Wondering how to grow your business and increase revenue?
Growing a business is not always easy. It can be one of the hardest aspects of running your business.
It takes some time and effort to successfully increase your market share and keep your business moving forward.
Persistence, determination and using some of the following strategies will provide a really good basis to start.
Get to know your customers
Customers will make or break your business, so get to know them, and use that knowledge to improve your selling techniques.
Don’t just assume you know your customers, or what they want, ask them for feedback.
Use feedback to discover how you can improve the way you do business. Find out what your customers like or don’t like about your business.
Make sure you listen to your customers, and act on their feedback, particularly when they make suggestions on what you can be doing better.
Be prepared to make changes and don’t fall into the trap of thinking you know best.
Happy customers are more likely to buy again, and also recommend your business to others.
Focus on existing customers
Make a habit of taking care of existing customers so they come back and hopefully bring their friends.
Find ways to nurture existing customers because it will save on advertising.
Create a loyalty program to track purchase trends and encourage repeat sales.
Collect a customer database that allows you to make contact with special offers.
Attend to any customer complaints quickly, and favourably, because bad reviews may damage your business reputation.
Make customers feel they are valued, and you will reap the rewards of gaining their loyalty. Prompt attention to their queries, listening to them, using their name, showing respect, and finding solutions to their problems will improve customer satisfaction, which ultimately leads to loyalty.
If you are unsure what is meant by finding solutions to a problem, it could be something like: ordering in a size of clothing that is currently out of stock, or finding the appropriate link for a customer to view or download information. Customers will generally appreciate the help you’ve given them and are very likely to tell others, which could lead to new customers.
Find new customers
This can be challenging, particularly for a new business, and it may take a combination of strategies to find which ones work best for your business.
Ask for referrals from your social or business networks, or your current customers.
Consider a referral or incentive program to encourage recommendations to your business.
Use the information you have gathered about your current customers to understand where you are more likely to find your new customers.
Make connections or partnerships with other businesses to find new customer leads.
Attend network meetings to make connections with other businesses, and possibly find out what does or, does not work for them.
Get involved in a local community and spread the word about your business.
Put up notices at your local shops, the school, or local area newsletter.
Always be ready to tell others about your business, carry business cards, and hand them out at every opportunity.
Hold an information workshop to present your business. You can use Eventbrite to freely advertise the workshop. Your local council or library may have a free or discounted room for hire, to host your workshop.
Invest in a marketing campaign. Ideally, you should do some research and try to determine which advertising promotions are better suited to your business.
Using social media can play a huge role in attracting new customers, but it may not be suitable for every business.
Use social media
The various social media platforms can provide new avenues for reaching potential customers but be aware, a mistake can be hard to rectify, and may damage your business.
Social media has become a huge stage for many customers to vent their frustrations and make complaints. Unfortunately, it may not even be the fault of the business but unrealistic expectations from customers, so tread carefully with social media.
Research which social media platforms are more likely to benefit your business and build a marketing plan to ensure consistency. Social media needs constant attention otherwise you will lose your followers.
For more information on using social media read How to market your products and services.
Advertise and promote
A well thought out advertising and marketing campaign can bring in new customers. Always look at the costs compared to the potential gain, to ensure you are not spending more than you should.
There are many ways a business can advertise and promote themselves, including the use of social media as mentioned above.
For a detailed review of advertising and promotion please read the article How to market your products or services. The techniques used for products and services can be equally used in gaining more customers.
Give outstanding customer service
This really is a no brainer! Offer great customer service and sales will increase.
It’s no secret that customers prefer to buy from a business that looks after them.
Ensure you are easy to contact, be friendly, and show you care about your customers.
Respond quickly to all customer queries and complaints.
Make sure you really know your product or service and be ready for any questions the customer may ask.
Streamline systems, and processes to make it user-friendly for customers to buy from you.
Having high standards of professionalism on your website, printed materials, advertising, business processes and complaints handling goes a long way in telling customers you really care about your business.
Customers are more likely to feel comfortable dealing with a well-presented business, than one that is sloppy and disorganised.
Offer something free
Everyone likes something for free, and it doesn’t have to cost your business too much.
If you are a consultant, you could offer a free review or possibly a free trial of your product or service.
Give away a trial of your product or service at a community event, by way of sponsorship.
Run a competition with the prize being your product or service.
Giving away a free sample will help to build positive brand awareness of your business and, kick-start more sales.
Upselling has become a very profitable way to grow a business, by increasing sales revenue.
It involves getting customers to buy more products or services. It can be a much easier strategy than looking for new customers because it requires less time to market to your existing customers.
Upselling techniques include: buy 3 and get 1 free, buy 2 and get the 2nd half price, buy this item and you will get this additional item for free, and so on.
Adding on another item at a discount is a popular way to upsell, along with advising the customer they can have a better quality product at a slightly higher price.
Making recommendations to the customer to encourage them to buy additional items, bundling items or offering extended warranties can also boost sales.
Cross selling is another technique, whereby, the customer is asked if they would like to purchase complementary products or services. For example, you purchase a new mobile phone and the salesperson cross sells you, a phone case, screen protector and phone holder.
There are many ways upselling can help to grow your business. Think about how you could use this technique but, don’t be pushy, and understand some customers will not be interested.
Don’t do everything yourself
It can be tempting to try to do everything yourself because after all, you know your business better than anyone else, right? Whilst that may well be true, it is generally impossible for one person to be able to complete every task successfully without some help. Sure, you may be able to get it all done, but at what cost?
You are likely to become burnt out or stressed because you may not have the necessary skills or creativity to do take on every task yourself.
Know your own strengths and weaknesses. If selling is your strength, then stick to that and hire someone with the knowledge and experience to do the other stuff you may be struggling with.
It does not have to cost a fortune and remember, if it’s someone’s specialty, the job will be completed much quicker, saving you in the long run.
You might need a logo designed, a social media or marketing expert, or some general help to get things up to date. If you are on a budget, you could consider using Fiverr to outsource the tasks.
Focus on the strategies that work
When you start growing your business, it should not take long to determine which strategy or combinations have helped to increase your sales.
Once you know what works best, you can then refine and apply the strategies more aggressively.
Ensure you have more than one strategy because customers buying habits can change, along with market trends, and other unforeseen events. For example, when Google makes changes to their search algorithm it may affect the ranking of your website, making it harder for customers to find your business.
It will take some time to grow your business, so be patient and continually look for new opportunities to promote your products or services.
Use a mix of different strategies to spread your market reach. This will ensure you are not completely disadvantaged in the event of a significant change in the market, or buyer behaviour.