Growing your business isn’t an easy prospect, but it’s what owning a small business is all about. As a business owner, you have to put in an incredible amount of work to take your company to the next level. For rapid and sustainable growth, you need strategic planning, stamina, and a competitive edge.
But where do you start? Effective growth for small businesses involves countless moving pieces and variables. If you’re going to grow your business fast and carry your business through this, you can’t get overwhelmed. You need an organized approach that doesn’t move too quickly or take unnecessary risks.
How to Grow Your Small Business
Healthy and sustainable growth for small business owners requires careful planning. You lay the groundwork for expansion, you expand your target customer base, and you scale up your business operation to serve that new audience.
1. Plan the Growth Groundwork
Sustainable growth requires an enormous amount of effort on the front-end. Before you spend a single dollar on production or advertising, you need to put together a plan. You’re trying to coordinate all the moving parts of your business to work as one, and that’s no easy task. You need to know how your business works, and you also need to know everything there is to know about your market.
The Sales Funnel
It’s essential to dedicate time to developing your sales funnel. A sales funnel is an automated process for pulling in new customers. To create rapid growth, you’ll need to plan out how you’re going to use all of your marketing tools and platforms to build a better sales funnel.
Customer Management Systems
Before you try to grow your company and increase your customer base, you should ensure you’re ready to handle keeping track of the increased workload. If you’re keeping track of orders or clients on paper or by memory, you’re not prepared. Find a customer management system (CMS) to install that works for you.
2. Do Your Research
Growth isn’t something you decide to do. You need to know everything there is about your target customers and your competition. Market research can help you understand who your customers are and what they want, which is critical for developing and marketing your products or services.
Competitive research is about studying your competitors and learning everything you can from them. What are their strengths? How do they market their services? Sometimes business growth is about getting out from under a larger competitor, which means finding a way to set yourself apart and create a marketing plan that will work for your market.
3. Grow Your Reach
Once you’ve put in the work planning and preparing for growth, it’s time to execute your plans and try to reach more people. You’re making a concerted effort as a business to connect with more new clients. This is about your marketing plan.
Digital marketing is the future. Unfortunately, few businesses can manage to grow these days without investing significantly into an online presence. You need a website that is accessible, inviting, and showcases your company’s values and strengths.
Your next step depends on who your audience is and where they are. You need to find the right marketing tactics for your company. Online advertising can be useful if you’re able to target it at the right customers.
You might also want to develop your content marketing and social media strategies. With content marketing, you can start a blog for your business to increase traffic to your website. If you use search engine optimization (SEO), each blog post can function as a landing page for different possible searches customers might use to find your website.
On the social media platform for your business, you can use the content you’re generating to start conversations and connect directly with consumers. Not only will this help you build your brand identity, but also cultivate new customer relationships.
Depending on where you are and how far spread out your customer base is, there might also be traditional marketing tools that work effectively. There’s still a place in comprehensive marketing plans for billboards, mailing campaigns, and newspaper ads.
Consider who your customers are. Will you target the group more precisely with a Facebook ad or with a local newspaper ad? If your customers are limited to a small geographic area and tend to read specific publications, you might reach them very effectively with some traditional marketing at the local level.
Focus on the People
In your rush to find new customers, don’t forget about the ones you already have. Instead of letting them feel ignored, remember that your existing customers are the best marketing resources you have.
One productive growth marketing strategy for small businesses is to encourage the natural word of mouth process to find new clients over time. Start referral programs that give your clients incentives to tell others about your business. You can advertise those opportunities directly to customers by email address.
Working with existing customers loyal to your brand can also help you discover your business’s strengths and weaknesses. That allows you to lean into your strengths and to work to improve your weaknesses.
4. Grow Your Operation
Once your growth strategies are in process, and you’ve got new customers coming in, it’s time to expand your operation to make sure you can keep up. It’s dangerous to invest too much in growing your staff or inventory before you see the growth in your client base, but you might not be able to serve those clients well if you’re not quick to scale up your operation.
The key is to plan exactly how you grow and do it wisely. If you don’t plan ahead of time, you’ll find yourself hiring the first passable employee and throw them onto the team to keep up with demand. Planning how you’re going to scale up ahead of time helps you find the right talent and keeps your company balanced with a healthy cash flow.
Healthy and sustainable growth requires care and control. You’re not trying to grow any faster than you can handle. On the other hand, if some of your growth strategies aren’t working, you need to know that as quickly as possible. Your growth marketing team should be using marketing analytics to track results and plan adjustments as necessary.
Keep It Together
Growing your business is a challenging and exciting process that takes a lot of time and effort. The important thing is to be patient and dedicated. You need to stay in control and be alert to the risks you’re taking or avoiding.
As the business owner, it’s also easy to forget that you’re not the only one who feels pressure when going through stressful business transitions. While you scale up your business, don’t forget to take care of your employees and continue showing up for them and your early customers.
Need help scaling up your business? One way to free up your valuable time is to hire an expert accountant or bookkeeper who can take care of your finances.