No matter how successful your small business is, if you’re a committed business owner you are probably always looking for ways to grow your small business. Growing your business can be a challenge but sometimes it just takes a little bit of extra time, effort and dedication to reap the benefits. As long as you have a strong foundation and you don’t lose sight of your vision, there are many strategies you can employ to help you build up your customer base and generate new business. Here are seven things you can do to grow your small business in 2018.
- Research The Competition
Researching the competition in your market is important for many reasons. Firstly, by monitoring your competitors regularly, you will start to understand more about their behaviors and strategies and this will help you anticipate what they are likely to do next or how they might perform. This can then inform your own business strategies and development of methods to keep customers coming to you. For this reason, it can help with the growth of your business. Secondly, knowing how your competitors are doing gives you a set of standards on which you can assess your own progress. They are the best source of business growth data. There are multiple online tools that can make this process easier and different platforms that provide competitive intelligence. Conducting market research can also prove illuminating when wanting to discover more about your competitors. This can help you understand your competitive advantage.
- Have A Mobile-Friendly Site
No matter what your business focuses on, if you are a small business in this day and age, your business needs to exist in the digital world. That means that it is not enough to just have your telephone number listed online somewhere. You need to have an online presence and a functional website that is easy for users to navigate and understand. An important part of this is having a fast-loading, mobile-optimised site. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days and many people use their smartphone more than their desktops or laptop. In fact, studies show that more than half of search engine queries come from a mobile browser. This is something to be considered if you’re wanting to grow your business because many of your potential customers or clients may be using their smartphone to access your site and could be turning away because they’re struggling to read content or see images from their smartphone. As a business owner, you should always be thinking about the customer experience and part of this making the design of your site mobile-friendly and ensuring that it naturally adapts to a smartphone device.
- Engage With Social Media
Having an online presence is about more than just a great website, mobile-friendly or not. It is also about being active on social media platforms and using them as a way of engaging with your customers and expanding your network. Most social media users spend more than two hours a day on social media sites, making it the ideal place to connect with potential customers. An important part of growing your business is using social media as a marketing tool to increase your brand’s awareness. Part of engaging with social media is deciding which platform is best for your business, which depends on your product and your audiences. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube or Snapchat, different platforms can have different benefits. Depending on your business, you may use multiple social media platforms in a variety of ways to engage different types of consumers. Whichever one you use, make sure you regularly post interesting, informative content that your followers can then share with their friends. Include links to your social media accounts on your website so that customers can find and access them easily. You can even integrate a social media feed onto your site so customers can see your latest status updates.
- Ensure Great Workplace Culture
No matter how great your idea is or how well thought-out your mission is, as a small business owner you will only find success if you have a strong, motivated team behind you. Your staff are essential to the longevity of company which means creating an environment they want to be in is extremely important. Your company culture refers to the way that the beliefs, values, and behaviors inherent in the business guides interactions between employees, their managers, and the customers. The culture affects employee performance, engagement, stress and mood so it is an important element to consider when you are thinking about ways to maximise sales and grow the business. Employees thrive off a good company culture where they feel valued, motivated and happy. To achieve this kind of culture, consider the physical office environment, opportunities for interaction and socialising amongst employees, office perks, training and learning development opportunities and ways you can show your appreciation to your team.
5.Create Customer Loyalty Programs
Loyalty Programs may sound like an outdated marketing tactic but it is actually a marketing tactic that remains as effective today as it was in the days before digital marketing. However, digital marketing means that now your loyalty programs can be presented on multiple platforms and posted about online so more customers find out about it. Loyalty programs work on the idea of retaining the customers you have, which is arguably easier and cheaper than finding new customers. However, depending on the incentive you use, your loyalty program may also help to attract new customers as well. An attractive loyalty program can make a difference to the growth of your business by driving sales and engaging with customers.
- Take A Good Hard Look At Your Finances
One of the main reasons that small businesses fail or flounder is due to poor financial management. This can be a result of not following a business plan or simply not regularly assessing the company’s financial situation. Make sure you are constantly up-to-date about what is happening in the business in terms of finances. This means producing and analysing balance sheets, cash flow statements and your profits and losses. Only once you assess your financial situation can you come up with a growth strategy that will be effective. Without this knowledge, a viable growth strategy is impossible.
- Consider Your Cybersecurity
One challenge that is faced by small businesses is the threat of cyber crimes and cyber breaches. While looking for ways to reduce the risk of a cyberattack on your system may not seem like a business growth strategy, it is something you should consider doing. Why? The costs associated with dealing with these issues are exorbitant and can have a severe impact on the livelihood of a small business. If a customer is affected by a cyber breach or lack of security on your part then it can have serious consequences. Being aware of risks online and taking the precautions needed is an important part of running a successful company. Some ways of improving your cybersecurity may be more simple than others such as improving password protection and regularly requiring the use of passwords to access work devices or training employees on how to protect the company’s resources and having restricted access to sensitive data. If your business has an online store then an SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is essential, particularly from the eyes of a customer. This provides secure, encrypted communication between a website and browser. Having an SSL certificate means a secure icon will show next to your URL when customers access the site and are often something online shoppers will look for.
Rachel is a mother of 2 beautiful boys. She loves to hike and write about travelling, education and business. Rachel is also a great fan of sustainable living and a strong supporter of the sharing economy.