Scaling a business is no easy feat. But with the right mindset, management and method, it’s something all entrepreneurs can accomplish. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for growing a business, there are things that any business owner can do to help their unique company flourish.
For starters, growing a business will require you to wear many different hats — from sales and marketing, to customer service and corporate compliance, a small business owner looking to scale a company has to do it all. But by implementing some simple strategies and following through with proven methods, growth will come.
With hundreds of tactics out there for business growth, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But if you follow these essential marketing and business strategies, you will notice real, long-lasting results.
1. How to define your brand
Having a clear perception of your company is critical in order to grow your business. The first step to defining your business is to pinpoint exactly what makes you different. That means understanding your competitors and differentiating yourself in order to establish your unique brand identity.
To set your business apart, learn about others in the industry. What do they do and how can you do it better? Read customer reviews about these companies and learn about what people generally like and dislike. Explore your competitors’ advertisement strategies and determine whether they work. If these methods are clearly effective for your competitors, it’s likely that they’ll work for your business, too.
Know your differences — and embrace them. Having a strong, unique brand identity will trigger customer satisfaction and retention.
Develop a clear brand strategy
Part of defining your brand is having a clear brand strategy. Ensure that your business has a unique look and feel, and has a compelling brand message. This includes a powerful and easily recognizable logo, an identifiable and attractive colour scheme, and a strong visual presence online.
Without a clear brand strategy, businesses will have a hard time standing out in the increasingly saturated marketplace. It is considerably harder to connect with customers and keep their attention when a brand is not easily identifiable.
Upon considering your brand strategy, ensure you are forging an emotional connection with your audience. In order to build loyalty and trust, make certain that your message and your brand resonate with your target consumers.
Get to know your customers
Speaking of customers, one of the most important steps to grow your business quickly and effectively is to know who your intended audience and clientele is and to meet their needs. Essentially, the best way to get new customers is to better get to know your current ones.
There are a number of strategies that can help you do this. For starters, find out the basic information of your target demographic. By using tools like Google Keywords, Google Trends, Quantcast and Market Samurai, you can determine where your customers live, what platforms they use and what items they search for online.
Learn about the challenges your customers face, and be the solution. Ramit Sethi, author of the New York Times bestseller I Will Teach You to Be Rich, says that in order to understand what people want, you need to uncover what their challenges are.
You should also figure out what made your current customers decide to buy your product in the first place. Doing this will not only help you determine which marketing mechanisms are effective, but it will also reveal which ones might be a waste of time and money.
Conduct market research
To find the answers to these questions, go straight to the source. Set up an online survey and encourage your customers to answer some questions about what they love about your product, and what they wish was different about it. Alternatively, try calling a range of customers and engage in meaningful conversations about how you can improve their experience with your service or product.
If your business serves other businesses, talk to them. Ask them about their goals and how your service or product could help them achieve it.
Try envisioning your target customer, and write a description of them. A smart tip is to write down a before and after list, describing who they were before they purchased your product, and who they are after. How has your business served them, and how can it serve them even better?
If you already have a strong core customer group, try diversifying your products and selling them to the same market. If your audience is already showing interest in your offerings, try expanding your product range and services to expand your reach and sales. This is a simple strategy for growing a business.
2. How to get more customers
Grow your business online
If you’re wondering how to use social media to grow your business, the most important piece of advice is to simply start using it. In 2020, having an online presence is essential for any business — big or small — to grow and thrive. Whether you’re wondering how to grow a business from scratch or expand your already well-established company, having a lively online presence is incredibly important. This is also one of the fastest ways to grow your business.
Step one is to set up social media accounts, and post content consistently. Whether you’re sharing your brand on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, newsletters or blogs, you must post regularly in order to maintain interest. Online content has proven to be one of the most effective marketing methods for encouraging engagement with businesses. Use tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and IFTTT to schedule posts in advance, and calculate audience engagement.
When sharing content online, ensure that everything you post fits with your brand identity. Staying true to your brand will encourage customers to develop trust, which will help you grow your social media following. Not only will sharing regularly online boost your brand status, but it will also enhance your SEO listing on Google and other search engines — which is proven to bolster business success.
