A great business leader envisions growth as part of their journey. Without growth, operations eventually stagnate. This results in poor quality of products and services, low team morale, and even mediocre customer service.
Business growth is necessary for you to stay competitive and relevant in your industry.
According to a report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are more than two million actively trading businesses in the local economy. While there was a 12% exit rate for businesses, the entry rate was around 14%. There was also a 2% increase in the numbers of businesses, which totals to over 46,000.
These numbers reflect the need for growth as more businesses enter the market. With so much competition vying for your target customer’s attention, you need to ensure that your business continues to develop and grow.
Growth may seem like an obvious business goal. But some small business owners become complacent when they reach a certain level of success. Because growing a business comes with certain challenges, they don’t want to risk failing by trying.
But growth is necessary for a business to be sustainable and viable. It boosts your brand credibility, increases your market share, and attracts more customers.
What is business growth?
There’s no one way of defining business growth because it consists of expansion in several areas. A scale-up minded business owner will have external and internal metrics to know when to start growing their business.
Here are some signs that you need to start growing your business:
- Increase in revenue
- Increase in sales
- Increase in demand (for more of your products and services)
- Increase of customers
- Increase of competitors
Different businesses will experience different (or all) growth indicators. It’s important to identify which indicators to prioritise so you know when to start growing your business.
A recent study highlighted 100 of the most valuable brands in the world. Of the 100 brands, 20 of them grew by more than 40% in 2018. Some of the most successful brands constantly pushed for their growth.
Apple uses aggressive campaigns to promote their latest products to their target customer. Samsung is now known for its tech products, but it started in sugar refining, textiles, banking and insurance. Netflix also consistently expands its collection of original content, from movies and series to documentaries and reality shows.
Every business starts with surviving and breaking even. But eventually it should start growing to really succeed.
Why should you grow your small business?
Business growth means acquiring new customers in addition to your established customer base. When you expand your range of products and services, for example, this allows you to reach an untapped market. You still retain your loyal customers with your original offerings, but you also attract new ones because of your innovations.
You also gain the economies of scale. Because you’re investing in more resources in larger quantities, suppliers and vendors will give you significant discounts. And when you pay less for your supplies, you have more money to build your business in other ways.
Growing your business opens up more branding opportunities. Maximising your marketing strategies to reach a wider audience means that more people will associate your brand with certain qualities and characteristics.
It also attracts new talent to your business, which will be helpful as your workload naturally increases.
Last but not least, all of this combined results in your business edging out the rest of the competition and keeps them guessing.
10 strategies to quickly grow your small business
Growing a business comes with its own risks and challenges. It’s important to know which business strategies to use so that you don’t crash and burn. Here are ten ways to grow your small business.
1. Build your email list
Email marketing is still an effective way of reaching your target customer. Statistics show that emails are still a prevalent way to communicate to the average adult. There are over four billion email users and almost 400 billion emails are sent and received every day. People are more likely to engage with your business if you offer engaging content.
And emails still beat social media in terms of marketing. It’s 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. This isn’t to say that you should dismiss social media. A social media marketing strategy reaches a wide audience and encourages engagement in real time.
But building a strong email list can help grow your business by driving your customer acquisition and retention. Creating engaging and relevant content directly for your audience builds a personal, long-lasting connection with them.
2. Provide flawless customer experience
Consistently giving a customer a positive experience can quickly boost business growth. Their positive reviews about your business is the best form of word of mouth marketing because it’s genuine and organic.
Providing high-quality customer experience is important for sustained growth because it builds customer loyalty and helps you retain customers. In fact, the majority of customers leave a brand after just one bad experience.
Customer retention is important for growth because they increase value in your company much more easily than customer acquisition. A 5% increase in customer retention leads to an increase of profits between 25% to 95%.
Some business owners use customer service and customer experience interchangeably. But customer service is just one aspect of the entire customer experience. Customer service is the first point of contact between the consumer and you or your team.
On the other hand, customer experience is about creating an emotional connection and using their feedback to develop your products and services for their needs.
3. Get feedback
Feedback from your team and your customers is essential in developing quicker and more efficient processes.
A good employee-manager relationship is a top driver for employee satisfaction. When you and your staff regularly have honest and professional exchanges about each other’s thoughts, it creates a positive feedback loop.
Giving your feedback about their performance and accepting theirs about business operations improves the overall growth of your business.Your team members have different perspectives, so they may have ideas on how to further improve your business.
Getting customer feedback is also essential in creating a genuine connection. Customer feedback allows you to improve existing products and services and provide innovations based on their insights.
When you take key insights from customer feedback and apply them, you also ensure that you stay relevant and valuable to your customer’s ever-changing needs and preferences.
Here are a few ways to collect customer and employee feedback:
- Face-to-face or video call interactions. This is the best environment for giving and receiving employee feedback because it’s personal and authentic. It’s also easier to observe social and emotional cues when you see their expression or hear their voice.
- Online surveys. This is a more professional way of getting feedback that reaches a wider group of people.
