You’ve done it: you’ve finally started a business. You’ve got clients and money coming in, but how do you take that next step to make your business grow into something bigger and better?
Here’s five to tips on how you can successfully grow your business:
Get to know your customer base
Your existing customer base can provide you with invaluable information on how you can make your services better. Encourage honest feedback, and really get to know their needs – that way, you can develop your services with the knowledge of what your customer really wants. Be sure to nurture your existing customers, too, maybe by offering a loyalty scheme or survey incentives, to encourage them to provide that much-needed feedback on your business. You can gather contact information and send them regular updates through several email marketing platforms, making it simple for people to see what’s going on, and allow them to opt out if they wish to.
Look for new customers
It’s all fine and well nurturing your existing customers, but you will need new ones in order to grow. Use market analysis to see where the people you want to sell to live, work, socialise etc., and get to grips with what social media is most popular amongst the market you wish to break into. Opportunities are everywhere, so always be on the lookout for trends that you can get on board with that may open up your customer base to a wider market.
Use social media
On average, people spend at least 2 hours and 15 minutes on social media per day – that’s one minute out of every three!
It’s impossible to avoid social media if you want to create and grow a successful business. It’s now the most powerful tool for marketing, and it’s free! It’s easier than ever to promote your services and reach a massive potential customer base.
Social media allows you to gain a valuable insight into social trends through ‘social listening’: what are your customers thinking? What do they want? What appeals to them? Using social media allows you to stay ahead of the trend and provide your customers with what they really want.
Plan, plan, plan!
There is truth in the old adage: ‘fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’. If you fail to plan for the future, you may well be caught unawares of dips and trends in business; there will always be obstacles that you can’t foresee, so plan for every eventuality. Do plenty of research, and be aware of the possible risks that may affect your business.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Planning your milestones for where you want to be in 1, 5, 10 years helps you stay motivated and driven towards making your business successful, and helps set a benchmark for you to know if your business is improving.
If your current model isn’t working, then change it! Fundamentally, innovation means introducing something new into your business. Is there a way you could diversify your business to make it appeal to a wider market? For example, a wedding cake maker might make ‘how to decorate a cake’ tutorials, or provide workshops for those wanting to learn. You could collaborate with another business to introduce new services, or learn a new skill which you could incorporate into your business model. Whatever you decide, innovation is key in making sure your business remains new and exciting.
If you are a woman running a business in the Greater Manchester area that is working through these dilemmas and other business growth pains, our Excelerate Labs team may be able to help.
Part funded by European Regional Development Fund, Excelerate Labs can link you with a local adviser to explore growth strategy and help you to get all your ducks in a row.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.