Developing and implementing a strategy to support your small busines will not only give you a better picture of what you want to achieve, but it will also help you build a roadmap for success. Strategy should drive businesses of all sizes. In this guide, we will look at some of the key elements needed to develop your business strategy so that you can increase your customer base.
Where would you like your business to be in one, three or five years’ time? It is an interesting question, and the more detail you can provide in your answer, the better your chances of achieving your goals.
If you are thinking of starting a new business, or just starting out on your new business journey, we will share a few practical tips on how to grow your business on a small budget so that you can still compete with the bigger players – you just need to think smarter and act quicker on your decisions.
How do I make my business grow faster?
1. Really get to know your customers
Understand your customer’s needs and develop products and services that meet those needs. You can gain insights into your customers by personalising your services and encouraging them to provide you with feedback which will further enhance your service proposition.
2. Offer great customer service
Ensure your customer service is exceptional and go the extra mile whenever you can. Your customers will not only remember great service but engage in repeat purchases, they will also be more likely to refer other people to you through word of mouth or through social media pages and groups. Encourage them to post positive reviews on your social media platforms and on Google reviews which will generate great (and free!) PR which will attract potential new buyers.
3. Nurture existing customers and look for new opportunities
Have strategies in place to nurture existing customers, such as staying in contact with them via an e-newsletter or letting them know about promotional events or exclusive discounts or free product samples ahead of time which would appeal just to them!
At the same time, look for opportunities to get more work and build your customer base. Make sure you find the right balance between nurturing customers and finding new ones.
4. Choose a functional website with a simple design
Many start-ups believe that their customers will not take their business seriously if they do not have their website professionally designed. In fact, around 84% of today’s consumers think a website makes your business more credible than those who only have social media profiles.
Getting a professional to custom design your website can be expensive, but there are some very reasonably priced and good quality websites which you can create yourself at low cost without worry about having any design experience.
You can easily start with a ready-made free or premium WordPress theme for a fraction of a price. Below are a few moderately priced and easy to build websites you might want to consider using.
5. Use social media
Social media is a powerful tool to promote your business to potential customers and gain valuable insight through ‘social listening’. Through social listening you can find out what customers are saying about you, gain insight into their behaviour, identify keywords and trends that appeal to your target market and so improve your customer service. Social media can help you to build your business profile and attract new customers.
6. Attend networking events
Invest time to build your network. Look for a variety of different groups that will introduce you to a multitude of local business owners to collaborate and create new exciting working relationships with. Networking allows you to build mutually beneficial relationships with other likeminded businesspeople creating repeat referral opportunities.
7. Host events
Hosting your own event can be a great way to get to know your customers better, build relationships and better understand what they are looking for from your business. Yes, it may take a lot of time, money, planning and effort, but you could reap the benefits of greater brand awareness, deeper connections with your customers, and real standout from your competitors. Invite some of your best existing customers and encourage them to bring their contacts to widen your customer base.
8. Give back to your community
When businesses help other people, those people tend to want to support the company in return. Giving back improves a company’s image in the eyes of community members and results in a better place to live and work. Fixing up local parks, painting or repairing schools provide better and safer places to learn and play. Again, posting on your social media platforms will project the “people side” of your business which will help you make good and relevant connections.
9. Measure what works and refine your approach as you go
You should monitor where your customers are coming from to measure whether a marketing activity has been successful or not. Do not be afraid to experiment. Refine your approach if something is not working and focus more time on the activities that achieve the best results.
Who will be my business customers?
To understand how to better meet the needs of your customer, some businesses closely monitor their customer relationships to identify ways to improve service and products. The way your business treats it customers can give you a real competitive edge over the bigger players.
How do I compete with my competitors?
If you succeed to beat your competition, you will increase your market share. If you have more market share, then you will have more customers and more customers will bring you higher sales and profit. To maintain this profit cycle, you must know your competitors. Find out who they are, what they are offering, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. This will help you identify the key areas you should target to make yourself more attractive and distinguish yourself from the competition.
How can I then beat the competition?
It might sound obvious, but your competitors will also be looking over their shoulder looking at their market rivals. Businesses that plan for growth are more successful than those that stand still. Keep up with developments in your sector, follow consumer trends, invest in new technology.
Can small businesses be more effective than larger companies?
Absolutely! There are several reasons why small businesses are likely to deliver better customer service than a large company. Being small means you have better insights into your customer base. You are much closer to your customers and require fewer resources to learn what they want to meet their expectations.
You are likely to be more flexible when it comes to reacting to downturns, or changing your product range(s) as consumer preferences change or reduce. You should be able to spot new trends earlier and standardising your operating procedures. Above everything else, trust is probably the most valuable asset that a business can possess. If you don’t have that then you are unlikely to survive.