- Social media. You can see how your business and products and services are seen through social media because customers share their honest opinions and experiences in different platforms.
4. Empower your team (and get external help if necessary)
As a business owner, it’s important to lead by motivating and inspiring your team. When your team is empowered, they are more likely to produce quicker and higher-quality output.
For a business to grow, it needs to extend beyond its founder. Decisions shouldn’t bottleneck at the business owner. Team managers and members should also develop smart decision-making skills, as well as the accountability to face the consequences of their actions.
When a business owner has high emotional intelligence, they can develop a team that is proactive and self-assured. Emotions play a big role when you communicate with your team. If you don’t know how to regulate negative thoughts or feelings, that can easily rebound on the rest of the workplace.
But if you have the emotional intelligence to empathise with your team and set aside negative emotions in favour of the tasks at hand, you will create a highly motivated and open workplace.
If you show your trust in your team members, they will gain the confidence to carry out their tasks without fear of failing.
Part of being an emotionally intelligent business leader is strategically delegating tasks so you’re not overloaded with work. And as your business continues to grow, getting external help like an accountant can keep your financial operations in check.
5. Establish partnerships
Creating meaningful business partnerships allows you to increase your target audience and adopt key aspects from other business’ processes into your own.
A referral partnership can be beneficial for both parties. When two or more businesses enter an official arrangement together, they can enter new markets, gain advantage over their competitors, and generate new leads into their business.
For a partnership to work, both parties need to be on the same page. They need to equally contribute and invest their resources (such as time and effort) into the partnership. Partnerships can also be very powerful for small businesses because it can help them stay competitive with industry giants.
6. Offer social proof
In a highly digital world, it’s important for your business to provide social proof.
People are more likely to purchase your products and services if they see positive reviews from other like-minded customers. It allows potential customers to verify that your business is effective for other people, which means that it will most likely be effective for them too.
Today, the majority of customers don’t have as much trust on eCommerce platforms because people can sell fake or faulty products and services. At the same time, consumers are less likely to purchase from a business that has zero reviews. This tells them that no one has experienced (or enjoyed) those products and services yet.
When you showcase social proof and glowing testimonials about your products and services, it will increase brand awareness and the likelihood of sales.
7. Make smart use of social media
Social media is a powerful tool to engage with different audiences. It’s also where most (if not all) consumers connect and discover online stores.
Studies show that over three billion people actively use social media platforms and messaging services every month. The top five platforms for social media marketing include Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
People stay updated with social media, so announcing online giveaways and sales will reach a wide audience. The more appealing your posts are, the more people are likely to share and like your content.
Successful businesses increase their growth with great social media marketing. Spotify’s year-end “Wrapped” campaign effectively uses their consumer data by providing listeners a detailed summary of their favorite songs, albums, artists, and even music genres. This highly motivates users to share their Spotify “Wrapped” results on social media, which then spreads to a wider audience.
Wendy’s twitter team created a witty, funny, and authentic online persona. The brand exchanged jokes with customers and followers and even called out its competitors. As the tweets gained traction, Wendy’s increased brand awareness and established a more genuine connection with its audience.
Having a strong social media presence humanises your business, increases brand awareness, and encourages your customers to take interest in your products and services. And for a small business, you can tell impactful stories on social media even with a limited budget.
8. Create customer loyalty programs
Loyalty or rewards programs are a great way of retaining customers and enticing new audiences to try your business.
An effective loyalty program uses the purchasing history of customers to provide relevant offers and incentives and to improve overall customer experience. Studies show that 63% of high-performing marketers use loyalty programs in their strategy.
The Amazon Prime Membership Program offers exclusive access to sales, streaming services, and free two-day shipping. Gap also revamped its brand by introducing the Gap Good Rewards where members can earn points and convert them into discounts.
Creating effective loyalty programs will encourage happy and satisfied customers to share reviews about your business, which will then result in a bigger customer base.
9. Identify your competition and what they’re doing
Knowing your competition is essential in your business strategy. And as a small business owner, you need to be prepared for the market you’re entering. Information about your competitors is easily available on their official website and social media pages, including posts and engagement with their customers.
Observing their strengths and weaknesses will help you identify both high-performing areas and significant flaws. Don’t imitate your competition, instead observe what they do but offer more value. Be proactive with improving the gaps you observed from your competitors. And if you have similar processes, consider changing or revamping yours to edge out your competition.
10. Always review your business plan
Consistently reviewing your business plan will keep you motivated and inspired to achieve your goals. It will also help you reorganise them if you encounter changes as your business starts growing.
A business plan is the foundation of your entire company. It helps you understand how to build and grow your business. It tracks your progress in terms of achieving your business goals. It guides you in making effective and strategic decisions. And it minimises risks because you have contingencies for worst-case scenarios.
Reviewing your business plan can help you assess how well you’re performing and if you need to reframe your trajectories when growing. It can also identify where you and your business are headed, whether it’s in a direction you had expected or not.
Business growth comes with its own risks and challenges, but the rewards are worth it if you use the right strategies. If you need help with the financial aspect of growing your business, book a call now.