Getting your business off the ground is challenging. Continuing to grow your business once it’s established is just as difficult!
And while generating new business and growing your customer base is necessary to succeed, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes effective planning, strategy, and the willingness to get creative.
Know your customers
Knowing who your customers are and what they need is vital. You went through the process of identifying your ideal customer when developing your business plan. But now you have an active customer base that you need to engage with and in the process improve your business. If you’re at the beginner stage I have a great little course on how to find your ideal customer!
Focus on customer service
As you look to grow your business, quality customer service for your current customers can fall by the wayside. Make sure you don’t neglect your existing customers whilst trying to engage with potential new ones. Great customer service is what makes you stand out, increases brand loyalty and encourages recommendations. If your current customers are treated exceptionally, they’ll be more likely to leave positive reviews too.
Extend value from current customers
It’s common when looking for growth opportunities to immediately try and attract new customers, but what about your current ones? You’ve built credibility with them meaning they’re more likely to buy from you again or even pay more for additional services and new products.
Explore opportunities to extend the value of your customers. Add a new product line that compliments previous purchases. Test increasing service prices in exchange for additional features or other additions that your customers find valuable.
Just because you’ve possibly hit the limit of growing your established target market, doesn’t mean that you can’t pull more value from it.
Leverage social media
You don’t have to have experience with it to leverage social platforms. It can be as simple as opening a business profile and beginning to grow a community of customers.
You don’t need to post every day or even create incredible looking images and videos, but do establish a consistent schedule your followers and customers can expect. From there it’s up to you to actively engage with your followers, read comments, answer messages, and generally build your social brand.
Grow your team
Growing your customer base and growing your sales typically means growing your team. And just as you need to focus on providing exceptional customer service, you need to focus on the quality of the people that join your team.
Focus on finding diverse voices that can not only fulfil the duties of the role but that can provide unique perspectives that challenge your own. It’s harmful to have a staff full of “yes men” and can potentially lead to poor internal culture and self-serving decisions. Having a range of employees that differ in experience, background, beliefs, and specialties bring new perspectives to the table that would be non-existent without them.
The way you treat your employees will be reflected in the way you treat your customers. Start by optimizing internally and your business will grow from there.
Showcase your expertise
If you want to continue building amongst your customers and other businesses, you need to showcase your expertise. This means providing resources, hosting webinars, conducting research, and even running Q&A’s through your social channels. Find opportunities to share what you know, and present it as a free opportunity to learn and grow.
Just be sure to gather contact information or provide a link to a specific promotional page when you host an event or give access to a download. You’re not just showcasing expertise but using it to grow an audience that will hopefully one day turn into customers. Follow-up and keep providing valuable insight and you’ll be able to turn it into consistent growth.
Support your community
Giving back to your community and being socially responsible is a great way to grow your brand and showcase your business values. Sponsor or donate to non-profits, provide free products or services for initiatives you care about, or host community events. You could even look to partner with other businesses with similar non-profit interests to promote greater change.
Aside from donating and sponsoring, you can also look internally and promote socially responsible business practices. Maybe this means moving production to run on renewable energy, or only purchasing supplies from local suppliers. Grow your brand reputation around sustainability and responsibility in support of your community.
Part of growing your business is making the right partnerships and knowing your business community. Take the time to network and build relationships that can potentially build your business.
Having a strong network can lead to new customers, partnerships, employees, and even investors. It’s also a great way to share industry insights, emerging trends, and best practices that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Develop additional income streams
If you’ve been struggling to grow revenue from your core business model, developing additional income streams may be necessary. This could be a new product or service offering, separate pricing models for different customers or subscriptions, and even passive income from ads and sponsorships. Treat any new income stream as an expansion of your business.
Be sure that your new initiative makes sense for your business. It may simply start as additional income to support operations but may need to transition into a separate business altogether.
Measure and test
However, you choose to try and grow your business, make sure that you are actively measuring and tracking success. It can be really easy to simply make a change and let it run without any goals or key results in mind.
Set your organisational goals upfront and don’t be afraid to kill or change projects if you’re not seeing positive results.
And even when you have hit a home run, continue to measure and iterate. A series of webinars or new product lines may lead to growth for a time, but that could easily change if you’re not paying attention.
Continue to look for growth opportunities
Your business will consistently transition between points of growth and points of stagnation. The key is to keep searching for new growth opportunities and not being afraid to get creative and test them. But be sure to have goals and measurable results in mind so you can avoid turning potential growth into a severe misstep.