25 of the Best Tips and Strategies to Drive Your Small Business Growth (Updated April 2019)
GRIN also recommends this Guide: Step-by-Step Guide to Optimize your Ecommerce Budget
Whenever you start a business, it is usually at a small scale. At this scale, your budget is tight and so is the size of your team. And small businesses usually lack many privileges that larger businesses have. This is the very reason why small business growth requires a lot of patience and hard work along with a solid strategy.
It may be difficult to scale your business and help it reach newer heights. You need to be a jack of all trades in many cases when your team size is small. It involves quite a bit of struggle. But thankfully, there are many tips and tricks that you can use to simplify this process. You need to sit down with a clear mind and look at various avenues through which you can grow your business.
There can be hundreds of ways to achieve small business growth, but a few stand out among them. These methods are some of the best ways to grow your small business. Let’s take a look.
1. Create a Sales Funnel
To achieve small business growth, you should have your revenue model ready. For this, you need to build a sales funnel. A sales funnel can help you automate your revenue flow. A sales funnel involves the complete process of finding a prospect to converting them.
If you have a ready sales funnel, it can be an easy task to scale your business. It’ll be easier to automate your revenue flow. Once your sales funnel is ready, it can make scaling your business easier.
Image viaChatbot News Daily
To zero in on the best funnel, you’ll need to create several funnels first. Then you can then pick the one that delivers the best results. Remember, without a sales funnel, it is difficult to achieve small business growth. This is because it helps you chart out the entire buyer’s journey and gives you an idea of how to deal with them at each stage.
2. Penetrate Your Market
Once you’ve established your sales funnel and entered the market, you can penetrate it further. To grow your business, there are two main ways: get new customers and retain old ones.
Finding new customers can be a difficult task and may be a slow process. However, your existing customers are your best bet to increase your sales and scale up. They are an instrumental part of small business growth because it takes significantly less effort to retain them compared to acquiring new ones. It is also a more cost-effective method and can help you save valuable resources.
3. Use a Customer Relationship Management System
When starting off, your customer base may be small and it can be easy to handle it. However, when you start scaling up, you’ll need a lot of help to manage your transactions.
It can be a time-consuming process and can hinder other more important activities. In this case, a customer management system can be helpful to handle your small business growth.
These customer relationship management (CRM) systems help you manage your existing customers and transactions. They take the load off from you and help you dedicate time to other activities. And when you scale, these systems will help you keep track of everything with ease.
Zoho is one of the best CRMs; it has helped loads of businesses achieve small business growth. They have an AI-powered sales assistant that will give you information regarding your customers. It allows you to prioritize your emails based on the sales pipeline. It also gives you the power to make sales calls with the click of a button. The system gives you in-depth analytics with KPIs, anomalies, comparators, targets, funnels, and more.
4. Get Referrals
An easy way to get new customers is by asking your existing customers for referrals. It can help fuel your small business growth too. However, simply having a good product and service is not enough to get referrals from your customers. You’ll have to actively look for referrals and possibly even offer incentives to your customers. Remember, only a few customers will come back with referrals if you don’t actively push for them.
After every sale or service, you can ask your satisfied customer for a referral. If you can give an offer or an incentive to your existing customers, there are greater chances they’ll give you a referral.
For example, many websites give discounts or virtual cash for referring someone else to their platform. This ensures that they get new customers and at the same time, retain their existing ones. Through this method, they expand their consumer base and achieve small business growth.
Google has their own referral program where you can refer Google Apps for Work to others. For each sign up that you drive, they will pay $15 (G Suite Basic) and $30 (G Suite Business).
5. Research Your Competition
When you’ve entered into a market or are looking to enter a market, it is essential to research your competition. If you can figure out your competitor’s strategies or flaws, you can improvise and beat them. This can be very helpful with your small business growth because you’ll be able to outwit them in all arenas.
However, if you don’t research beforehand, it can be detrimental as you will be entering unknown waters. Thorough research can give you an advantage over your competitors.
Image via SimilarWeb
There are many websites that can help you conduct competitor research online. SimilarWeb is one such website. It shows you everything you need to know about your competitors such as site rankings, website traffic, etc. Once you’ve found what is working for your competitors, you can emulate them.
