What would you give to look into a crystal ball that tells you how to grow your small business?
A bag of proven tricks you can implement right away to move the needle?
I’m no magician. Neither do I have any crystal ball.
However, I’ve scoured the internet to find practical, proven, easy-to-implement strategies you can take right now and run with it.
And the best part is – you’ll learn about small business owners like you scaling their businesses with these same tips.
Ready to sink your teeth into these hacks to grow your small business?
13 Incredibly Effective Strategies Plus 8 Case Studies From Real Businesses To Grow Your Small Business
Understand who your customer is
At the heart of your business’s success is your customers. Presumably, you’re in business to serve them.
And that means you truly understand what they want – you have a firm grasp of the challenges they want to solve; and you have the right solution to offer them.
Here’s why a detailed customer insight is essential to grow your small business:
Armed with customer insights you can focus only on doing things your customers love.
Uncover things about your business and processes that irritate your customers and stop doing them.
Improve your services and products.
Communicate better with customers.
And even learn whether to redesign outlets and shops.
But, you may wonder, how does costumer insight help you grow your small business?
Cihan Oklan, shared on Quora, how leveraging consumer insight helped Pret A Manager grew their business from one outlet to three in London with a lot of others in the works.
Learn to Delegate
You can only do so much in a day. As your business grows so does backlog of tasks that need your attention.
As a small business owner, you understand this too well since you wear different hats in a day – you’re the accountant working the numbers.
You are the sales executive responsible for closing sales; you’re the administrative guy doing the paperwork.
In addition to all these, you’re the Chief Executive responsive for creating a growth strategy for the business.
If for whatever reason, you fall behind in keeping up with the increasing responsibilities with time the business will stagnate; then start bleeding you money; if you still don’t do anything about it, the business will fail.
You must know when it’s time to bring in an extra pair of hands to take some tasks off your plate.
Delegating responsibilities frees up your time to focus only on doing things that matter – like sending out those vital emails; making that sales call; following up on a lead; creating new business opportunities for your firm – and is actually a simple yet effective strategy to grow your small business.
Tim Ferris book -“Four Hours Work Week” is a handy hack book that makes a case about how delegation can help you work less while achieving more.
If you’re in doubt here’s Zoe Carter’s personal account about using the tips shared in the book to turn her life and income around.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
For a growth minded entrepreneur providing exceptional customer experience is non-negotiable.
A happy customer will buy from you again. A satisfied customer will refer their friends and network to you. A happy customer will become an enthusiastic brand ambassador for free.
Now, considering just how expensive it is to acquire new customers; providing consistent exceptional customer experience becomes a logical thing to do.
It saves you cost of pursuing new clients. You get free referral marketing. Your business benefits from positive PR work.
And above all, it gives you a competitive advantage. At least, that’s what the recent Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service for 2018 says:
Use Loyalty Reward
A customer reward system is designed to do one thing and one thing only: get your existing customers to keep coming back.
As long as you can get your customers to keep coming back and to keep spending more money you’re good.
If you can figure out a way to attract more people to your reward system; then you’ve cracked one of the secrets to growing your small business.
According to a Nielsen report 84 percent of consumers say they are likely to shop at a store with a loyalty program.
It’s no wonder that business – small and large – have one form of reward system or another.
Take, for instance, Starbuck’s My Starbucks Rewards is an innovative program that has helped the coffee behemoth maintain its leadership status in the coffee making sector.
According to Starbucks, their loyalty system grew by 11 percent to 14.2 million active US users in 2018 with 39 percent of the chain’s entire transaction coming from customers in the reward program.
Leverage Competitor Insights
Researching companies in the same industry can help you uncover hidden growth goldmine.
The idea is to see what your competitors are doing very well and replicate same for your business.
For online businesses, a tool like Similarweb can come in handy to run competition analysis.
The tool helps you see the keywords they are ranking for; spy their paid ad strategies; see websites linking to them for your backlinking strategy; plus identify their website traffic sources.
If on the other hand you’re a more traditional business – you may want to either talk to your customers which presumably are also your competitors’ to learn about what they love about the services they are currently getting.
Here’s a case study about how Xerox used competitor insight to revamp their small desktop copier market:
You can read more about this here.
Build An Email List
When done right, your email list could be the recipe you need to scale your business to 6-figures and even 7-figures.
