The best way to grow a business is to stay on top of your business instead of in it.
But what does that mean exactly? As a business owner, we must understand the many facets of business—marketing, production, management, accounting and much more. But instead of getting caught up in the minutia of daily tasks, we must look at the big picture.
We must understand the current conditions of the industry we’re in, including the competition and the latest technologies, and adapt as needed. That may mean rebranding, adopting new systems, upgrading software or changing marketing strategies.
We must also strive to continually make valuable connections with our customers as well as other business leaders with whom we can form strategic partnerships. Relationships are what will help your business grow.
These tips are meant to help you think about your business in six key areas: knowing your competition; building your sales funnels; adjusting your USP; creating customer loyalty; forming alliances and maximizing your social media presence.
As you read through the article, think about the system or process you have in place, or need to create, for each of these key areas. This will keep your business running smoothly and also expand your business with less effort and cost.
Know Your Competition
What are you competitors doing? How are they succeeding? What are they doing wrong?
While you don’t want to fall into analysis paralysis, checking into what keywords, ads and other marketing strategies your competitors are using can give you an idea of what to do—and not to do—for your own business.
Build Your Sales Funnels
How are you getting people to purchase, sign up or otherwise purchase for you? A sales funnel is just a fancy term for the process (or system) you use to lure people to your product or service and complete the sale.
Some effective sales funnel techniques that you can utilize are:
- pop-ups which give the visitor a special offer
- different pricing levels for subscriptions
- a money-back guarantee
- articles and newsletters with useful content
- social media posts
- effective ads and PR
- an email list of visitors who receive your special offer, newsletters etc
- clear CTA’s on each web page
The more of these techniques you can implement, the faster you can grow your business.
Adjust Your USP
Do you know your unique selling position (a.k.a unique selling proposition or point)? In other words, what separates your business from your competitors and helps your business stand out?
Even if you know what it is now, you will still need to make adjustments as markets change. If you’re not constantly reassessing then your business will suffer and perhaps even cease to exist.
Case in point: Remember Sears and Blockbuster? These were two giants that dominated their particular markets. Now Blockbuster is a relic and Sears is near extinction. Their problem was that neither adjusted to the changing commercial landscape—they didn’t reassess their USP’s as times changed.
Your business should always be adapting. The best way to do this to to consistently read up on the latest news and trends in not just your business’s particular niche but also technology as well since changes in tech affect all industries.
Create Customer Loyalty
Customers can be finicky. Whether your business caters only to local clientele or has an international reach, they will almost always have a choice to go elsewhere if they wish.
Therefore, it is paramount to reward them for their patronage.
As the saying goes, people don’t remember so much as what you say as how you make them feel. How are you making your customers feel when they engage in our business and what can you do to make it even better?
You can create a positive experience by:
- creating a loyalty program. A company who does this really well is Starbucks. By downloading and using their app (or their gold gift card) the customer can earn free drinks.
- deliver quality. This goes without saying. Even if you’re selling widget that’s manufactured overseas for less than a dollar, still test it out yourself to ensure the gadget does what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t break easily. The best businesses think long term and build loyal customers. If you provide flash but no substance, you won’t be building a sustainable business.
- giving them “extras” Is there a little something you can throw in when you sell a product or when they use your service? Similar to a loyalty program, giving your customers a little bonus (i.e. a “freebie” can help create that “positive experience” mentioned above.
What are you currently doing to create customer loyalty? If you deliver high quality products and service and reward your customers in some way, you’ll have fans of your business for life.
Form New Alliances
Leveraging other people’s knowledge, networks, systems and skills can help expand your business much more quickly than if you try to do it on our own. By partnering up with others, you can capitalize on this leverage.
A new alliance can come by way of:
- merging your business with another
- creating partnerships with other businesses for joint promotions, collaborative products and more.
- bringing in a partner for your own business.
- hiring additional staff with specialized skills
One example of how partnerships are effectively used is how music executives pair up popular artists on songs. By featuring a second singer on a song, they leverage the fan base (and skills) of both artists. While on the surface this looks like it’s done for the sake of artistry, it’s actually a brilliant marketing move that sells more music.
You can apply this same concept to your own business. Who can you partner up with to grow your business? Look for complementary businesses that would mutually benefit in a joint promotion. Reach out to other business owners via social media and networking events. Just make sure it’s a worthwhile deal for them, too.
Be a Social Media Butterfly
You can’t be an island and expect to grow your business. At the risk of making the business world sound like high school, the businesses who are the most popular win.
One of the best ways to become popular is to offer a superior service or product. The other is to let as many people know about it as possible. And that requires plenty of social interaction.
But do you know the purpose of being on social media? Before you answer, “Grow my business” or “make more money,” let’s delve a little deeper.
The purpose of being on social media will hopefully bring about those two events. But in order for that to happen, you have to connect and resonate with your targeted audience.
One of the best ways to do this is to be active on the one or two major social media platforms that cater to your intended audience. Pinterest, for example, has different demographics than Twitter.
But how you engage is just as important. Is the content you post helpful or interesting? Is it targeted at the right people? Does it help clearly define your brand?
Being social is important but knowing which platform to choose and what type of content to post matters, too. As a business owner, you will have to understand the difference between, say, LinkedIn as a platform and Instagram. Understanding how the various platforms operate and who uses them regularly can help you choose where to focus your social media energy.
The Best Way to Grow Your Business: Recap
The best way to continually grow your business is to keep your eye on the big picture. This keeps you “on” your business rather than “in it.”
Your job as the leader of your business is to have a vision of where your business is going. To do this, you will want to continually update and perfect processes, systems and strategies for these six key areas:
- understanding and analyzing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses
- building multiple sales funnels that convert
- continually reassessing and readjusting your USP
- creating customer loyalty via superior quality and also through reward programs
- forming strategic alliances with key players
- pairing down your social media presence to maximize it
Staying on top of these different facets will ensure your business wins the popularity contest in the long run. Remember, the world is constantly changing, which means your business will need to change as well. Staying up-to-date on these changes and adapting accordingly will help your business thrive—and prevent it from becoming the next Block-“bust”-er.