5 Realistic Small Business Growth Strategies

Every small business wants to grow into a big one someday. Small business owners always look for the silver bullet or a shortcut that will grow their small business. My advice to small business owners is “stop wasting your time looking for a shortcut” and focus on these 5 realistic strategies.

Networking

Networking is about making connections and building enduring & mutually beneficial relationships. We all heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, it’s true although somewhat incorrect for entrepreneurs, the more accurate saying would be “It’s not who you know, It’s who knows you”. Benefits of networking:

1. Generate word of mouth exposure every small business sourly needs.

2. Talking to like-minded business owners gives you the opportunity to give & receive advice.

3. By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, you will increase your confidence.

4. Feedback you receive about yourself and your business will help you grow.

Social Media Networking

Social networks help you promote your brand and drive targeted traffic to your website. I read somewhere that not having social media presence these days is akin to pulling out a flip phone at a business meeting. Benefits of social networking:

1. You engage with your clients and potential clients.

2. Social media posts can be used to drive targeted traffic.

3. Using social media for business boosts your site’s SEO.

Blogging

Blogging is one of the most valuable tools that businesses have to engage with customers. Blogs are about sharing your story, advice & wisdom. Benefits of blogging:

1. It’s a direct communication channel to your customers

2. It creates a two-way conversation with customers & prospects. It encourages interaction like comments and feedback.

3. Helps with SEO. Your website will be ranked higher on search engines.

Customer Service

You put in the effort in networking, blogging, and posting great content on social media, and you were rewarded with a few new customers. Don’t stop there, provide excellent customer service, and you will be rewarded with referrals from these new customers. Remember, you are not entitled to repeat business, it has to be earned. My advice:

1. Concentrate on providing value. Customer will pay for your product/service only if they receive greater value than what they pay you. Take some time to understand your customer and figure out how to maximize the value you provide.

2. Use a CRM, it will help you keep track of your communications with customers. For example, a CRM will remind you of an upcoming birthday, so you can send a card (or even a small gift).

3. Relish the opportunity to go the extra mile. If you’re lucky enough to get an opportunity to help your customers, relish it. A customer of mine had his car towed away, a short distance from my office. He twitted about it and I was lucky enough to see it almost as soon as he posted it. I immediately got in my car, and while on the way, phoned him up and offered him a ride. I picked him up within a few minutes and we went to pick his car up. Needless to say, he was very impressed and talks about it to this day (it happened almost 10 years ago).

Referrals

Every business owner knows how hard and expensive it is to find new customers. Referrals are by far the easiest and most cost-effective way to sell your product or services to someone you don’t know. You can invest a lot of time and money into getting new leads, but how many of those will end up as a paying customer? A respectable conversion rate is anywhere from 1%-3%. Conversion rates for referrals are somewhere around 50% and considering you don’t have to pay for referrals, it’s an unbeatable value.

You can generate business referrals from existing customers, or by joining a referral group like BBRN