Growing your business is a step by step process that certainly does not happen overnight. However with dedication and persistence growth is inevitable. Today, we share 10 practical ideas that you can turn into action steps for the growth of your small business.
USE YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS
When you think of growing a business, the first thing that comes to mind is getting new customers or expanding your client base. However your current customers could be the key to your increased sales. All you need to do is to vamp up your customer service strategy with more focus on customer retention and word of mouth marketing. Some simple tips like remembering your customer’s names, responding promptly to customers queries online and listening to your customer’s needs and feedback can help promote customer loyalty and have your current customers bring in new customers.
PARTICIPATE IN TRADE SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS
As a small business owner, you need to take every opportunity to showcase your business and get your brand out there. What a better way to do this than taking part in trade shows and exhibitions that are relevant to your industry. If you are a fashion startup, find ways to get into popular local fashion shows and fairs. Food startups can make use of food expo’s, and the list goes on. The best thing about trade shows is they draw people who are already interested in your product/service and it’s a great way to get new customers, investors and suppliers.
DIVERSIFY YOUR PRODUCT LINE
Another way to grow your small business is to slowly introduce new products/services related to what you are currently offering. When you start a small business, for example, a bakery, you will have that one product that your customers will love the most hence defining your brand, like cakes. After some time though you can try expanding to other pastries like cookies, bread, maandazi, e.t.c, as long as you maintain the same good quality. This concept can apply to other businesses as well. However, before you venture into new products, it’s important to conduct a market research first so that you may know what your customers needs are exactly.
EXPORTING YOUR PRODUCTS OVERSEAS
It is much easier to have a global market for your product/service now than it was in the past, thanks to tools like social media that have made the world a global village. With a great online marketing strategy and a quality product, you’ll definitely start attracting international buyers who may request to have your product shipped to them. You can start off by shipping to one or two customers as you expand and slowly penetrate other markets. To make it here though, you need a strong online presence since that is where your customers are.
QUICKLY ADAPT TO CHANGE
One thing that will make your startup grow and set you apart, is being able to quickly adapt to changes in the market and within your industry. I’ll use an example of the food industry. There was a time when you only had to go to a physical restaurant to dine. However, the concept of delivery came through and the restaurants that adopted to this quickly gained a whole new client base that had food directly delivered to their homes. Restaurants that didn’t catch up however are not reaping the benefits of the new market. Ensure you are up to date with changes and innovations in your industry.
INVEST IN YOURSELF
As a business owner, you constantly need to diversify your skills and be all rounded. As much as you have a team in place to handle different tasks, you’ll definitely play an oversight role and this requires you to have basic knowledge in most topics like IT, finance, and communications. Make time and take business related courses, further your studies, attend relevant workshops and conferences. All these will translate in making better decisions for your small business and in turn boost your growth.
FOCUS ON ONE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
Social Media is huge. There are clearly big sites like facebook, twitter and Instagram that have been there for a while but newcomers such as Snapchat are also gaining ground quite fast. However, as a small business, instead of opening accounts on multiple social media platforms, why don’t you conduct some research, find out where your target market is and use the best site to reach them?
EMBRACE LOCAL WEB DIRECTORIES AND S.E.O
Search Engine Optimization is a detailed topic but for this article, my advice is to have your business listed on as many local web directories as possible. Web directories are a great place for your business to be found when someone searches for a product/service you offer on the internet. Examples of local directories you can sign up for are Yellow Pages Kenya, Kenya Business Directory and Kenya Business Listing.
You cannot possibly handle everything yourself as a business owner. You have to figure out what your personal strength and skills are and delegate the rest of the work to an experienced team of people you trust.
REWARD YOUR TEAM
Most small businesses have quite a small but productive team. This is why it is so important to keep your employees happy and motivated. Some simple ways to do this are giving them bonuses once in a while, having clear communication lines, helping your employees achieve their personal goals and having rewards for outstanding performance.
FINAL WORD: Do not be overwhelmed by all these ideas but pick one or two that are relevant to your business and work with them. Overtime, your business will reap the rewards.