Every business owner wishes to see their business grow, but going around this may be challenging. There’s no need to grow your business quickly and then get to the point that it cannot sustain itself and ends up failing. Developing sound strategies is the only way to ensure your business grows consistently without much struggle. On doing thorough research, we have prepared these top 10 ways to grow your business.
The following ten strategies will ensure your business grows efficiently and quickly.
The Case for Social Media
Is your company social? If not, it should be. Here’s why. The average American spends more than 60 hours per month online; that’s 30 full days per year. And according to a Nielson study of consumer on line behavior, 22% of all hours spent on line are dedicated to social networking. A third of all Americans are on Twitter, and half of all Americans are on Facebook. It’s time to use social media to your company’s advantage.
Social media is an ideal place to learn what’s relevant to your customers and communicate your competitive advantage. Yet according to Melissa Korn’s recent Wall Street Journal article, seven in 10 Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on major social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.
Fortune 500 CEOs who do have Twitter accounts have an average of 33,250 followers, according to a study by CEO.com and Domo. Korn states that brave CEOs, such as Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, embrace social media and have been rewarded for it; however the fear of a bad post or misguided Tweet looms, and as a result, business owners large and small are missing out on the unbelievable opportunity to communicate their competitive advantage for free as well as the chance to learn about their customers and prospects’ desires.
Reasons Why You Should be Using Social Media
- Customer data. Obtain valuable customer data (for free!) and incorporate it into marketing approaches.
- Relevant message. Make your message more relevant by learning what is specifically of value to your customer.
- The competition. Keep your finger on the pulse of your competition 24/7. What new products or services is the competition involved in? What problems are their customers revealing?
- Customer interaction. Give your customer the chance to interact with you – build credibility and brand loyalty.
- Information dissemination. Spread the word quickly- your customers act as salespeople for your company, generating buzz about your product, service, or event at lightning speed.
Ready to exploit the benefits of social media? Here are a few tips.
The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media
- DO let followers know of recent product releases and major happens; DON’T bombarded them with this info every day.
- DO share awards and consumer praise; DON’T bash the competitors.
- DO give a peek into your personal life; DON’T share your life story.
- DO talk about how current events tie into your company’s competitive advantage; DON’T discuss current events like politics.
Social media can be your megaphone; reaching out to customers around the globe. Competitive advantages are worthless if your marketplace doesn’t know about them. Social Media provides the platform for shouting your differentiators from the rooftops!
1. Build an Online Presence
Having your business in the online space is one of the best ways to help it grow easily. Most customers have turned to online shopping and if yours is not available to them, they’ll quickly move to the next. Before engaging you in any business, most customers have to first research you online and build trust with you.
Create a website or a blog to promote your products or services and have business accounts on Facebook and Instagram and post your products here.
Ways in which online presence helps your business to grow:
- Wide reach – you can reach customers worldwide and you won’t be limited to the specific location where your store is located.
- Feasibility to operate from anywhere – since you don’t require being at a specific place for it to run, you can expand it easily by working for long hours to get higher returns.
- Better customer support – having an online presence enables you to interact better with your customers and you’re able to attract new ones. You’re able to respond to their questions on time as well as educate them about your products or services.
- 24/7 availability – this enables you to maximize your profits as the store operates throughout, even during public holidays. With online business, customers can read about your products or services and purchase at their convenience.
2. Grow your team
The growth of your business mainly depends on your employees and how they carry out every aspect of the business. To grow your business, you need to empower your employee and ensure they have the necessary skills.
You can grow your team in any of the following ways:
- Train your employees to sharpen their skills.
- Delegate to them as many responsibilities as you can.
- Promote them based on merit, as this encourages them to work harder.
- Listen to complaints and ensure you do the best to improve the situation. Satisfied employees will do the best to ensure the company is growing.
3. Know your customers
Satisfied customers will always come back and hence you should try your best to meet their needs. Understand their needs and develop products and services to meet those needs. Encourage them to give you feedback and improve on it.
Go the extra mile to provide them with exceptional customer services and overtime such that they’ll build loyalty for your business. With this, they’ll also be able to refer you to other people.
To grow and expand your business, you need to align and surround yourself with people in your niche. Make friends with people in business, especially those who are way ahead of you. Aligning yourself with business people who have prospective customers that are your potential customers is a brilliant move and the easiest way to get customers.
In business, it’s a matter of who you know and less about what you know and thus, networking helps you build crucial relationships with other people. Through such relationships, you can encourage them to refer you to their customers and friends about your business and the products/ services you offer.
Other benefits of networking when you’re aiming at growing your business include:
• You get to learn about new business trends
Networking helps you stay updated on new technology and new business trends, thus ensuring you deliver the best. This information helps you implement new and fresh ways of executing your business, making you remain ahead of your competitors.
• Identifying best practices
You get to identify the best business practices during benchmarking. Learning what others do is an easy way to grow as you don’t have to waste time developing your ideas from scratch.
For example, if you’re a restaurant owner and you get associated with other people owning restaurants, you can learn employee management or the latest software programs they are using.
• Business leads
People you network with are your potential customers. Inform them about your business and make a follow-up using the contacts you’ve collected. Act professionally when you meet them since people associate themselves with serious and goal-oriented partners.
• Increased confidence
When you’re constantly pushing your ideas to other people, you gain confidence over time. This is very important as the growth of your business greatly depends on your ability to push it as well as connections.
• Raising your profile
With networking, you get visible and you’re easily noticed when attending seminars and social events. While in these social events, offer helpful information and tips to those who need them. This translates to you building your reputation as a knowledgeable, supportive and reliable entity and people can comfortably do business with you, leading to the growth of your business.
