Starting a business is daunting. There’re no guarantees and, if you haven’t run your own business before, you’re in for a steep learning curve. However, once you’re up-and-running and you’re confident that your business model is working, the next thing is to consolidate your work to date and plan for further growth. Here are five strategies proven to work when it comes to taking your business to the next stage of its evolution:
Understand your customers
Winning customers is only the beginning. Once you have them on-board, it’s all about keeping them there. Doing that, means finding out more about who they are and what they want, so you can learn to service them better and sell more. There are many ways to do this throughout the customer journey. It can be as simple as offering a feedback form or a survey. Look at the best ways to gain insights that can help you do better, both when it comes to existing sales and acquiring new customers.
Your customers can also help with your marketing efforts, by recommending you to others, providing a testimonial, or just by leaving comments on a review site so make sure that you have a mechanism for asking them to do that.
At the same time, make sure you focus on customer service. Exceptional customer service is one way of guaranteeing business growth.
Leverage the power of social media
Creating an online community is one way of getting your message and your brand out there. Social media doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Simply start with a business profile on a platform such as Facebook and direct your customers there for news, special offers, or even a discount. You don’t have to post every day but try to create a schedule to keep customers and potential new business checking in from time to time.
Social media isn’t just a great way to engage customers and showcase your expertise, it’s also where you can find out more about your customers and get insights that can help with your sales strategy.
Bring in new talent
Now that you’re up-and-running and making a profit, think about what expertise you need to bring on board to increase your revenues. This isn’t just about people, it could be technology or software you bring in to increase efficiency and drive sales. For instance, opening an account with a payment service provider such as KoalaPays, would allow you to choose from a variety of services to suit your specific needs.
Don’t forget the staff you already have with you. Look at how you can develop them and generate more productivity and value for your business while keeping them happy and engaged. Make sure they know that you value their contribution. Remember, the way you treat your employees will be reflected in the way you treat your customers – which, in turn, will impact your bottom line and your plans for growth.
An alternative way of bringing in expertise is to form partnerships with other businesses that can bring something extra to the table.
Develop new revenue streams
This one might seem obvious but until your business is established and you’re able to understand your market better (see ‘understand your customers’), you don’t know for sure what products or services you should be offering, or what add-on extras might create new revenue streams for you. This might be a completely new service or a new version of a product, an innovative pricing model, or even passive income from ads. Ask your customers what they’d like to see and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Measure and react
Which brings us nicely to our final tip – metrics. If you don’t measure and track successes (as well as failures), you won’t be able to hone your business strategy for growth. Look at what is working well and what isn’t. Examine the reasons why and put together an action plan for better results. Likewise, if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to let it go. Focussing on the areas which are delivering results is a no-brainer when it comes to growing your business.
Finally, continue to research and identify possible opportunities for growth. If you see something that interests you, update your business plan and your forecasts before taking action. Make sure the initiative is viable and your business can handle any potential outcome, whether that’s good or bad.
Growing your business isn’t easy. It takes time and effort, but if your business model is good, and you plan for every situation, you can use these strategies to your advantage and take your business to the next stage of its development.