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If you’re a small business owner, chances are you like it that way. Sure, some dream of becoming the next Bill Gates or Sheryl Sandberg, but research shows that the majority of you are happy with the KISS concept — Keep It Small and Successful.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to grow at all — in the long term, success relies on growth. But how much growth, what kind, and where to begin? No matter where you are in the lifespan of your business, these growth strategies will help you confidently build your business.
Here are five easy tips for growing your business:
- Mix up your marketing
- Optimise your staffing
- Expand your network
- Embrace social media
- Prepare to go big
1. Mix up your marketing.
Get people excited about your products or services with banners, posters, brochures, and postcards. These are all easy, effective, and inexpensive ways to spread the word about sales and events.
Once you’ve settled on a logo and brand guidelines for your business, stick to the same typeface and colour scheme to create a cohesive, professional set of marketing products.
A stack of postcards with your logo and company message is an affordable, impactful place to start. Mail them to your customers, add them to packaging, hang them on local notice boards, and leave a stack on your counter. Try adding a coupon or promotional offer to these postcards to entice customers to return.
Brochures, rack cards, and flyers allow you to present more detailed information about your business. Use high-resolution photos and clear, concise messaging to tell potential customers everything you want them to know. These marketing materials have plenty of room for pricing, service lists, and menus, too.
For a larger-scale option, signs and posters are eye-catching and easily seen from afar. Display them outside of your physical space to attract new customers, and hang them strategically inside your shop to guide and inform. Use bold messaging and bright images to gain maximum attention.
2. Optimise your staffing.
As a small business owner, you know that there is an infinite amount of responsibilities in your company’s day-to-day operations. It can be hard to give up control, but delegating is an important part of being the boss.
Start small. Where do you need the most help? What can you trust someone else to do? Who do you know that can help you? Hire someone to redesign your website, stock shelves, and send newsletters so you can focus on organising inventory, sprucing up your shop, creating new products, and engaging with your social network. These are all things that will help your business thrive (and make more money).
Of course, it costs money to hire employees, but consider it an investment in your small business. And just imagine all of the high-level business planning you can do with your newfound “free” time.
3. Expand your network.
Networking is a common catchphrase these days, and for good reason. Networking allows you to reach more customers, enter new markets, learn best practices, discover the latest trends, and unlock all kinds of potential for growth.
Make your brand an integral part of your community — attend area events and get involved with local business organisations. Don’t be afraid to hand out business cards, promotional products, and marketing materials…and always be approachable, friendly, and available to chat.
Take advantage of these events to connect with other businesses that provide similar or complementary services. In the future, they could become strategic partners—whether it’s hosting a joint sale or in-store event. Businesses helping other businesses is a total win-win.
Your radar should always be on for local networking forums, conventions and seminars that relate to your small business. These events are ideal opportunities to talk to people with similar interests and experiences…and you’ll likely walk away feeling inspired and recharged. Don’t forget to bring plenty of business cards — the original networking tool.
Networking has a digital element, too. To truly increase your reach, your company needs an internet presence. Creating a custom website is relatively easy, and a web presence expands your reach on a national (or even global!) scale. Just remember to keep your site up to date and relevant.
Don’t be scared to ask customers to write reviews on your Facebook page, or share your latest Instagram post for a chance to win a giveaway. If customers leave comments or questions on any of your social pages, make sure you reply with a timely, friendly response.
5. Prepare to go big.
Conferences, trade shows, and industry events are a perfect way to present your products and services to a targeted audience…and attendance doesn’t have to be expensive.
Start with a table and some bold signs with your logo. Pass out flyers, postcards, business cards, and brochures with information about your business, and host some kind of giveaway or raffle. These kinds of marketing methods are effective and inexpensive ways to spread the word, while promotional products (like customised pens and tote bags) are an easy, fun way to stay top of mind.
Small steps lead to big growth.
Regardless of your company’s size, continued growth is necessary to be a successful business. Start where it makes sense for you…when you take the first step, the others become easy. Don’t be afraid to network, hire a new employee, develop your web presence, and go big at trade shows. Just don’t try to do it all in one day.