You’ve started up a business. It’s making money and trucking along quite nicely. But now you have bigger ambitions. You see yourself hitting bigger numbers and reaching further but you don’t know quite how to go about getting there.
You could break through barriers simply by taking a closer look at your operations and changing tack with support and guidance external to the business. It’s time to embrace change and do things differently to get better results. Your roadmap to scaling up your business starts here…
My business needs help – where do I start?
Success is a journey and not a destination. However, every business gets to a point where growth hits a steady plateau. This can be for a variety of reasons which aren’t easy to identify when your core focus is on the day-to-day running of your company.
Success is unlocking the full potential of your business, so you will need to divert your attention to identifying how you can help numbers get right up there and transform your company. This could mean making existing processes more efficient, developing new business partnerships or hiring help in the form of a coach to help you construct your strategies.
But it could also mean building new marketing strategies in the age of social media that see your company thrust into the limelight and dramatically increase your net revenue and profit margins. However, this will depend on your brand’s goals.
What is business growth?
Every business owner wants to achieve consistent business growth with the mythical one-size-fits-all success formula. Truthfully, the journey to success looks different for everyone, especially within the first 90 days. What one business considers to be successful growth may not be the same for everyone. But essentially it means a business that is expanding in any one way, for example:
- Profitability and profit margins
- Business value
- The number of customers
- The number of employees
Often when a business is growing in one area, other areas tend to flourish at the same time to achieve a higher level of overall growth. But this isn’t always the case! For example, profit could increase but not the number of customers. This happens when the same customer pool makes purchases that add up to a higher amount. And, sometimes, growth in one area can actually lead to a decrease in overall business growth, such as the number of sales rising due to a decrease in product price, generally leading to a decrease in revenue.
For some businesses, growth is steep and rapid, whereas for others, it takes a slower and steadier approach. There is no one right way to address business growth. It’s all about the best approaches for you, your business, and your team.
Nurture for long-term profit
There’s no denying that trying to attract brand new customers can be costly. There’s the marketing budget required to draw them in, then the staff time and costs involved in dealing with their enquiries. However, it’s well worth the reward when they end up sticking around. They like what you offer and that’s great. That is, until they no longer feel the love and begin to stray elsewhere.
Focusing on what’s already bringing in revenue is at the keystone of bumping up those numbers without maxing out your budget on your strategies. Getting a customer to buy from you twice is cheaper than getting two customers to each buy from you once, so it’s a no-brainer if you want to grow your revenue while keeping costs minimal.
An easy and cost-effective way to start this off is by implementing regular e-mail and newsletter campaigns to stay connected with current customers and keep your business on their radar. Let them know about any upcoming promotions before general release or send them exclusive discount codes as a thank you for their loyalty.
By ensuring that you don’t forget and look after your existing customers well, they will be more inclined to purchase from you again. It’s all about striking the right balance between cultivating current client relationships and simultaneously appealing to potential new customers enough to reel them in.
Improve the customer journey
Customer service is key for business growth – regardless of your business goals, being nice pays! But what is equally, if not more important than just great customer service is the customer journey. This means every interaction a customer has with you and your business, from their initial discovery of you all the way through to a completed transaction and beyond. What can you do to ensure that your customer has a positive and memorable experience from beginning to end? What can you do to ensure that they have a positive experience and would purchase from you again?
Start by looking at your current journey offering from your customer’s point of view by immersing yourself in the experience. Immersion means both observing and walking through the experience yourself. You need to think like your customer and understand the process firsthand. Many business leaders have never trailed the full route and therefore have little to no knowledge of what a customer has to go through to successfully make a sale, or raise an issue or complaint. Immersing yourself in the journey will, through customer empathy, reveal new areas of improvement and will allow you to creatively think of innovative solutions.
You can stand out from your rivals by analysing your current procedures and updating what is established and outdated. Do you think that the customer would be satisfied? What could you do to improve it?
Making digital CRM (client relationship management) software a key component of your business level-up plan could be very beneficial in collecting responses and consequentially making those sought-after gains.
You may also want to ask previous or existing customers on an individual basis for their feedback but make sure that you action what they are telling you! This kind of feedback can be hugely valuable in improving the customer journey, so it’s a good idea to ask every customer to leave you some honest feedback if they can. It’s the number one way to find out what your target market actually thinks about you and what you offer.
The power of marketing
Even if your goals are not centred around business growth and bringing in new customers, developing and reviewing marketing strategies that guarantee business longevity is still crucial.
Remember, there is no magic recipe that will guarantee business expansion and it is a combination of different marketing methods that provide you with new clients. To succeed, you need to understand your customer’s typical persona and keep the answers to these questions in mind:
- What demographics make up your core customer base?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they hang out offline and online?
- How do they look for products in your market?
- Who do they listen to when making decisions relative to your product?
