How to grow your new business
The success of your new business depends on your ability to keep it profitable. Stay in the black and your business will survive, but grow your business and it will thrive.
However, growing your business is not always easy and it takes time. It requires research and a plan, and the choices you make need to be intentional.
Research and planning
When you step into your new business you have three choices: rest on your laurels, fly by the seat of your pants or plan. We recommend you do the latter.
Planning involves doing your research and setting goals. Look at the past and present performance of your business, market trends, potential improvements you could make and new opportunities you could pursue. Be thorough with your research, test your assumptions, then set your goals and make a plan.
Your plan will lay out how you will achieve your goals. This includes resourcing, staffing, the required business changes, and any investment required. Most importantly, make sure you include an exit strategy. Having a well thought out exit strategy will help you to fail fast; reducing the risk to your business.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. To grow your business, focus on these two things: growing your customer base and nurturing your existing customers.
Both of these rely on how well you know your business and customers. Try to understand what makes them tick. What brought them to your business and what will bring them back? What can you offer that no one else can? You could try surveys or feedback forms, but the most effective way to get to know your customers is the old-fashioned way – by talking to them. The more you know about them, the better you can design products and services to meet their needs.
Knowing your existing customers will also help you to grow your customer base. A good idea is to develop a profile of a typical customer. Add detail like what they do for a job, their home life, how busy they are, how they relax, you can even give them a name. Now think about how you can best reach them. Would a flyer in their mailbox work or would a well-timed Facebook post be more effective?
When it comes to nurturing your existing customers, it all comes down to one thing: give them phenomenal customer service. This includes listening, following up and making them feel valued. You want to encourage loyalty, and this is about getting the basics right: treat people the way you would like to be treated.
Products and services
Another way to grow your business is to offer new or improved products or services. The direction you take in this respect should be led by what you understand about your customers and the market in which you operate.
The standard business model is changing. Technology and innovation are inspiring us to rethink the way we work so try to think outside the box. It could be a brand new offering or it could be an extension or add-on to something you already do. Maybe you could host some events (even online) or partner with a complementary business. For retail businesses, perhaps you could set up a pop-shop or provide consultations.
Running your own business is exciting. You get to do things your way – so why not set your sights on business growth and watch your business thrive.
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