12 Tips for Growing Your BusinessTaking your business to the next level requires creative thinking, thoughtful planning and the drive to succeed. Here are a dozen ideas to consider as you map out your growth plans.
1. Research your customers and competitors
Keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your market can be extremely valuable to your growth efforts. Stay in touch with customers’ ever-changing wants and needs through focus groups, surveys, online research and casual conversations. Keep tabs on your competitors, too, by periodically reading their websites and online reviews so you can learn from their successes and mistakes, differentiate your brand from the pack, and leverage any unfulfilled product or service needs.
2. Build a flexible, resilient and enthusiastic team
Be strategic about who you hire and support their professional development so that you have a strong team backing your company’s growth. Growing your business often requires pivoting with customer demand or other changes in the market, and there are sure to be challenges along the way. You need a team you can rely on to rise to any occasion.
3. Reward your current customers
Acquiring a new customer can cost four to 10 times more than keeping an established customer. Focus on earning and retaining your customers’ loyalty by making service a top priority, staying in touch with customers through social media and creating a loyalty program that rewards your customers for their business. In addition to letting your customers know you appreciate them, an effective loyalty program can help you sell more and attract new customers.
4. Tantalize potential customers
Take what you learn from your research and develop a strong sales pitch around it. What do customers want? How does your product or service fulfill/exceed their needs? How can you present that in a compelling way? While your natural inclination may be to turn this over to your marketing team, remember that every person in the company has ideas to share. Invite a diverse mix of employees to your brainstorm sessions and watch the ideas multiply as you collaborate on an offer your target market can’t resist.
5. Communicate meaningfully and frequently
Marketing channels have become so varied that you can customize a communications approach to fit your business like a glove. Whether you’re looking to attract new customers or reinforce your relationship with current ones, you can choose from traditional ads, digital ads, social media, webinars, email marketing, search engine marketing, content marketing, trade shows and more to tell your story, offer deals, start conversations and build your brand.
6. Build your referral network
Your current customers can be a great source of referrals, but don’t just count on them to spread the word; actively engage them. This could be as simple as asking whether they know someone who might be interested in what you offer, or if they will share and tag your brand on social media. Depending on the type of business you’re in, you might consider offering an incentive — providing them with a discount code when they make a referral, for example.
7. Tout your commitment to people and planet
Social responsibility is a huge priority today for customers, business partners and investors. Set quantifiable goals for your business such as reducing your carbon footprint by x%, using sustainable materials and processes, and engaging with the community to support worthy causes. Be sure to keep your audience updated on your achievements and progress through social and local media.
8. Identify opportunities to diversify
Is it time you expand your product or service line? Being in tune with the evolution of customer needs can help you grow, whether that means adding complementary products, bundling your services in a convenient package or leveraging the subscription trend. Always be thinking about what else you can sell and where you can add value.
9. Build strategic partnerships
Aligning your company with a complementary (but not competing) business can offer mutual benefits. Think Starbucks and Barnes & Noble. People like to drink coffee when they read and read when they drink coffee. Both partners get an instant visibility boost, while customers get added value. Be selective: Make sure that the company you approach about a partnership shares your goals, values and vision.
10. Consider franchising or licensing
If your business is successful and has the potential to be duplicated through a repeatable business model, you may want to consider the franchise route. While franchising requires a substantial investment of time and money, it can enable rapid scaling by getting your products or services into more locations to help you generate more revenue.
Likewise, taking your product/service to a larger company through a licensing agreement can get you more exposure and help you to grow your business quickly. It’s not as complex a process as franchising yet provides easy access to a much larger footprint.
11. Buy a competitor or complementary business
If you are at a stage in your growth where you have plenty of capital to invest, acquisition may be an alternative for growing your presence and revenue. Buying a competitor’s business or location has the added benefit that you no longer stand to lose business to that company. Consider complementary businesses, too — those that provide products or services you could incorporate to more completely fulfill your customers’ needs as well as attract new customers.
12. Never stop thinking!
Always have a plan in mind for strengthening and building your business. Revisit your strategic growth plan often and know what your next steps are going to be. That plan will help you drive ongoing growth and keep your business moving forward.
This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. Any reliance on the information herein is solely and exclusively at your own risk and you are urged to do your own independent research. To the extent information herein references an outside resource or Internet site, Dollar Bank is not responsible for information, products or services obtained from outside sources and Dollar Bank will not be liable for any damages that may result from your access to outside resources. As always, please consult your own counsel, accountant, or other advisor regarding your specific situation.
Posted: June 02, 2022