Before investing in a specific channel, it’s important that you research what kind of returns it will provide you – this may be through online analytical services or readership statistics. You can then organise your budget accordingly, ensuring you spend wisely. It may be a good idea to trial new routes to measure how effective these alternative approaches are before implementing them on a wider scale.
If you do ultimately choose to use multiple channels, whether these be digital, traditional or a mixture of the two, you need to be consistent with your messaging and branding so you’re easily recognisable. One of the easiest and most effective ways to reach customers is through social media.
Social media is king
There is no denying that social media is the behemoth of all marketing in the age of the internet.
The proliferation of Instagram marketing has made a serious impact.
A placement in a YouTube video with the right audience could help your reach exponentially.
A well-placed tweet from the right influencer can be the difference between hitting that crucial KPI and not.
One of the best social media marketing strategies is to cultivate and utilise social media influencer partnerships. Once objects of ridicule, the sheer reach and strength of social influencers, especially in the age of the internet, means that for businesses to dismiss them is at their own peril.
One Google-commissioned survey from Ipsos found that 40% of millennial YouTube subscribers report that their favourite creators understand them better than their friends. This level of trust and consequent engagement is much more likely to get people’s attention than simple tweets would ever achieve so don’t let these strategies pass you by!
Partnerships are another great way to boost visibility. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in exploring and developing partnerships with other brands and influencers. If you can form a community of like-minded/brand-aligning companies and loyal customers, you can grow your business exponentially. To reach your audience, you need to be visible and if you can partner with an established business or influencer, then you can quickly develop your reach off the back of their current customer base too.
It may feel intimidating to reach out, but the key is to be upfront and highlight how this relationship could be mutually valuable in the long term. Whilst you may think a partnership agreement with a large and already-established corporation will be the only advantageous partnership, it’s much more effective to work with another company that compliments your own.
For example, a photo-framing business teams with a wedding photographer or a stationery retailer partners with a professional tutor – the possibilities are endless.
Build your network
The saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ is evergreen. When looking into business expansion, it’s extremely important to build up a solid network on connections, both in your field and elsewhere. You never know when they might be useful in terms of knowledge or giving you a lending hand.
They may conversely be in need of your services, or they could refer a customer on to you. Knowing other business owners can help you feel less alone in adverse situations and boost your morale. Don’t be afraid to be a social butterfly – it’s as easy as striking up a conversation and attending networking events!. Also, make sure that you’re also using social media, especially LinkedIn, to help boost your network both on and offline.
Stay ahead of your competition
Even in a saturated market, every business has the potential for growth if they are intelligent about their strategies and are three steps ahead. But if you want to achieve growth above and beyond that of your competition, you need to keep a close eye on what they’re actually up to. From there, you can focus right down on the details and adapt to become even better. Take a look at as much as possible when assessing your rivals, for example:
- Their pricing structure (and do they run any packages, offers, or discount codes?)
- Their website layout – what works well and what doesn’t?
- Does the copy in their online and offline marketing bring in new customers and sales? What’s good and bad about it?
- What are they doing on social media?
- Can you find out what their sales figures or profits have been for the past few years?
- What are their paid ad structures like?
Remember, if something is proven to work for your competitors, it will probably work for you too! The main idea is just to tweak it a little so you’re more successful than them. Take all of the good bits from your competitors and combine them to create your own powerful plan of action.
Get to grips with search engine optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation. As complicated and tangled and frankly fear-inducing as it is, SEO digital marketing is, without a doubt, one of the greatest marketing techniques for business growth.
It can sky-rocket your audience reach when utilised in the right way, increasing your visibility within a search engine for a specific keyword result. You can’t take shortcuts with SEO but the long-term effect is definitely worth it. One key tip? Avoid spamming and stuffing your content with keywords and focus on quality over quantity Remember, search engines rank highly content that has been written by humans and for humans – it needs to be high-quality, engaging and distinctive, not a list of keywords!
One long-form, comprehensive post (1500+ words) is worth 5x brief, non-informative posts and retains readers, meaning that there is a higher chance of a conversion – which means higher KPIs and thriving business!
In addition, paid search ad placements allow you to reach a very specific audience quickly. You can target interest, age, relationship status, location and so much more. The formula behind the success of this method, however, is not to just achieve a high-click rate but also to focus on conversions.
Use a marketing analytics tool like Pixel and you can re-target those that have already shown an interest in your content and thereby, what you have on offer. You’ll see your conversion rate skyrocket as your business is put at the forefront of this potential buyer’s search.
Now you’ve got the keys and the knowledge to open the doors, what are you waiting for? It’s rarely an overnight transformation but with persistence and a good plan, you’ll undoubtedly begin to see your numbers go up. I’ve got plenty of experience in the industry formulating effective, actionable plans that can cultivate the right results.Start working with an expert coach now and together, let’s manifest success and reach your business’s full potential today.