tips on how to super-boost it.
Mapping out your customers’ journey from the moment they hear about your brand until they purchase your products/services is a fundamental step to helping your business grow. We recommend you specifically focus your attention on the sales funnel and think about creative ways to move people towards making a purchase. Once you get your website/store visitors in, how do you prompt them to buy from you?
3. Provide exceptional service
Being kind, sincere and decent is sometimes not a ‘given’ in the business world. Ensure that you’re always treating people how you’d like to be treated. Beyond being fair and friendly, make sure you’re doing your best to achieve your customers’ objectives and that you’re super transparent about everything along the way.
Make sure you treat your customers right and that you keep your brand promises. If your customer service is great, people will be more inclined to come to you next time and refer you to people they know. This is especially important if your product or service isn’t unique. Your approach to customer service will become what sets you apart from your competitors!
On this note, do you have a ‘referral programme’ in place? This is a great way to incentivise your happy customers to get your name out there and refer you to their network.
Before you do this though, make sure that your customers are truly satisfied with your products/services. Assuming they are is a common mistake many business owners make. Always ensure there’s positive feedback surrounding your brand before you proceed with this type of initiative.
So, be brave and ask for direct feedback. We get it, it’s tricky to accept that your processes are imperfect. However, being open to criticism and new ideas will mean you are naturally looking for new opportunities and ways to improve the quality of your products/services. Taking your customers’ feedback on board is essential if you want to take your business to the next level. After all, they are what makes your business so successful.
4. Do things gradually and focus on established revenue sources first
Acquiring new customers can be a time consuming and frustrating process. We completely understand this feeling. In fact, directing your attention and energy towards your existing customers is often more profitable and rewarding.
As mentioned above, a referral programme can help you reach out to new customers by simply leveraging on your existing ones. Also, knowing your customers’ current and future needs can help you cross-sell your products/services and expand the scope of your work.
Before you explore growing your business and expanding, it’s important to secure a stable revenue stream. Here at Saltoria Marketing, for example, we focused our initial efforts on building a strong retainer-based clientele with which we enjoy working with.
5. Keep developing/improving/streamlining your processes
Out of the many business tips listed today, this is probably the most important one.
In the early stages of your business, it’s pretty normal to see a ‘lean’ profit margin. The temptation to pocket that small revenue is huge. However, it’s important to redirect that money back into your company to help your company grow during this crucial period. Whilst this means smaller salaries at the beginning; the benefits of this approach will pay off in the long run. We can tell you this from experience!
So, what parts of your business need more attention? For example, do you need to enhance your marketing activity, hire more people, or adopt new technology? Whatever the area is, make sure you fuel it with the right investment – whether that be time, money or any other resources.
6. Diversify your product/service
Offering new products/services can help you reach out and engage with a larger customer base. It also keeps your business alive and constantly evolving! Think about a way to expand your business, for example:
- Are there any opportunities for new products/services in your market? Have your existing clients asked for something you’re not producing/offering at the moment?
- If you’re a service-based business, try to productise your services where possible. For example, here at Saltoria Marketing we love coaching our clients and empowering them to learn about marketing. We have successfully hosted several workshops in the past, and we’ve now decided to turn these sessions into proper packages that customers can easily buy online. Take a look at our workshops page for some inspo!
- You can also find different ways to offer your existing products. For example, have you thought about bundles and/or subscriptions?
7. Stay consistently organised
Whilst this may seem obvious to many, it is hard to consistently maintain your workflow and processes. Staying organised is not as simple as it seems. By maintaining an organised schedule and having set processes for each regular flow of work, you will save time and ultimately achieve more success. By having a few processes in place, you’ll be able to stay on top of things and complete all the important tasks on your to-do list.
There are many tools you can use to increase organisational efficiency. For example, Monday, ClickUp and Trello can help you plan and manage your individual tasks as well as your team (in a collaborative and productive way). In addition to these great products – tools like Slack and Asana are also extremely useful for streamlining communications across companies and teams.
8. Increase customer retention
As mentioned before, it’s likely that focusing on your existing customers will get you a much higher ROI than acquiring new ones. When you increase customer retention, you’re also building customer loyalty which normally brings higher sales.
But how can you increase customer retention? We have mentioned above how giving your customers a great experience will naturally lead to an increased retention rate. Besides this, here are a few other tips your business can adopt:
- Create a loyalty programme: Reward your clients for supporting your business. This can be anything from an authentic ‘thank you’ email/letter to a little gift right to their doorstep.
- Use a good Customer Relations Management system (CRM): This is essential for keeping your customers’ info organised (and safe) and it will also help you identify sales opportunities. For example, CRMs can help you establish a step-by-step sales process that your employees can easily rely on, or give you insights into customer behaviour.
- Keep your customers in the loop with good email marketing: You can stay on top of your customers’ minds by sending regular and applicable email updates. Make sure the content is relevant and personalised to their needs/buying experience (this is where a CRM can help you out).
9. Explore strategic partnerships
To meet your strategic growth plans, it’s crucial to have a solid team to help you achieve your business goals. But, what happens if your business is too small to afford to employ new staff?
Being small business owners ourselves, we completely get the issue. So here are 2 business tips for you:
- Find other small businesses/freelancers that share your values and work ethic, and that provide the services you’re looking for. Get these people on board and ask them to support you if you’re at full capacity.
- Build a strong relationship with these partners as this will have a direct impact on business growth. In fact, if your suppliers respect you and your way of working, they’ll be inclined to refer you to other businesses in need of your services too.
Other interesting reads…
We hope you’ve found these tips insightful and valuable! If you’re looking for other business tips, you may find these two articles interesting: