There aren’t many businesses out there that aren’t interested in growth. Growth itself can take many forms, such as company size, customer base, turnover and profit. However, the main kind of growth that is on every owner’s mind is how they can make more money.
Financial growth can result in a whole host of good things, like company security, stability, access to new tech and methods, and a bigger paycheck at the end of each month.
So, how can you trigger the business growth that you want so much? The secret lies in improving your business itself, and the processes you have in place.
Here are 7 methods you can use to start growing your business today.
Knowing your customers may seem like stating the obvious, and you’ve possibly heard it before. However, there are many businesses out there that don’t know who their customers are.
When we talk about knowing your customer, we don’t mean having a rough idea of their age, gender, and location. This is still far too broad! You need to start getting specific to truly know your customer base.
By having this in-depth knowledge, you’ll be able to target your customer’s pain points. You’ll know exactly how your product or service is going to help them specifically, because you’ll know the kind of struggles they have. You’ll also know how and when to target them, and what methods they respond best to.
A nursery may start with a rough idea that their customers are parents, with young children, within a 10 mile radius of their location. This is a good starting point, but there’s still a lot of mystery around who these people actually are.
Instead, you can narrow it down to:
By narrowing down the age range, you’ll be able to target your efforts to a group of people with similar interests. If they still work in some capacity and have a child not yet in school, they will need some form of childcare while they’re working. And if they don’t live in the same place they grew up, there is a higher chance that family don’t live close by to help with looking after the children.
Also, if they work within 10 miles of your location, they could easily pick up and drop off on their journey too and from work.
You now have a clear picture of who your customers are, and how your service can benefit them. Using this knowledge, you can target them with the right kind of language, in the right location, and with the most appealing benefits to them.
If you want your business to be a success, you need to have the right kind of people behind you.
Finding the right talent to help your business grow can be tricky, but there are a few fundamentals you should follow.
Encouraging growth means finding people who have the skills that will allow you to grow.
If you want sales to increase, hire an amazing sales rep rather than an ok one. The amazing sales rep will be able to do far more for your business and will be better at winning sales.
The same goes for customer service and any other department. The right people with the right talent will push your company in the right direction.
Unless you’re willing to invest a lot of time and money training someone for the role, you’ll want someone with experience.
Experience is valuable for many reasons. Firstly, they’ll have an understanding of how to do their job effectively. Using the sales example again, hiring someone with previous experience in sales means you won’t need to build them up from nothing. They should already have the ability to make sales.
With a trainee, you’ll be taking the gamble that they might not be able to close sales effectively, or it might be months before they’ve built up the skill set to do so.
Secondly, previous experience means they may have insight into different methods you haven’t thought about. This can either be through tactics their previous companies used or even just a fresh set of eyes. People who aren’t accustomed to your process may be able to point out improvements you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
This can be hard to spot when hiring. You need to find someone who is excited about working for you and your company. They need to be enthusiastic about the industry, the area they’ll be working in, and have the right attitude towards their work.
A person with all of the above will be a valuable asset when growing your business.
Many small business owners feel like they should do every single task associated with their business. They will even try to do the jobs that they hate or aren’t very skilled at. This can be detrimental to business development, and also prevents business owners from spending their time more efficiently.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to have every single job or department in-house. Many companies choose to outsource tasks like accounting, social media, and online marketing to skilled professionals.
Outsourcing benefits business owners in three ways:
Here is another point that everyone should know, but not everyone provides.
Customer service is just as much a selling point as your product or service itself. Nobody wants to deal with bad customer service, and would rather do business with a brand that will treat them right.
Poor customer service will always come back to haunt you in some shape or form. People remember if they’ve had a terrible experience, and they’re more likely to publicise it when it happens. Especially on social media.
Customers are more likely to tell others about a bad experience than a good one. And in the heat of the moment, they might end up tweeting about it, sharing it on Facebook and so on. It becomes an even bigger problem when friends and family start commenting, agreeing that your service is poor and they will shop elsewhere.
Examples of this play out every day on social media.
However, it’s happening offline too. Customers will tell their family and friends about the nightmare they had dealing with your company, and you can bet that won’t turn those friends and family into potential customers. How can you expect to grow your business when you’re pushing customers away?
The simple way to combat this is to provide nothing but outstanding customer service.
Go above and beyond for everyone. Fix mistakes, and quickly. If you can’t fix them quickly, show at every possible chance that you are working on a fix. Provide updates. Offer discounts or give gifts as compensation. Even offer to hand deliver a product if possible.
Do everything you possibly can to give that customer the best possible experience.
It’s inevitable that things will go wrong at some point. However, a customer will appreciate you going above and beyond for them. And even if something doesn’t go wrong, and there isn’t a problem, that doesn’t mean you can slack on customer service. Become known for taking care of your customers.
When you’ve got this area of your business perfect, growth becomes easier.
Small business owners can easily fall into the “new business” trap. They can be so focused on getting new leads, new customers, and new sales, that they can start to neglect the customers they already have.
Encouraging loyalty within your current client base is a brilliant way to promote growth for a few reasons.
For starters, you won’t be dealing with high client turn over, so you won’t constantly be fighting to make up numbers from the clients you’ve lost. Also, loyal customers are more likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family.
If you have a long-term relationship with a client, their recommendation is an incredibly powerful selling tool and will make it easier for you to gain more customers.
Start by rewarding loyalty. Offer discounts or upgrades to products or services as a thank you for their continued support. Send personalised emails about new products or services that you think will be of interest to them based on their order history. Touch base to find out if they have any questions, or need any help.
Keep in contact! This doesn’t mean you need to be speaking to them weekly, or even monthly. But touching base with your current clients every so often will help enforce the relationship you have with them, and show that you haven’t forgotten about them the second you got their custom.
Your customers are such a powerful tool in growing your business. These are the people that experience your brand and your service from the buying perspective, so they have valuable insight.
Asking customers for feedback can feel awkward, but you have different options depending on what you feel comfortable with:
Sometimes feedback can be an awkward concept for your customers too, especially if they’re not 100% happy with the service or product they’ve received. Providing a method of anonymous feedback means you may be more likely to find points you can work on going forward, as customers will feel more comfortable being honest about their experience.
Although receiving less than stellar feedback can be hard to swallow, it is a perfect opportunity to improve your business.
Maybe parts of your system are difficult for customers to use or understand, making part of the customer experience frustrating. Perhaps your website is confusing, and it takes a while for customers to work out how to contact you. Or worse, maybe a customer had a bad experience with a member of staff who could benefit from some training.
All of these things could be completely missed for months, or even years, without asking for feedback from customers.
And sometimes, customers have brilliant ideas too! They can give insight on how changes would make things easier or better for them.
In the same vein as asking your customers for feedback, your staff can also provide insight into your business.
When it’s just you running everything in your business, you’ll know about every process and product and order. You’ll be dealing with every part of the company. However, if you have a few staff members that handle certain aspects of the business, you can become removed from their tasks.
While delegating jobs to skilled workers is valuable when growing your business, it means you can become less familiar with how those areas run, and if there are any issues with how they’re running.
Speaking to your staff can provide insight into areas that can be improved.
For example, if you have a salesperson making calls in the morning, they may have found that most people don’t answer at this time of day. However, they haven’t had the chance to make calls at any other time of day, because they are required to do another set of tasks in the afternoon.
Without speaking to your staff, you wouldn’t be aware that this was happening. Instead, you can trial reworking processes, and the order tasks are carried out and see if improvements can be made.
Customer facing staff can also give insight into common objections and issues that customers present. This offers an opportunity to improve your product or service based on this insight from your team.
The key to successful business growth is improving the business itself. Success attracts growth in all forms, including financial. Using the tips above will bring you closer to your goals.
Sometimes the path to financial growth isn’t obvious or easy, but that is part of the challenge of running your own business.