Congratulations, you now have a business, but the “yellow brick road” of entrepreneurship goes much farther. In order to transcend the grind of survival and experience the joys associated with owning your business, you need to grow your business.
According to SignatureAnalytics, it takes more than having deep pockets to grow a business, you cant just throw money at every business problem. Although money is very important, you also need to innovate, treat customers as the kings that they are and build the right culture amongst your employees.
This is the second part of our series of building a successful business, so if you haven’t read our first article, please do so. We shared 13 easy to follow tips on how to start a business. In this article, we will be going over 10 steps through which you can take your business from “barely getting by”, to a “money-making machine”. It’s not rocket science; these are tried and tested principles that can do wonders for any time of business out there. You just have to stay confident and be disciplined enough to follow through. Let’s get to it.
10 Fail-Proof Ways to Grow Your Business
1. Stay True To Your Vision
While it is important not to lose touch with your target market so you can easily identify opportunities and then pivot your business to take advantage of such opportunities, you should stay true to your vision. Your vision is your unique selling point, it is what your customers and employees latch unto. More than anything, when customers buy from you, they are actually buying into your vision and so do your employees.
Your vision answers the question of “why”. Why do you want to build this business? What is your end goal? What do you hope to achieve for yourself and society? Your vision serves to motivate you when the chips are down. A clear vision makes it easy for you to make critical decisions. It enables you to make choices that are in line with your vision irrespective of the financial implications.
2. Strive To Provide Exceptional Customer Experience At All Times
This is a goldmine, especially for new businesses. A lot of new customers base their purchasing decision on how the seamless experience is when trying to access your product or services. And funny enough, most large corporations don’t pay as much attention as they should to customer experiences. This creates an opening for new businesses to steal some customers by offering them superior customer experience.
An easy example of excellent customer service is the tech giant, Apple. Using an i
As a new and growing business, channel a lot of resources to improving customer experience, continuously improving by reviewing feedbacks and in no time, your client base would grow.
3. Select The Right People To Support Your Vision
Permit me to also add “people who will finetune your vision”. Getting a vision is key, but what if your vision isn’t great? or holds no value? You need to have people you can trust to help you define what you want even when it isn’t clear to you. A business coach or mentor is an essential asset for any entrepreneur who hopes to grow. A business coach or mentor will help you iron out the kinks in your ideas so it becomes a more holistic and marketable vision.
On the other hand, no matter how much you finetune your goals and vision, there will always be naysayers, people who refuse to see things as you see them. all you can do is ignore them and surround yourself with people who believe in your vision and are willing to get behind you.
4. Nurture And Continuously Develop Your Team
The success of a business does not solely depend on the actions of the owner, but also on that of the employees. The employees are the ones who mostly interact with the customers; hence, they are the face of the business and so, they need to have the right attitude to work.
In a report by Gallup, they show a clear correlation between how engaged employees are how important employees feel. The more “ignored” the staff felt, the more disengaged they were.
One of the ways of ensuring an employee has the right attitude to work is by organizing frequent training seminars for staff, to keep the vision of the business alive and burning in their hearts; by so doing, they see the need to be part of the vision/purpose of the business. This way, they do everything they are asked to with excellence.
Another way of encouraging the right attitude to work amongst employees is by giving rewards such as special bonuses to show them that they are appreciated. This would help to boost their morale and encourage them to be more hardworking. This would eventually lead to a more efficient and faster work output amongst employees.
5. Invest In Innovation Centred On Customer’s Needs
In growing a business, aside from being the best, there is also a lot to gain from being the first. The first to utilize the west and greatest ideas and technologies to create, innovate products that make your customers’ lives easier. Companies tend to get a lot of attention for being first.
As far as innovation is concerned, it is not just about developing new stuff. It also involves improving already existing processes or adding more value to a particular product or service. What’s important is that you leverage ideas no one else thought to apply in the service of making your customer’s happier.
A great eample of this is how Sony came to be a major player in the professional cameras market. Before now, Canon and Nikon had a 97% market share between them but in recent memory, Sony is now the second biggest player in the camera game, second only to Canon. How did Sony achieve this? Innovation, and they listen to customer feedback, improving their cameras with every new release. While other brands were pushing DSLR cameras, Sony blazed the trail in the mirrorless category, and it sure did pay off.
