Starting and leading a small business can be complex and demanding, and the biggest challenge can be to expand it at a constant pace and a reasonable speed. Regardless of the nature of your company or its size, it has the potential to grow. As long as you’re passionate about your business and willing to work hard to take it to the next level, you can make it into the organization you’ve always dreamed of leading.
Growing your business is often necessary for its survival and your economic well-being. A small business can become relevant in the market with a few simple, well directed techniques. A concept, a good internal organization and a good marketing strategy can make the difference.
Remember that some of the greatest companies nowadays were born in a garage. So, how did they do it? What made them grow? Here are 5 business growth strategies that can help you start a continuous growth process.
1. Clearly define your mission, objectives and vision
Knowing where you are and where you want to go, are the foundations to define the path you should follow to grow your business.
To define your company’s mission you should answer questions such as: what does it sell/do? Who does it sell to? What is it doing to improve the world, your customers’ lives or your environment? What do you expect to gain from it other than economic turnaround? Then, elaborate a small paragraph and put it somewhere you can see it every day.
To define your vision you should answer the question: where do you see your business in five years? Think big, be ambitious, and based on this projection write a series of steps you need to follow to reach your vision. These will be your business’ objectives.
This is essential because it mobilizes your mind and emotions, which will push you to persevere through the barriers and problems you may encounter along the way.
2. Expand to the Internet
Bill Gates said it better: “there will be only two kinds of businesses, those with an internet presence, and those with no business at all.” This statement illustrates today’s business landscape.
There’s a series of reasons why your business should have a website. If you’ve already created an attractive website with good, informative content, you need to make it as visible as possible for your target public. This can be challenging, taking into account that, according to Netcraft, there are now more than 644 million active websites. Landing your website in search engine results is key, since more than 80% of web traffic comes via search engines, according to web content strategist Sally Falkow.
3. Build strong customer relationships
This is key to the long-term viability of your business. If you’re the leader of a small company, you have an advantage in this area over big organizations, since you can interact with customers at a much more personal level. You should listen to your customers in order to know what they want, but you shouldn’t limit this to simply asking them, since the client doesn’t always know what is it exactly they want. After you’ve identified your public, you need to research their habits, aspirations, their needs, the way they see themselves… By understanding your customers, you can cater to their specific desires and make sure that they have a satisfactory experience.
Giving your customers custom notebooks for business can be a great marketing strategy since it can make your company more visible as well as creating sense of belonging in your customers, which can help retain them.
4. Create a loyal employee base
Having a loyal, well-trained team is the secret behind any successful business. As long as your employees are passionate about their jobs and happy at their workplace, they can help your business move forward and give you an advantage over the competition. Besides, having loyal employees will reduce employee turnover, which means you won’t lose money or productivity by trying to retain new staff.
This can be especially challenging, since young people today are looking to work at companies that can give certain benefits -like flexible hours, the possibility to work from different places, etc.-, and if they don’t feel comfortable at the organization, they don’t hesitate to go searching for a place that can meet their needs. You need to be prepared to adapt to what the new generations are expecting from their employers and their workplace.
5. Innovate on your product or service
A great way to get your existing customers to buy more as well as attracting more clients, is to promote new uses for your products or services. Diversification is also an important factor here: you should focus on the related needs of your market, and innovate from there. A very elemental example can be a shoe seller who starts selling socks and shoelaces as well.
Remember that as effective as these tips may be, you won’t see results overnight. Growing a business takes time, effort and patience. Focus on your vision, where you want your small business to grow, and start working towards your goals by being open to change and innovation, as well as working in customer and employee retention.
You will see progress as long as you put all your passion and efforts on making these strategies work. In the business world, you either grow or disappear, so it’s your choice to grow your business and make it all you’ve ever dreamed of!
Do you have any other tips in making a small business grow? If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave a comment below.