6 Key Small Business Growth Hacks
Starting and running a business is hard, but scaling it can be even more challenging. One of the key questions most new or established small businesses, regardless of their size, ask themselves is: how can we achieve sustainable growth quickly and consistently?
Like anything else in life or in business, you have to put in the hard yards if you’re looking to reap the benefits. Don’t focus on the short-term outcome of your work. Look to the long term. Build sincere value and look to help your customers. Genuinely care. That should be the foundation. After that, it’s simply a matter of taking action and putting in the work to scale.
Striving for growth is something that should underlie all aspects of a business. It’s got to pervade the DNA of your company. Creel Price, Serial Entrepreneur
Good general management can produce organic, steady business growth. However, update and refresh your business with these six foundational steps to see quantum leaps that are sustainable:
Have a vision and plan to get there
Understanding where your business is and where you want it to be is the first step in planning. Ask yourself, “What do you imagine your business to be in five years’ time and how will this fit into your lifestyle?”
Make sure your plan:
- is simple (even if it’s just one page)
- is not just ‘in your head’ or ‘in your bottom drawer’
- has any vision you choose but it must have one
- includes goals and steps to be taken to reach those goals
- aligns your business with family and lifestyle aspirations
- has mitigation strategies to cope with change, survive the bad times and prosper in the good
Spend more time selling
The first strategy is to ensure that the business owner or entrepreneur is spending as much time selling or managing the sales process as possible.
This is particularly important in the early stages of business. No one can match you in terms of knowledge and passion for your business – and this is what sells.
One of the best ways to grow any small business long-term is to focus internally as well as externally. That is, to focus also on your existing customer base and grow your sales through people you know and who know you.
Independent market research has revealed some staggering findings when it comes to identifying the benefits to business when they focus their attention on growing sales through their existing customer base.
Here are five key observations you may find surprising:
- It costs five times more to acquire new customers than to keep current ones (Source: The National Law Review)
- A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a business’ profitability by 75% (Source: Bain & Co.)
- Reducing your customer defection rate can increase your profitability by between 25% to 125% (Source: DestinationCRM)
- 82% of businesses stated that it’s cheaper to retain customers than acquire new ones (Source: Econsultancy)
- A 2% increase in retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10% (Source: Leading on the edge of chaos)
Be a niche player
Don’t try to be everything to everyone – select a niche market that plays to your strengths and build your products, processes and reputation around being the undisputed leader for this target market.
Yet because this strategy takes time many entrepreneurs lose patience and have a tendency to launch brand new initiatives in new markets. This distraction means you spread yourself too thin and don’t achieve anything except a myriad of unfinished ideas.
Business success is about being an expert in one core field for one core target market before expanding products, locations and prospect types. This will help ensure you generate more leads, close more sales and can charge higher prices.
Align your staff with your business
Motivating staff so that your success is their success too is important. If your staff are aligned with your business, they will want success as much as your personal commitment to this goal.
A good ‘people system’ will help attract and retain good people! Formalise roles for your staff for better understanding and accountability of the tasks for which they are responsible. Make sure your staff know what a good job looks like and reward good performance. If performance does not meet your expectations, help improve performance with options such as mentoring and training.
Continually invest in yourself and your team
Your business growth will often mirror your own growth, personal development and the development of your team. If you don’t invest in upskilling yourself and your employees, odds are your business will suffer.
Give your small business a big boost with Skills for Business training designed to equip you and your staff with the essential skills to help grow your business!
Skills for Business initiative is fully subsidised by the NSW Government and is delivered by TAFE NSW, so you can trust the quality of training on offer. It is available online and is accessible 24/7 from anywhere, meaning you can learn the skills you need at your own pace.
Skills for Business offers guidance on all things small business, including Business Management, Financial Planning, Social Media, Websites, Technology, Cash Flow, Accounting, Budgeting and Tax Requirements.
Take advantage of this opportunity to invest in your small business growth and check your eligibility at https://skillsforbusiness.edu.au/
Launch a lead generation campaign
Proactive marketing is one of the best ways to grow your business fast.
Don’t wait for customers to contact you, go out and find them using one of the numerous direct marketing campaigns open to you. These might include direct mail, email marketing, telesales, seminars or person-to-person sales.
Social media is also a powerful tool to promote your business to potential customers and gain valuable insight through ‘social listening’. Through social listening, you can find out what customers are saying about you, gain insight into their behaviour, identify keywords and trends that appeal to your target market and so improve your customer service. Social media can help you to build your business profile and attract new customers.
Offer great customer service
Ensure your customer service is exceptional and go the extra mile when you can.
Your customers will not only remember great service they will also be more likely to refer other people to you.
Build your brand and reputation
Whilst reputation and public relations (PR) rarely result in immediate leads they are essential for any business wanting to build long-term value and goodwill in their brand.
A leading reputation and brand awareness is also essential if you want to convert more of your leads to sales. You can proactively work on your reputation by becoming a thought leader in your field; for example, write a book, get an article published or speak at a conference.
You could ask your existing customers for written or video testimonials or you could have other peers, staff and clients endorse your services on social media.
The challenge for most entrepreneurs is not starting a business it’s scaling a business.
Scaling can be a challenge. As a small business, you need to make sure that you grow your business sustainably and to do that the more of these six tips you can adopt, the more sustainable and consistent your growth will be.
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