Creating a new small business is an incredible feat – but, it just steps one of a much larger strategy that’ll lead you toward a successful business.
A startup can’t remain a startup forever – there’s a time when you need to put your foot on the gas – and that’s the time that’ll be decisive for the company you’ve created. Will your efforts splutter and fail – or will they find traction and accelerate toward a good market share?
It’s absolutely vital that you have a plan in place that maps out growth. If you’re not sure what should be on that plan – take a glance at the following tried and tested methods to grow your business – and see if they’d help drive you toward your destination…
Crank up the marketing budget
Quite simply, if you want to increase the number of enquiries you have coming in – you’re going to need to increase the number of people you put your business, products or services in front of.
Of course, this should be done with a scattergun style approach. You’re going to need a detailed knowledge of what’s working at the moment – and which avenues represent the very best return on your investment.
You’ll need to think about which style of marketing suits your requirement too. Is direct marketing driving the business leads you’re hoping for? If so, great – but if you’re hoping to put your marketing spend into something that’s going to keep giving back – you might want to think about content marketing.
Content marketing is, essentially, the creation of valuable resources on your site. You may wish to adjust to direct marketing campaigns to drive traffic toward these resources – but, at their core, they should offer value. These kinds of valuable resources establish you as an authority in your field – rather than a business that’s simply trying to make a quick buck.
It’s exactly this kind of marketing that customers like to see – and, what’s more, it’s exactly this kind of marketing that Google and other search engines like to see too…
Maximize every opportunity
Are you making the most of every sales opportunity that currently comes your way?
The snap answer might be ‘yes’ – but there’s a good chance that’s not the case. A good way to gauge how effectively you’re handling your opportunities is to consider what happens to them from the moment they submit pertinent data – to the moment they either become a ‘sale’ – or curtail contact with your business.
For many companies, this process is handled by a sales person, account manager or customer service clerk – but you might want to think about having a CRM (customer relationship management tool) handle your business moving forward.
Well, recent studies show that when you semi-automate the handling of your leads, conversion rates are likely to go through the ceiling. Conversions could be up by 300%+, customer satisfaction levels by 70%+ and your marketing spend down by at least 30%.
What’s the reason?
In short, people simply are not very good at handling data – especially not at scale. Can you be absolutely sure that every enquiry that comes your way receives the right information? Begins that same journey through your email sign-up procedure? Is asked to review your business at the optimal time?
If you’ve got people in control, then the answer to that question is probably no – but if you’ve got a CRM system picking up some of the automated work – and people making the important contact – then you’ve got a killer combination that’s likely to drive your conversion rates through the roof.
Outsource where possible
Your time and expertise in your role are likely to be invaluable. Sure, you may have an hourly rate or salary that you’ve deemed appropriate – but, who is going to grow the business without you at the helm?
With this in mind – it’s worth thinking about where you (and your other important decision makers) are spending their time. Instead of being hands-on with all parts of your business, start thinking about what your unique skills are – then ask; what would our growth look like if I could spend the vast majority of my time doing just that?
You’re making decisions for your business for a reason – to outsource the stuff you’re not an expert at – and focus on doing what’s most valuable to the company.
A good place to start this is with IT. Unless you’re an enormous corporation, there’s a good chance you don’t need to expense of an in-house IT team. The ability to outsource your IT is growing every day – and is especially possible now with huge steps forward in remote access – and the introduction of SD WAN solutions that allow hands-off management of your network.
When you factor in your time, recruitment costs, training requirements and on-going management – the guaranteed service level that comes with a managed service provider start to look like a no-brainer for growth…
Bring the right people on board
If you’re going to grow, you need the right people to help you steer the ship.
Don’t misunderstand though – the decision around who these people are needs to embody the previous tip in this list; they must be people who are vital to the operation – not delivering roles that could be outsourced.
When you’ve thought about which roles are absolutely vital and cannot be replaced by processes – you’ll want to make sure you find people with the most desirable traits, including:
- Innovation: Does this person think about a problem from all sides? Can they bring ideas to the table that put a fresh angle on things? This is the kind of thinking that no process or program can replace.
- Multi skilled: Can they be hands-on with clients – while also plotting tactics and strategies behind the scenes? There’s no place for a one-trick pony in a startup – everyone’s going to have to get their hands dirty when it’s time to grow.
- Reflective: What happens when this person’s plan stumbles or fails? Do they shy away from decisions in the future? Or do they learn, develop, and move on? You’re going to make mistakes as you grow – find the people who can make those mistakes work for you – reinforcing your foundations.