This can accelerate your small business growth in a powerful way. At the same time, you can also learn what is not working for your competitors. This can help you avoid the same mistakes that your competitors made.
6. Create Innovative Uses for Your Products
Your products may have entered the market with one purpose. However, you have the opportunity to extend their usage to different avenues.
If you can create a new use for your product, you can get more customers for it. This way, you can increase revenue and achieve small business growth. The most basic rule of marketing and scaling up is creating a requirement. If you can create the requirement, and then solve it with your product, you can increase your sales.
If your product has just one use, it will only be purchased by people who require it for that purpose. But if it has more than one use, you will get a chance to sell it to more customers. These will be the customers who require it for other uses too. This is a great way to achieve small business growth by expanding your product’s market.
Microsoft launched their Surface Pro in 2012. This device is primarily a laptop, but the screen can be detached from the keyboard. The display can then be used as a standalone tablet. This gives it a dual usage and access to people who prefer to have tablets rather than laptops. People who prefer a laptop that can double up as a tablet can also use it.
7. Create a Customer Loyalty Program
Once you have a decent customer base, you can start a loyalty program. A loyalty program helps increase sales with a smaller investment. Not only does the loyalty program help you retain your old customers, it also costs less. It is said to cost five times the amount to get a new customer than to retain an old one.
A customer loyalty program does much more than just retain your old customers. It can even attract new ones. This can add fuel to your small business growth strategy.
If you can offer a clear incentive to them for spending money on your products or services, you may get new customers as well. This is because they feel that they can benefit by spending their money with you. If you can create an attractive loyalty program, you’ll be able to see your sales increase over time. This can enable faster small business growth.
Sephora has a loyalty program in which customers can earn points for the merchandise they purchase. For every dollar spent on purchases, customers get one point. These points can later be redeemed for rewards in Sephora stores or online.
8. Increase Your Reach
To get new customers, you need to increase your market reach. This can be done by making your product available to new customers. When more customers see it, they may purchase it. This, in turn, will give you more revenue, thus driving small business growth.
The most common way to do so is to open your stores in different locations. The locations don’t necessarily have to be brick-and-mortar ones. You can also have virtual locations like an online store, which can help you gain visibility online.
You could also increase your reach by using advertising. All you need to do is identify a new market and then find the right marketing tactic to target them. Based on your findings, you can then start your advertising campaign. A well-planned advertising campaign can help boost your small business growth.
For example, if your target audience is teenagers, you can use social media marketing to target them.
McDonald’s has franchises all over the world. This gives them access to a larger audience. And they have McDelivery websites where you can order your food online. They also have a good presence on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to engage with more consumers.
9. Create an Email List
One of the best ways to connect with people and get increase your reach is by building an email list. For this, you’ll need to have a lead magnet to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletters.
This shows the importance of a sales funnel. If you don’t have a sales funnel, it will be difficult to drive conversions from your email list and achieve small business growth.
There are many companies like Drip, Aweber, and ConvertKit that allow you to build and manage a list. Using these lists, you can send the newsletters to your customers. Newsletters can increase traffic to your website and even help you generate leads and drive conversions. This, in turn, can help with your small business growth.
10. Participate in Trade Shows
Small business growth also involves taking part in trade shows. These shows gather people who are interested in your type of product or service. This can give you access to the right audience who will be more likely to convert. Make sure you select a trade show that is in-line with your product or service.
11. Form Partnerships
When your company is still in the nascent stage, it is a good idea to form strategic partnerships. If you can partner with the right companies, you’ll have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. A wider audience means more possibility of higher sales and achieving small business growth.
Reaching your target audiences may be difficult if you have not partnered with the other companies. But keep in mind that you need to take the time to identify the right partners.
These companies will ideally be similar to your own or may be complementary to it. Once you’ve identified these companies, you can then contact them. Make sure that you propose the opportunities that will benefit you both. This will greatly increase the chances of such a collaboration happening. Such collaborations can help fuel your small business growth.