If you’re looking to get more customers to grow your business, start by generating buzz. Try running a promotion, a contest or a giveaway by asking your social media followers to tag their friends in a post for a chance to win something. This will likely increase your social media following, as well as get more eyeballs and exposure on your public profiles. Running promotions are a great way to grow your business organically.
Another great way to generate buzz is to implement a loyalty program. This mechanism will undoubtedly improve customer retention, a critical factor in order to grow your business and increase profitability in the long-term.
Not only will a loyalty program help you retain customers, it will also help you attract new ones — which is critical for growing your business. If customers are incentivized to spend more money with you rather than with your competitors, they will likely stick around in the long run. Plus, if consumers are rewarded for sticking with you in the long-term, they are unlikely to leave. If you’re patient, building an accessible and attractive loyalty program will undoubtedly lead to soaring sales over time.
Beyond loyalty programs, affiliate marketing is a very useful mechanism for growing your business. It involves selling your product or service through a third-party, who will receive a small portion of your profits. Affiliate marketing is particularly helpful for growing B2B companies, and is a great way to advertise and expand reach. Strategic partnerships with like-minded companies — which can include bloggers and influencers — can be a simple and effective way to spread the word about your business. Use programs like ClickBank and Rakuten to help you keep track of clicks and purchases.
Spend time attending networking events whenever an opportunity presents itself. Building relationships with other people and businesses is a great way to grow your business. Through engaging with others in your industry, you can find potential customers, investors and even future employees.
3. Ways to scale your business
A big part of growing your business is through trial and error. Test marketing strategies to find what works best for your company. For instance, if you’re selling a particular product, try adding a large green “buy now” button on the web page, and see if this works for converting customers, versus a red or blue button. Paying close attention and focusing on sales, revenue and marketing growth will enable you to recognize what works and what doesn’t.
Experiment with different subject lines when emailing your customers, and see which ones get the highest open rates. The same applies for social media: test out different content and captions to determine which posts get the most likes, shares and engagement. Determining the best marketing mechanisms can be tedious, but it’s well worth it to find out what boosts your business.
Beyond testing out different marketing strategies, you should also try experimenting with unique sales strategies. Sell your product or service in a new way: test out a unique subscription model or explore new revenue streams and channels for selling your offerings. Use sites like HubSpot, ConvertKit and Google Ads to better understand what works.
Create a solid core team
In order to run a successful operation, you need to hire the right people and empower employees. When it comes to growing your business, it starts from within. Ensure you create a solid core team of like-minded people who share a common goal. It doesn’t matter whether your team is two people or 200, investing in strong employees will undoubtedly help your business flourish. Building and fostering an effective team and emphasizing their professional development is critical to ensuring that your company prospers and thrives in the long term.
A primary benefit to having a strong team is that work will get done more efficiently. The speed at which your business functions will make a considerable difference to your ability to grow. The faster and more efficiently you operate as a whole, the sooner you can grow your company. Make a list of all the necessary steps in your daily business process, and see what can be combined or eliminated. Look into using tools like Zapier and Hubspot to automate simple day-to-day business tasks and drive efficiency.
Focus on revenue
Always ensure that you’re financially prepared for growth. Whether you’re a small business or a large business, making sure you have the necessary funds and flow of new customers is essential to successfully growing your business. Having a steady profit stream means you’ll be able to grow sustainably. Understand that the demand for your product or service is clearly there before investing in expanding your business.
If you’re just starting out and you’re making a relatively small profit margin, look at competitors to ensure that growth is, in fact, possible. Being financially prepared for growth is paramount to successfully scale your business. Remember, you have to invest in your company — both with money and human resources — in order for it to flourish.
Growing a business, big or small
Whether it’s a big business or a small business, a local business or a worldwide business, implementing these simple strategies will undoubtedly foster growth in your company. Although growing a business is no small task, when approached properly, it is always possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-woman business or a sprawling company with hundreds of employees, these essential strategies will work to take your endeavour — whatever it may be — to the next level.
About the Author:
Newsworthy Co. is a woman-owned and operated content development agency, and the creators of The Bullet, a quick shot of daily news. The team brings 20+ years of digital business experience to the creation of branded editorial content (covering everything from fashion to finance). Learn more at wearenewsworthy.ca