• Gain a different perspective
It’s easy to get caught up with your day-to-day life, which may make you have a single perspective about your business. Interacting with open-minded people helps you view business from different perspectives and gain insights from experts in your area. Ask questions in areas you are unclear about and this will help you get your way around some decisions blocking you from expanding your business.
5. Open another location
Opening another location is among the things you can do to expand your business. This is helpful as it ensures you get a new customer base in a different region. However, you should be careful when doing this and start with less investment if it doesn’t work.
You need to first research thoroughly and plan well before considering physical expansion. The following tips can help you if you’ll consider this as an option:
• Prepare an original business plan for this new business.
• Ensure you have a great administrative and managerial team to get the new business up and running in an accelerated manner.
• Before opening a branch in another location, ensure your business maintains a consistent bottom-line profit and has experienced constant growth over the years.
• Ensure you have another source of income to finance the business until it can finance itself.
• Choose a good location depending on the market and other social amenities crucial for a business, such as electricity, water, good infrastructure and security.
6. Give back to your community
Most people like associating themselves with brands that are affectionate and caring. Giving back to the community is a grand gesture that’ll attract more partners. This is also a good way of building brand awareness locally- you can do this by organizing charity activities or offering scholarships.
7. License your product
This is a low-growth cost method, especially for branded products or service products. It’s a very effective growth method as you get to receive money as royalties for continued use of your name brand or application. It’s widespread in the technology world where most products developed are licensed and developers get to earn through it, such as Microsoft.
Licensing is a low-cost way of growing your business compared to building a company as here; only a few legal fees will be required. There’re other several benefits of licensing a product which includes:
• You don’t need to invest in distribution, thus lowering the cost of operation further.
• It is a passive way of generating income through royalties and you don’t need to actively work to get money.
• As the licensor, you get to have an opportunity to build on skills and expertise for your product. This is because you don’t fear using resources to train them to get taken out of the business by competitors.
• It becomes easy to penetrate new geographical areas and enter foreign markets within your licensee’s distribution network.
The only downside of licensing is losing control of your product. You can avoid this by following these steps before engaging in any licensing agreement:
• First, search for a partner online and these should be companies that provide services or products similar to yours.
• After you have identified a potential partner, contact them and schedule a physical meeting.
• Find an attorney specializing in intellectual properties and tag him along the meeting to ensure you get the best deal out of it.
8. Nurture existing customers and look for new opportunities
Develop strategies to nurture existing customers, such as emailing them to keep in contact and informing them of promotions ahead of time. While doing this, find a way of getting new customers- this can be done through different marketing strategies such as advertising.
To ensure constant growth, always strive to strike a balance between nurturing existing customers and finding new customers.
Diversifying is very important as it ensures you have several streams of income. With this, you don’t suffer when one item is not in season. Diversifying broadens the customer base as you reach out to other different customers who require the new service.
There’re three diversification strategies you can use for your business when you want to grow it.
• Horizontal diversification – this involves providing new and unrelated services or products to your existing customers. An example is a pen manufacturer that enters the notebook market in a quest for diversification for business growth.
• Concentric diversification – it involves adding similar products to your existing business to diversify returns. An example of this is a computer company that basically manufactures laptops starts producing desktops.
• Conglomerate diversification – this is where a business ventures into a completely unrelated area with no commercial and technological similarities. An example of this is a pen manufacturing company venturing into selling phones. This is the riskiest diversification strategy as it requires the business to enter a new market and find new customers.
Tips on diversification
• Determine your diversification strategy – there are two ways around this; the first one is to diversify in related fields. You can do this by buying your competitor’s business or through business merging, thus increasing corporate synergy and overall market share.
The second way is moving into an unrelated field and starting your way down to up or buying an existing business. This is more challenging since it involves moving into a different field that you haven’t experienced before.
• Determine your company’s core competencies – knowing your core competencies gives you an idea of areas in which you can quickly diversify and that are equally profitable. For example, if your core competency is in shipping, you can venture into customer care and marketing. For companies that are best at manufacturing, you can venture into sales.
• Look for fast-growing industries – fast-growing industries such as hospitality assure you good profits. Once you determine industries that are growing faster than your current, examine to find those with customers and resources as well as those you are well competent with.
• List your options – list your options to know what is available for you. Whether it is buying an existing business, joint venture, or starting a new business. If you have an existing workforce, you can start your business from scratch; however, you can buy a company with the skills you need.
For example, if you are looking to diversifying into cloud computing, you can buy an already existing business with ready skills. If you have an IT department, you can branch it to be a business on its own.
• Make a strategic analysis to choose the best option – if you decide to start a new company, you should expect to support it for several years until it picks up. For the case of merging and joint ventures, you should analyze the advantages and disadvantages critically and then settle for the best.
Benefits of diversification
• Diversification helps mitigate risks in the event an industry becomes less profitable.
• It exposes the business to more opportunities for return.
• It safeguards the business against unfavorable market cycles.
• Diversification is used as a defense against competing companies.
10. Measure what works and refine your approach as you go.
Determine what your customers are coming for to measure if your strategies to grow your business are working. If what you’re currently doing is not working, refine your approach and focus on activities that are making high returns.
Growing a business requires a lot of work and dedication. There is no specific way around it and you need to try out different strategies until you become successful. To avoid making huge losses, research thoroughly and start out with cheaper methods such as leveraging social media and networking. If you have the capability and are ready to risk realizing high returns, you can opt for more detailed strategies such as diversification. All the best!