IMDb partners with Amazon Prime to suggest their products via the Amazon Store. You can see various movies and TV shows listed on IMDb. But along with them, you’ll be able to ads for Amazon Prime Video.
12. Get into Niche Markets
Niche markets usually have a very narrow set of customers. If you can provide the perfect product or service to them, you can conquer this market. This can greatly help in small business growth. For this, you’ll need to identify a niche market that relates to your business.
Once you’ve identified the market, you can start marketing your product or service to them. If you can do this well, you’ll see buyers in no time.
13. Use Ecommerce Platforms
Ecommerce platforms can be a great way to achieve small business growth. If you sell physical products, you can use Amazon. If you sell services, you can use UpWork. If you want to rent out your home, you can use Airbnb. The opportunities are truly endless. You can reach a huge audience and generate more sales through this mode.
With a wider audience, you can even spread brand awareness and draw people to your business. This can greatly impact your small business growth.
14. Reduce Your Costs
When you’re looking to grow your business, you need to increase your income as well. If your outflow of money is more than your profits, you won’t have enough money to reinvest into your business. In such a situation, it’ll be nearly impossible to achieve small business growth.
To ensure that you have an adequate supply of money, you should try to cut your costs. You could liquidate your failing products or even improve your overall turnover. This can help you reduce your costs and allow you to reinvest the money for small business growth.
15. Make Deals for Licensing
You may already have a certain level of market share, but licensing deals can greatly increase that. If you have a product that could be licensed, then you can utilize it to your advantage and get small business growth.
You can license other companies to sell your product and share the revenues. This can increase your revenue, which you can then reinvest into your business. And if you can find a company that has a large consumer base, you’ll be able to reach market saturation sooner. This way, licensing can help you boost your small business growth without a lot of effort.
16. Increase Your Products and Services
Once you’ve managed to get a decent consumer base, you can start expanding your products and services. Many times, consumers require many other things apart from your product. These products can also help you generate sales and achieve small business growth.
Hence, you can offer another product or service that will complement your other products or services. This way, you’ll get consumers to buy both the products or services instead of just one. Through this method, you can increase your sales and accomplish rapid small business growth.
For example, if you’ve launched a brand that sells notebooks, you could start selling pens. People usually purchase these together and this can ensure that both of your products get sales. If you can diversify your product portfolio with similar products, you can achieve quick small business growth.
Image viaCult Pens
The stationery giant, Staedtler started off as a pencil manufacturer. However, as time passed, they entered into manufacturing pens, erasers, glue sticks, sharpeners, and more. People would generally purchase erasers and sharpeners along with pencils. This helped them with small business growth and made them a giant in the industry.
17. Offer Franchises
If you think that your business model is working out well for you, you can consider franchising. Franchising is a great way to reduce your financial liabilities and achieve small business growth.
You can get others to invest in your product while you give them the know-how. In the process, you can get a fixed amount at the beginning and later get a royalty for each sale.
This can also increase your brand awareness as your brand’s name will travel to various locations. It’ll help you save capital as it doesn’t require as much investment. This money can be put back into the business to drive small business growth.
However, franchising comes with its own set of costs. It can be quite expensive. And moving to the franchise model can be a tough task. You’ll also need to heavily invest in marketing to support your franchise.
If you can do this right, you’ll quickly achieve small business growth and become a larger business.
Image viaShop A Docket
For example, Subway has franchises worldwide. In fact, it has become the largest food chain in the world with more than 44,000 franchisees. This way, it could achieve rapid small business growth and become an authority in the FMCG industry.
18. Start Exporting
Small business growth need not be limited to just your own country. You can even start exporting your products and services. This can give you access to a larger market and can skyrocket your sales. You can start sending out your products and services to international customers and improve your market footprint.
However, just like franchising, becoming an exporter is a tough task as well. It can require a significant commitment in terms of time and resources. But if you can do this right, you’ll have access to a much wider market. This can lead to tremendous small business growth and profit.
19. Find Ways to Get Passive Income
Small business growth requires a lot of investment in terms of time and money. To help free up capital to help grow your small business, you could consider passive income streams. They can help make sure that you have a consistent flow of money. This can allow you to have the breathing space to commit mistakes and learn from them in your business.