6. Learn From Your Competitors Mistakes As Well As Successes
There is an easy way to learn without actually taking on the risks associated with learning; through your competitors. If you are in a niche with little or no competition, lucky you. But if you are in a niche with a lot of direct competitors, it is definitely in your best interest to learn from their every move.
First and foremost, do well to identify your competition; those who are directly and indirectly competing with you. You can go visit their stores or use their product, get an idea of how they handle customer relations. Do a deep dive into their financial habits and history, how much do they spend on advertising? How much do they make in profits? How much do they pay their staff? Etc. Also, pay attention to their approach to management, their history, and organizational structure.
7. Consider Strategic Partnerships
When two companies come together to work on a project, good things happen and the customers are all the happier. Take for example, the range of sneakers released by the Nike and Off-White collab, awesome stuff.
In picking a strategic partner, go with a company shares the same values as you, figure out a way in which the collab will benefit both parties. But before all that, you need to be clear about your goals and reasons for going into a partnership. Are you looking to expand operations to a new territory? Or are you looking to bring your partner’s audience into your ecosystem?
After clearly defining what your goals are, you can then go ahead to choose a partner that will help you achieve it. Do well to have the agreement between you and your partnering company written down in a contract, so that everyone is on the same page as to who is responsible for what.
8. Be Wise On What You Spend
As an entrepreneur, it is essential to always be aware of what you spend at any given point in time. Nowadays, most young entrepreneurs spend almost of all the profits made on frivolities instead of investing back into his/her business.
One of the biggest ways to keep your finances in check is by understanding money management. An approach you can apply is this, as a new business owner with irregular cash flow, you take an average of your income over the last 3 or 6 months or even up to a year (depending on how far back you are willing to go) to get your overall average monthly income and use it as your “base income” and make sure your expenses do not exceed that particular base income.
Another step in keeping your expenses in check is “knowing what your expenses are”. This is done to avoid wastage of funds on unnecessary expenses, be meticulous about what you spend on. Also, put money into savings. Add savings to your expenses tab. This is a smart and easier way of saving money. Your savings will come in handy during times of little or no cash flow.
9. Dare To Expand Your Reach
The number of customers you are able to reach will determine your growth. It’s nice to have a set of repeat customers who come back to you on a regular basis but to really grow, you need new customers.
As we have earlier discussed, strategic partnerships can help you expand your reach, you can leverage their infrastructure to access new customers. Another way is to be part of the community, it could be either your local community or the communities where your potential customers are. Organize events and contribute to the betterment of your community.
Don’t forget your online presence. Through the internet, you have the potential to reach people far beyond what traditional advertising can deliver. Optimize your websites and social media accounts to be easily found by potential clients and create quality and valuable content for your online channels. Though it would take time, your audience will grow.
10. Establish Your Thought Leadership In The Industry
If you are in the market for a luxury car, what brand comes to your mind probably Mercedes, Audi or BMW. That’s what thought leadership is about, being the go-to business/company in your niche.
This is where branding and content creation come in, you have to build a solid reputation in your industry, one way to do that is by offering excellent service and ask those happy customers to spread the word. Another way is to share your knowledge, it can be through seminars or conferences or online through comprehensive blog posts.
Put out as much content relating to your business, as much as you can muster across all social platforms. Run a podcast and YouTube channel. Do all you can to ensure that you are always in the hearts and minds of your potential customers.
Related Article: 16 Remarkable Tips on how to become a Thought Leader
There are many other tips we could share with you on how to grow your business, but believe me, if you focus on the ten tips to grow your business listed here, you are well on your way to succeeding at having a sustainable business.
If you are here reading this article, and haven’t read the first part on ‘How to Start a Business’, please go take a look, we share very easy to follow steps on how to start a business that can serve as a guide to help you launch your next/first business.
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING
R.L. Adams. 15 Ways to Grow Your Business Fast. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/306049. Accessed on 04/08/2019.
Susan Ward. How to Transform Your Small Business into a Big Business. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/top-ways-of-growing-your-business-2948140. Accessed on 04/08/2019.
Jeff Charles. 9 Things You Must do Today to Grow Your Small Business. https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/04/how-to-grow-your-small-business.html. Accessed on 04/08/2019.
Natalie Clarkson. Richard Branson: My four tips for Growing a Business. https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/richard-branson-my-four-tips-growing-business. Accessed on 04/08/2019.
Additional Sources on how to grow your business