How to grow your business.

No matter what kind of small business you run, you’re going to want to increase your sales and grow your revenue. That’s why so many people are interested in how to grow a small business.

There isn’t an easy one-size-fits-all business growth strategy for small business owners. But, there are key strategies you can use to give your business the best chance at growing.

10 Ways to Grow Your Small Business

Scaling your small business effectively and efficiently can be difficult. It requires a smart approach and effort from various parts of your company, including:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Legal

And because you’re still a startup, you may find yourself wearing many hats until you can hire expert employees. Although growing your small business will take time and energy, there are 10 strategies you can use to help accelerate business growth.

1. Do Your Research.

When you’re looking into how to grow your small business, you need to do market research. This not only lets you better understand your existing customers, but also your potential customers. It’s important to gain insight into your target market and know what their needs are. That way, you can see how your business can grow and change to meet those needs

2. Build a Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel can help take business to the next level. Think of a sales funnel as a customer’s journey. When they enter your business or visit your website, they’re at the top of the funnel. When they buy something or sign up for a service, they’ve successfully gone through the funnel. You should try to come up with ways to move people through the funnel to make a sale. This can include offering a discount or getting their contact information and sending them updates on your business.

3. Increase Customer Retention

It’s not enough to just get new customers for your business. You also need to keep your existing customers coming back. When you increase customer retention, you’re building customer loyalty, which can increase sales.1

Considering it costs five-times as much to get a new customer than it does to keep a current one, focusing on retaining customers means your business won’t spend money on something that isn’t a guaranteed investment.2

How can you prioritize your customer retention.

Prioritizing customer service

If you don’t treat your customers right, they won’t want to support your business. Making sure you address their concerns and give them the best experience possible shows you value them as a customer.

Using a customer relations management (CRM) system

CRM systems help your business manage relationships with existing and potential customers. They help you maintain customer information and identify sales opportunities. One of the biggest benefits is that the data gets stored in one place, so you and other employees who need it can access it.

Creating a customer loyalty program

These programs reward your existing customers for supporting your business. They can also help you attract new customers or get back those that left your business.

Engaging with customers on social media

Your customers may reach out to your business on social media with a question or to share feedback, pain points or complaints. Taking the time to respond and engage with them shows you value their thoughts and take their concerns seriously.

4. Participate in Networking Events

Increasing your brand visibility can help you attract new customers and grow your business. A good way to do this is by attending networking events. Check local professional organizations and don’t be afraid to attend a few events to get the word out about your business.

You can participate in these events by:

  • Attending and meeting other business owners
  • Putting up a booth to promote your business
  • Speaking as an industry expert

Always be looking for ways to improve your business and make it stand out from the competition. Recognize that you don’t know everything and be open to new ideas and different approaches. 

Keep an eye out for opportunities to expand your current business or develop related enterprises that will lead to additional revenues and provide the benefit of diversification. The history of Amazon provides a good example. The company started out as an online bookseller and grew into an e-commerce giant, selling just about everything. Today it has a growing brick-and-mortar presence, as well. Among its many subsidiaries are Amazon Pharmacy, Amazon MGM Studios, Whole Foods Market, and Zappos

6. Stay Focused on Your Goals

The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies to building a business as well. Just because you open a business doesn’t mean you’re going to start making money immediately. It takes time to let people know who you are and what you have to offer, so stay focused on achieving your goals.

Even many small business owners who ultimately achieve success won’t see a profit for a few years and will have to rely on borrowed money (if they can get it) or their own savings to support the business until it can become profitable. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to finance a business.

That being said, if the business is not turning a profit after a reasonable period of time, it’s worth looking into why that is and whether the business needs to go in another direction.

7. Provide Great Customer Service

Too many businesses forget the importance of providing great customer service. If you deliver better service for your customers, they’ll be more inclined to come to you the next time they need something instead of going to your competition. High-quality service is one key to obtaining competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Some businesses refer to this as a taking a consumer-centric or client-centric approach.

In fact, in today’s hyper-competitive business environment, service is often the major differentiating factor between successful and unsuccessful businesses. This is where the saying “undersell and overdeliver” comes in, and savvy business owners are wise to follow it.

8. Be Consistent

Consistency is a key component to success in business. You have to keep doing what is necessary to be successful, day in and day out. This will create long-term positive habits that will help you make money in the long run and create satisfied customers from day one. Customers value consistency, too.

9. Prepare to Make Some Sacrifices

Having your own business often requires putting in more time than if you were working for someone else. That can mean spending less time with family and friends than you wish you could. The adage that there are no weekends and no vacations for business owners can ring true for anyone who’s committed to making their business work.

Owning a business isn’t for everyone. If, after an honest self-evaluation, you decide you aren’t cut out for it, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief, and probably a lot of money, by pursuing another career path.

What Is the Fastest Way for a Business to Grow?

Businesses will grow at their own rates, and many times this is out of the control of the business owner or workers. However, there are some aspects to running lean that may help a business grow quickly, such as focusing on a small product line, scaling up at a manageable pace, and providing some sort of obvious edge over your competitors.

How Do You Increase Sales?

Increasing sales can come from a few different places. You can raise ad expenditures where advertising has already proven effective, proactively solicit referrals from existing clients, build a direct-to-consumer email list, and others. You can also expand your product portfolio, but if the new additions underperform, that will negatively affect your bottom line.

What Makes a Startup Successful?

Business success is a difficult concept to quantify, but if it means generating returns for stakeholders, startups can be an excellent way to deliver returns. The best startups have a good product or service that is scalable. A well-run startup will understand the overall market and its particular place in it, be able to pivot quickly, and be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

The Bottom Line.

Growing a successful business is hard work, and not everyone succeeds at it. According to 2022 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of new businesses fail during their first year, 50% fail during the first five years, and 65% fail during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or beyond.4

If you want to be among that 25%, paying attention to these nine tips is a good start, but certainly not exhaustive. To own and run a successful business you’ll want to be in a state of constant learning and adapting.

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 Hire the right people.

Before you can even think about your company’s growth trajectory, you need to have a solid staff to help you achieve your goals.

Hiring the absolute best people you can is a surefire way to ensure fast growth,” said Christian Lanng, CEO and co-founder of business software provider Tradeshift. “It’s all about having the right team.”

When you have hardworking employees who are dedicated to your company’s success, your business will be better equipped for continued growth. In addition, delegating tasks to focus on important work will free up your time and energy, allowing you to perform at your best and cultivate a collaborative work culture.

Reduce your risks.

Risk is an inevitable part of starting and growing a business. It’s impossible to control everything, but there are many ways to limit internal and external threats to your company and its growth. One important resource to help you accomplish this is your business insurance provider.

“Small businesses need to manage their growth to avert disruptions that can bring business to a grinding halt,” said Mike DeHetre, senior vice president of underwriting and insurance at Preferred Mutual. For example, “the theft of employee data, customer records, and product designs can destroy a small business, generating significant costs and eroding customer confidence and loyalty,” he said. “Not every business owner’s policy covers data breaches or other cyber losses. Small businesses should be prepared by seeking insurance products that help them recover, including those that cover the cost of remediation and lawsuits.”

As your small business grows, you may add space or equipment, create new products or services, or increase your operating and distribution footprint. Therefore, DeHetre recommended reviewing your policy periodically to ensure you have the right coverage.

“It’s easy to forget this step amid rapid expansion, but you don’t want to find out that you’ve outgrown your coverage just when you need it the most,” he said.

Focus on established revenue sources.

Rather than trying to acquire new customers, direct your attention to the core customers you already have, suggested Bill Reilly, a Wisconsin-based auto repair entrepreneur.

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