5 Ways to grow your small business

So, you’ve started a business and managed to make it through the start-up phase, but what’s the next step? How are you going to successfully grow your business in the right direction? 
Compiled by Courtney Braham, Lucro marketing Assistant

To answer the question above, we offer five realistic yet simple ways to grow your business.

Don’t own your business, run it. 
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” — Benjamin Franklin

This is the part where you transform from a business owner to an entrepreneur. You have made it through the hardest part of starting a business, but realising the results and profits you desire will demand a continued investment of time and effort and also that you maintain an active presence in running the ‘behind the scenes’ of your business. While the business may be able to stand on its own, it still relies on you for growth. Focus on what you’re good at and outsource the rest. You need to grow your strengths as this is what makes you and your company different; this is your unique selling point. Work fast and be efficient — what could be more attractive to a potential client than if your turnaround time and the quality of your products/services outperform that of your competitors?

Advertising. The most obvious one!
Start by identifying exactly who your target market is, i.e. who is interested in the services/products you offer? This is where the ideal customer avatar comes into play; businesses create an avatar to gain a better understanding of what makes people tick. Advertising your products/services only to those who would be interested in them will save you time and money and assist in generating quality leads. In the digital world we live in where over 3-billion of the world’s population have access to an Internet connection, business owners should regard their website as an ‘online office’. In less than three clicks your target market should know who you are, what you sell and what your prices are. Don’t waste their time with essays on the history of your business — they’re not interested! Your main goal should be to create the ultimate customer experience, especially for potential clients, so make it easy for them.

Choose the best team — and be picky!
You cannot do everything on your own. If you are not able to surrender some of your power, your company will soon find itself on a quick downward spiral. As the business owner you need to focus on what you’re good at and delegate the ‘less important’ tasks to your staff. However, you must be sure that your employees can be trusted and relied upon. Your staff represents a big part of your company image and potential customers will judge you and the company based on the quality of work and service delivered by your staff. When hiring employees, pay particular attention to their qualifications and experience and do your checks. Because you want to build a team that works well together, also consider whether or not they would be a good fit with your company culture.

As the owner of the business you need to strike a balance between being the team leader and managing the team. Some days it might be necessary to have a firm control on situations and sometimes you can sit back and let your staff take care of the matter; it all depends on how reliable they are. If the business can run effectively even when you are not there, you know you have selected a good team.

Be ready for change — it’s inevitable.
For your company to survive it needs to be transparent and adaptable. To ensure that you are ready and prepared for change, keep track of the latest news and trends relative to your industry and, of course, advances in technology. Technology is the single most influential factor controlling consumer behaviour today.

As your business grows it is possible that your target market will evolve; analysing customer behaviour will allow you to meet these changes head-on. Engage your clients in the process by asking them how you could improve your services.

Fortunately there are many tools and devices that, if incorporated correctly, could contribute enormously towards the success of your business. The following is a list of websites that could help you to stay current with news and trends relative to your industry; bizcommunity.com, webgrowth.co.za, forbes.com, businessinsider.com and hubspot.com

Network — it’s not always what you know, but who you know.
Networking is believed to be one of the most powerful marketing tactics for generating leads, making new connections and building trustworthy relationships. Business networking is a realistic yet valuable way to develop your knowledge, learn from the success of others and build your pool of influential connections. Through referrals, face to face meetings/events and email or website exchanges, businesses are forming mutually beneficial alliances to gain ultimate recognition and credibility across similar cliental fields. Networking has the ability to generate quality leads for your business — make a point of including this as one of your most important tasks.