Business Growth Strategies For Any Industry
Having a great product may be enough for your business to stay afloat. However, if you're looking to thrive instead of just survive, it's time to start thinking about how to grow your business.
Business growth depends on far more than high hopes and a strong idea. It requires you to form effective growth strategies that help you attract new customers to grow your sales. When you develop the structure that moves your business forward, you may find that your business is anything but small.
With the following tips, you can begin building your successful business by maximizing your resources.
7 ways to grow your business
With over 80% of new businesses in the United States being self-funded or funded by friends and family, it's very likely that you're not starting off with a huge amount of money. However, this doesn't mean you have to be at a disadvantage.
Using cost-effective options and wisely using the capital you do have will help you grow your business fast, while limiting any wasted expenses.
1. Create a budget
Before you begin any quarter of your business, fully plan out your spending. Inability to manage expenses is one of the top reasons why businesses fail, so it's easy to see why having a guideline can greatly improve your chances at success.
Budgeting is a proven method of prioritizing and keeping yourself accountable in the face of tempting expenses. It also keeps your overhead costs in mind, so you're not spending too much before your rent and taxes are due.
As you're planning out your budget, make sure you take into account which expenses directly lead you to achieve sales growth, brand recognition, and any primary company goals, and prioritize those. Never make your budget so exact that you'll be left struggling if emergency expenses arise.
Planning your budget is a big opportunity for you to pull ahead of your competitors—only 39% of local business owners built an official budget in 2018.
2. Take advantage of free resources
These days, there are plenty of free and inexpensive small business resources available to business owners. Before you purchase any expensive programs or classes, Google whether there are affordable options that will perform the same functions, while still being efficient enough to keep labor costs fairly low. You may find ways to save big without affecting the amount of effort you need to put in for the same result.
Here are some examples of free resources that entrepreneurs can use when they first start out:
- Canva, which is a great replacement for Photoshop
- MailChimp, which can sit in for email marketing tools like Constant Contact
- Workshops at your local coworking space, which can be as informative as costly online courses or webinars
- Slack, which provides a great platform for your team to communicate
Finding cost-effective versions of services you need to operate can help you save on the necessities, as well. For example, Gusto is an affordable way to manage payroll and employee benefits.
Check out these other helpful collaboration tools.
No business owner should be expected to be an expert at everything. For the parts of your business plan that you may not be the best person to execute, consider whether you actually need to hire, or if you can outsource.
While freelancers and independent contractors tend to have higher rates, outsourcing will ensure that you won't be responsible for spending extra on benefits or supporting employee taxes. Plus, if you're not anticipating the need for a particular skill on an ongoing basis, it's a good idea to hire a freelancer for a single project.
For example, there's no reason to hire on a graphic designer if all you need is a logo and a few online marketing materials created. Instead, you can head to platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to find freelancers who are able to complete a project at a rate that works for you. These platforms can also help you find a virtual assistant who can complete any and all high-level work for you, like scheduling appointments and data entry.
If you're hesitant to outsource because you want to remain a truly local business, remember that outsourcing doesn't always mean finding someone online or across the world. You can outsource to freelancers in your local community, who you can even work with in person, and still cut costs.
4. Leverage social media
With nearly 3.5 billion people on social media and millions joining social media platforms each year, social networks are clearly captivating people's attention. No matter how big your email list grows, it's highly unlikely that you can gain access to such a vast network of potential customers anywhere else. You know what they say: If you can't beat them, join them.
Luckily, popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are free to sign up for and create business pages on. You can use these pages as organic marketing tools—even using scheduling platforms that offer free plans, like Hootsuite—to avoid costs altogether. On the other hand, social networks also allow you to set your own budget for targeted marketing campaigns.
5. Leverage content marketing
Content marketing is another way to drive new customers to your brand. If you're looking to become the go-to company in your industry, identifying keywords to use on your website and blog posts can improve your website's search engine optimization (SEO) and get you to the front page of Google.
This is a great way to develop an online presence that's visible, effective, and evergreen, which means you won't have to keep up with frequent updates. A good content marketing strategy will keep driving people to you over time. If you pair your website content with tools like Meet Edgar, you can even generate social media content with the content you have already written, once again saving you time.
Content that provides useful information to your audience will also create loyal customers in the long run. This is because it builds trust, as well as a following made up of all your current customers.
Another great way to cut costs is to let your business run itself. Using tools that can help you automate your processes will save you time and labor costs, while giving you peace of mind that human error is less likely than ever.
Zapier and IFTTT are two popular automation tools that can do anything from share Facebook posts on Twitter—and vice versa—to turn on smart lights when your office opens. You can even use these tools for project management in more technical fields like app development, or for handling PayPal payments with ease.
Automation can also help you condense the amount of platforms you use each day. Instead of hopping between apps and spending money on more tools than you need, you can be streamlining all of your activity. For example, Podium's Messaging Platform sends all of your messages from platforms like Facebook and Google into a single inbox for easy response.
7. Talk to your customers
No matter the size of your company, focusing on your customers will always help you grow your business. When you take into account what people have to say about your product—Podium's Feedback tool can help you get insight—you make their opinions matter.
This can quickly build loyalty, which means you have a sustainable source of income that returns to you. Customers who have any sort of positive, emotional connection to a brand will actually stay with a brand nearly two years longer than normal, and provide 306% more value over time.
In fact, you might even call a loyal customer a marketing tool in itself. When you continue to provide great customer experiences, they will begin referring you to their friends and family members.
Podium Reviews will help you continue to amplify these voices by directly inviting customers to review your business online. With 67% of consumers being influenced by reviews, authentic reviews carry just as much power as personal recommendations.
Even in a time when online marketing is quickly growing, word-of-mouth remains one of the most effective ways to build trust and grow.
Make your efforts count
Whether you're launching a new product or selling your original idea, you need to grow your cash flow and customer base to rise in your industry. When you wisely use the resources you already have, the size of your budget won't hold you back.
Another cost-free way to target your audience as effectively as possible is simply understanding how they think. Learn how different generations search and shop to build better experiences and boost customer loyalty.