Small business growth is a very crucial art that you need to master.
All businesses have to grow or lose out and risk getting out of business.
Startups and Small Business Growth is very critical, as the margins are tight, capital is next to zero, and they can’t afford losing or waiting too long to make a profit.
But first, how can we achieve small business growth?
We achieve that either by boosting the revenue of our business with greater product sales or service income. (a.k.a The top line)
Or by increasing operation profitability via minimizing costs. (a.k.a The bottom line)
There are many tips and steps to accelerate small business growth but there is one thing for sure: standing still is not an option.
Below, I share with you some easy and quick steps to achieve your own small business growth.
1. Have specific, yet ‘unrealistic’ goals
Nearly all small business growth strategies rely on one simple rule:
One can’t achieve what one can’t measure.
Making more profits is not a goal but a wish.
Making $100,000 in monthly sales is a goal that can be measured, audited, and achieved.
Small business growth is not achievable with hazy, broad goals.
When you set a specific goal, don’t make it a realistic one.
You read that right!
Ask yourself the following: if it was possible to hit that specific goal, what would you need to make it happen?
Know that people tend to come in just a little short or a little above the set goal line – when they change their mindset and you provide them with the needed resources.
“Set goals that get people pissed, because that puts their backs against the wall and makes them think of ways to actually do it.”
-Matt Epstein, vice president of marketing at Zenefits
2. Cross-sell, Upsell, & Bundle
The simple question “Would you like fries with that?” makes McDonald’s millions every year.
McDonald’s here is cross-selling.
Offering the buyer to buy another product that is related or compliments the product that the customer decided to buy is what cross-selling is all about.
Another simple strategy that can be very inexpensive to implement is to upsell.
Upsell simply means encouraging the buyer to go for a better, more expensive product than what he / she decided to buy.
Remember those recommendations when you shop online that says: [You may also like] [Others have also bought]
On the other hand, without an upsell, you are just making basic sales while restricting your profits.
While with upselling, you are maximizing your sales and also helping your customers to know about / buy relevant products.
Small business growth depends on increasing sales, and upselling can achieve that on the long run.
Upselling is not meant to abuse the trust of your client / customer, it also implies you will up-service your customers.
Those who accept your offer should be rewarded.
Don’t overkill as well.
Never try to upsell or cross sell items that are more than 25% of the original order.
Bundling is when you create a new offer consisting of more than one item / product packaged as one.
The bundle carries a price cheaper than buying each product / item alone.
This strategy is excellent when you have a non-moving item in your store, or when a new model is coming out soon that people are waiting for and not buying.
In 2006, Amazon reported that cross-selling and upselling made 35% of their revenue.
“You don’t close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”
-Patricia Fripp, sales coach
3. Grow your team
It was the French Louis Pasteur who said: “Chance Favors the Prepared Mind.”
If your business is showing positive growth signs, you can’t wait.
You’ll have to hire people that you will need 3 to 6 months from now.
It takes 2-3 months to find the correct candidates, and once they join your company, they will need another 2-3 months to blend in and start being productive for your business.
On the other hand, if you don’t have that employee ready when the time comes and you need him / her, you are risking it all.
Small businesses success rely heavily on those early hires.
You need the right candidate at the right time, and for that, you need to plan ahead.
“Great employees come from referrals from other employees.”
-Jesse Middleton, VP of product innovation, WeWork
4. Grow your customers
To grow, you’ll need more customers, and more products and services.
To increase your customer base, you must show yourself to more potential customers.
Online marketing and advertising help you achieve that goal.
You need to run special promotions and collect email addresses for your potential customers database.
You need to advertise in places where you targeted clients hang around. You need to work with partners who can send you more leads.
Great services and creative products are not enough.
Those need to get in front of your ideal audience.
Marketing does that for you, and it has to be done, and done well.
“It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.”
– Patricia Fripp, sales coach
5. Increase the frequency of transactions
There are many ways to do this.
That includes regular re-evaluation of customer needs, loyalty programs or just looking for ways to provide better customer service.
One good example is that of a hair salon that dramatically increased sales by booking the next appointment on the spot each time a client visited!
6. Small Business Growth tip: Network, network, network
“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come. When you network you develop a list of resources that you can share with others. This increases your value to those prospects and clients you deal with.”
-Diane Helbig, Lemonade Stand Selling: Accelerate Your Small Business Growth
Before I wrap it up, I leave you with a quote that sums up the importance of any small business, and it says:
“We genuinely believe that small business is the backbone of America. It’s going to be the key for us to be able to put a lot of folks back to work,”
-Barack Obama. -US President, 2009-2017
Easy Quick Steps to Increase Your Customers
Businesses are NOT setup to buy and sell goods and services, but rather to find customers and to keep them for life.
To succeed in any business, big or small, first you need to identify your customers, sell to them, gain their loyalties, and keep them happily buying ever after.
To do that, the following easy quick steps will help you do that:
1 — Keep a Database of your Customers
Just like proper bookkeeping is essential for any business, keeping a customer database is crucial to stay in business.
Collect their emails, contact details, buying cycles, interests, complains, loyal to which brands, and the sort.
Start with a simple Excel spreadsheet and lay out your data. (Later on move to a professional software solution.)
This is the first step in developing a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
2 — Classify your Customers
Not all customers are born alike.
After you’ve gathered enough customer data, you shall need to classify them, rank them based on their traits.
Some customers take ages to reach a buying decision, others are natural skeptical, while the good ones are frequent buyers, with normal tendency to buy so often.
Selling to those is more profitable than others.
3 — Concentrate on the 20%
Few businesses know how to analyze which of their clients are most profitable.
As a result, they focus on sales rather than profitability.
After doing business for a while, you shall find out that 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your sales, according to the 80/20 rule.
This % may vary to 70/30 or 90/10 but it still holds true.
Companies should seek and apply the right measuring tools to know which client is right the them.
Clients who pay on time, come back for more orders, and who can refer you to their colleagues and partners, those should be given more attention and superior support.
Concentrating your marketing activities on those 20% will by far increase your sales.
4 — Increase their Buying Frequency
Learn from others, always have a special daily, weekly, and monthly offer.
Surprise your loyal customers with reduced-price bundles and special offers and alert them so they know about your killer offers.
Apply cash incentives for buying more units and pre-ordering.
Always be on the look for ways to keep your customers happy and loyal.
5 — Reward your Customers
A customer for life is what marketing is all about, and if you plan to stay in business for long, you must do whatever you can to keep your customers loyal to you, for their life.
Many customer rewarding programs are there, like giving credit points for every purchase, which can be redeemed later on to buy more products.
6 — Keep your Data Updated
Inaccurate data not only wastes your budget, but it can also negatively affect your business’ image.
Don’t let your dedication to collecting new customer data make you forget about your current ones.
Always look for repeated entries, wrong data, and human errors.
Updating your data enhances your ability to communicate with the right customer in the right manner.
Reward customers who help you in updating their profiles.