If you’re in doubt where to begin building your list – you may want to check out our list building ideas you can tap to grow your business.
Check out these in-depth Email list building 101 blog post by Mathew Woodward.
And then, you may want to read about how Patel grew his business using email marketing here.
Form Strategic Partnerships
No, it doesn’t have to be anything fanciful. An email cross-promotion with another business offering complimentary services will do.
Strategic business partnership helps you reach new communities faster. It’s a great way to get in front of engaged, highly qualified audience that are very likely to buy from you.
Kean Graham, CEO of MonetizeMore shared how partnering with other businesses offering complementary services helped them grew their business to $20M in revenue.
Leverage Global Platforms to Grow
Before, if you want to take your business international; you’ll have to go through a lot of bureaucratic bottlenecks.
Today, you don’t. You can sit right now, in your home, with a click of a button – several clicks is more like it. And boom, you’d be selling your products/services to an international audience.
Amazon with its global footprint is an excellent platform to take your products international.
Offering services? Upwork offers a suitable platform to get new international clients.
Remi Owadokun, founder of #TooLateToBeNobody shares how she leveraged the Amazon platform to sell her book to a global audience.
Ask For Referrals
You’ve heard of Airbnb? Used Dropbox before? Do you know what they have in common?
If you answered they are multi-million dollar companies, you’re not wrong.
But, that’s not what I was driving at.
You see, to grow to what they are today – that’s Airbnb and Dropbox. They used an often neglected yet effective marketing tactics.
Good ol’ referrals to grow their user base, retain existing customers, and sure became multi-million dollar corporations.
The success story of these two companies underlies the power of word of mouth marketing. Use it to grow your small business.
Build Strong Business Processes
You want to be in a position where you work smart and not hard. Unfortunately, as a small business owner you’re probably working harder than you would like.
It seems you’re getting buried with lots of work.
Here’s where building a strong business process comes in. An effective system enables you to streamline, even automate repetitive tasks.
So, you can focus more on those growth inducing actions.
Capterra recently posted how they were about to quadruple sales just by streamlining their lead qualification process.
Diversify Your Product Lines
Introducing new products or rebranding existing solutions to solve problems in a different vertical is one sure way to grow your small business.
This business growth strategy enables you to increase revenue and or gain market share pretty fast.
However, don’t throw caution to the winds when going this route as it can easily fail especially, if you didn’t do your due diligence.
We’d recommend expanding your product offerings only when you’ve identified a market gap. And not just for the kicks of having different products.
That’s exactly what Portakabin did. Here’s a summary of their strategy:
Use Licensing to Expand and Grow
Do you have an IP asset? Have your business developed a proprietary solution that simplifies a task? Speeds up a process. Or cuts cost.
You can quickly grow your brand, strengthen its reach by licensing your IP out to others.
And the best part is, it will cost you literal $0 to do.
Or, perhaps you don’t have any licensable property. Don’t worry you can still grow your small business by becoming a licensee.
Here’s how a small American Apparel business is partnering with Ford to produce branded denim Jeans.
This article first appeared on Huffington – you can read more here.
Build Sales Funnels For Your Small Business
Most online entrepreneurs swear by sales funnel as one significant tweak that grew their business.
They are right. Sales funnels work.
Here’s the thing, a well-designed funnel is supposed to guide your customers from the point where they became aware of your business until the point they turn paying customers.
The best part is once implemented, the system runs on auto-pilot. Your responsibilities now becomes only to drive traffic to the funnel.
Mary Hong, a Shardworx art expert struggled to make sales until she implemented a 5-step sales funnel that saw her conversion skyrocket to 412%.
You can read the detailed case study here.
Final thoughts: Grow Wisely
The thrill of expanding, of increased revenue can come at a cost. You might grow too quickly and soon find out you don’t have the capacity to sustain the business anymore.
So, as you implement any of these strategies to grow your small business, be sure to pay attention to your growing needs.
Do you need new hands to help out? Do you need to revamp your processes? Are your programs still able to handle customer demands?
Keeping a tab on your growth will ensure you’re able to effect changes at the appropriate time.
That said, we hope that these growth strategies will help you grow your small business.
Enjoyed this article? Share your comments. Have you used any of the strategies above or do you have one that wasn’t mentioned and you’d like us to include it, let us know.