Growing a business can be incredibly tough. Especially if you’re in an industry that’s saturate and competitive beyond belief. But it can be done. First of all, give yourself a pat on the back for surviving this long. It isn’t easy. Starting up is tough, and if you’re looking to grow it should mean you’re over the first and some say, tallest hurdle. There are a lot of ways you can grow your business, depending on your industry some can be more effective than others. However, whatever way you look at it there are certain steps you can take that will result in your business growing. You’ve just got to take the right steps in the right order. You also must be resilient and not overreach yourself. Doing so can cost time and money, and potentially cripple your business. Don’t let it get to that point. You also need to realise that the time you spend trying to grow your business is time spent away for your core business activity. These tips can help you get started. You might already have begun to implement some, but see what other ideas they can give you. Approach them one at a time, don’t overstretch. Good luck!
- Make Sure Your Computers Can Handle the Growth
When you grow, so does your storage needs, whether data or paper. If the use of computers is vital to your day job then you need to ensure that they can handle the extra usage or programs needed to grow successfully. Before ploughing cash into better server stacks or computers with better processing you could migrate to azure. It might just be a case of upgrading the hard discs in your computers with minimal costings. You need to ensure that if you’re a data led business where computers are vital that they can handle any potential growth you have in mind. It’s better to think about this before the actual growth takes place too, so that everything is ready. Otherwise you could face an embarrassing and potentially costly situation when you’re just on the cusp of real-time growth.
- Tap into Social Media
If you haven’t done so already, a great way to grow is by tapping into the wonders of social media. You can grow your business by reaching a lot more customers and even if they are not customers, word of mouth will spread. It all comes back to the simple adage of if no one knows your business exists, how are they going to use you? This applies to any business in any industry too. If you’re entirely based online with your service completed at an office you’ll want to reach a wide, national or international audience. If you’re a local cafe, restaurant or shop you’ll want to reach a local audience. You can do both with social media. First, take some good pictures of your business. Be it your storefront on a nice day, or office signage with your team. Then you need to set up your business page. Think about Facebook. Once your page is up you can put vital information on there. Opening hours, services offered and prices. A lot of people will just search Facebook for businesses these days so having your presence online is paramount. Do this with Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and you’re going to increase your profile by quite a lot and in turn grow your business.
- Bring in The Industry Experts
No, not as employees. But to review what you’re doing. There are likely blogs, or magazines that run reviews of the services you offer. For example, if you are in the restaurant business, there is likely a food critic magazine. Invite them in. Let them review your business. You win both ways. If you get great reviews you’ll likely pull in more clientele. If you get an unfavourable review then you can use that as feedback and make things better. Then you can invite them back again and get a good review. It’s a frightening prospect to most, but if you can go ahead and get them in you really will end up growing your business. It’s all free publicity. Be careful with who you invite. Try to assess whether there is an ulterior motive in place, such as a connection to your competitor. It’s always better to do a little bit of research at this point than to find out once the bookings have all been made.
- On the Subject of Reviews
It doesn’t just need to be industry experts. It can also be your customers. If you’re a restaurant, this will happen anyway and your place will end up on Trip Advisor or another similar website. But if you’re not in the restaurant game allow for a method by where people can leave public reviews or feedback. When you start to amass good reviews, it’ll lend prospective customers more confidence. How many times have you bought something on Amazon because it had more reviews? It really works. Again, you might get the odd bad one. You can respond to these. Show that you’re engaging with your customers and use the feedback to improve the services or products on offer. A lot of people won’t bother to leave a review, so it might be a good idea to follow all sales up with an email pointing people in the right direction.
- Hire Right
To properly grow your business, you will probably need to hire some more people. This can be so you can focus on the important things while they process the administrative side of your business. It could be so that they man the phone leaving you free to carry out your business activity, or it could be to ensure you get through the increased custom you’re experiencing. Even if you’re taking on an apprentice with no experience you need to make sure you hire right. First, your advert needs to be well placed. This could be on a general website like Indeed, or it could be somewhere more specific to your industry activity. The advert should specify exactly what you need in terms of qualifications and experience. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up having to pick through dozens of applications where they simply aren’t up to your standards. When it comes to the interview make sure you know what kinds of questions you want to ask. If you haven’t done this before then consider asking someone with interview experience to help. They could quite easily pick up on something you’ve missed out.
- Customer Retention
Sometimes growing a business isn’t just about bringing in new people. Instead it’s about keeping those you already have. You do this by providing a stand out service that people can come back to because they have faith in what you do. Sometimes you need to give them a little bit more of an incentive. A customer loyalty programme can do this for you. If you’re a cafe and sell coffee to go, think about a stamp card. Or maybe a points voucher system for people to get a small discount next time they shop with you. It’ll ensure they come back again. Loyalty is tough in today’s market. There are always offers on or promotions designed to pull people away from your business. Pay attention to them. Copy them where you think necessary. Your competition will play dirty so why can’t you? Remember, promotions will pull in new customers as well retain old. Whatever you offer, try to pass it to existing customers too otherwise they’ll get annoyed that they can’t benefit. This is what happens when customers keep moving around. Try to limit it as best you can.