Small businesses are fueled by ambition. For most, that ambition lies in the pursuit of growth. There is no one-size-fits all strategy to grow your business, but there are a few different ways that you can try to spur it. Having a plan is the first step, and following these five suggestions can help you develop ideas to help drive growth.
1. Take a Risk
No business has ever grown by standing still. In order to change your growth rate, you must make a change yourself. Risk should be an area you’re familiar with if you’ve already started your own business. This risk can come in different forms; maybe it’s allocating more or less of your budget to different areas in an attempt to grow a specific aspect of your business, or it could be expanding, or adding a new product or service. What you take a chance on relies on your project’s needs.
2. Ask the Audience
Sometimes figuring out what to do differently can be difficult, especially when you’re not in the position of a customer. Find your regulars, and ask them what more they’d like to see from you in the future. It may seem like a simple idea, but several huge companies (Lego’s, Netflix, McDonalds…) have benefitted from this approach. The people who make use of your services are the ones who know where improvements can be made, and their opinions should be valued.
3. Engage With Your Audience in Creative Ways
Getting the opinions of your customers requires a few minutes of your time, but also establishes a relationship. Taking the comment box approach is as ineffective as it is impersonal. Initiating conversation with consumers should be personal, and continued. Maintaining conversation with customers gives a face to the company as well as a good reputation. You want to give them something to brag about. Going a little out of your way to talk to your customers is like a free form of PR. The manager asked us how our meal was and thanked us for coming. The owner of my gym offered to spot me. These are the kinds of things you want your consumers telling their friends.
4. Partner With Other Business
This is especially important on the local level. It not only can bring in a new group of potential customers, but gives your business a sense of community. Attend your community business meetings and try to source needs through the people you meet there and they’re likely to do the same. There’s also the possibility of joining forces on a project and engaging a much larger audience. Another benefit from partnering is referrals for customers needing things that you don’t offer. Just be sure to partner up with the right person, you don’t want someone who is all ‘take’ and no ‘give.’
5. Automate It
How much of your routine do you spend on mundane, administrative tasks? The answer is likely, “too much.” Search for ways that you can streamline these processes through technology. Finding ways to automate not only saves you the payroll, but frees up time for you to focus on the more important aspects of running your business. Whatever it is you need completed, there’s probably an app made just for it.
No one said that growing your business is easy, but it won’t happen if you aren’t looking for areas that you could further develop. Figuring out exactly what it is that you can do might be the most difficult part, but using these techniques could help give you an idea. Just make sure that whatever you decide is fully implemented. Don’t be afraid that a new idea will fail, while it may, the chances are much slimmer if you hedge it.