There are many different types of passive income streams. You could invest in crowdfunded real estate, do affiliate marketing, or invest in other companies. Holding shares in other companies would allow you to get income from dividends. This income can be used to invest into your business and achieve small business growth.
Even if you’re on the right track in your business, you could use the extra income for investment. You will then have ample resources to invest into your business and achieve small business growth. With passive income streams, scaling up becomes easier.
20. Try Automation
Automation can help you save both time and resources. This is especially true for a small business where the staff is usually smaller.
Through automation, you can take care of many aspects of business without much effort and achieve small business growth. These could be time-tracking, employee productivity, ROI calculation, and more. There are many tools out there like Toggl, which allow you to track employee activities.
You can use automation to make things easy for you and save loads of resources as well. When you’re scaling up, automation can help you keep track of everything. Which can make it easier to achieve small business growth.
21. Acquire Businesses
Another quick way to grow your business is to acquire another business. These businesses could be your competitors or ones that are in similar industries. This can help you to start scaling up quickly.
However, acquiring new businesses will require significant investment. But it can help facilitate your small business growth.
22. Use Webinars
Webinars are a powerful way to promote your products and services. They can help you achieve rapid small business growth. You can reach huge audiences and through them and can market your products or services. Webinars can also help you reach new audiences and increase your online sales
The best part about webinars is that they are extremely cheap to host compared to traditional events. This can help you save money which can be put back in the business to achieve small business growth. And if your business is an online one, you can offer giveaways to your attendees. This can further motivate them to purchase your products and services.
23. Leverage User-Generated Content
This is especially applicable to businesses in the digital space and can be instrumental in getting small business growth. User-generated content is extremely helpful to get the attention of prospective customers.
A study by BrightLocal showed that 97% of people look online for local businesses. They also found that 85% people trust reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. The research also found that most consumers read 7 reviews before trusting a business.
This is where user-generated content becomes extremely important. Your reviews speak leaps and bounds about your brand. And this is especially true in case of small businesses, which need to prove that they are good. In such a situation, reviews are critical for small business growth.
You need to make sure that there are positive reviews about your brand online. There are many ways you can encourage your customers to submit reviews of your products and services. Once they do, it can help you to achieve small business growth.
24. Use Apps for Project Management
It is clear that automation can help you save resources and help with small business growth. Project management apps can make it even easier for you to manage your projects.
Manually managing a project can be time-consuming. This can lead to a lot of wastage of time and effort. In such a case, project management apps can help you grow your business. The saved time and capital can be reinvested in the business and can help you achieve small business growth.
There are many project management apps that don’t cost much, like Casual and OmniPlan that help with project management. They can combine various aspects of project management and simplify it for you.
You can further simplify it by using multiple apps that complement each other. For example, one app could be used to keep track of project deadlines. Another app could help you monitor the progress of the project. This way, you can manage your business efficiently and get small business growth.
25. Work with Influencers
Influencer marketing is a great way to achieve small business growth. This method of online marketing requires a significantly lower investment than other marketing methods, and offers higher returns.
All you need to do is find influencers in your niche and get in touch with them. You can then pay them to promote your products or services to their followers.
Image via Collective Bias
A survey by Collective Bias showed why influencer marketing is effective. The study found that 60% of consumers were influenced by social media while shopping. And 30% of customers said that they would purchase a product if it was recommended by non-celebrity influencers. This way, you can increase your sales and revenues and achieve small business growth quickly.
Small business growth is a time-consuming process that takes a lot of dedication. If you follow the steps mentioned above, you can grow your business more effectively. You could also modify your strategies dynamically to grow more quickly and efficiently.
Do you have any doubts related to the tips and strategies mentioned above for small business growth? If so, let us know in the comments section below. We’ll try our best to sort them out for you.
Was this article helpful? Give it a share!
What the best brands are doing to drive revenue from influencer marketing
Whether you are just getting started with influencer marketing or already have your program in place, this guide gives you the tools to get the return on investment your C-level will love.