Successful businesses make the most of every opportunity.
Here are some potential opportunities to help your business grow.
- Ask your customers. Customer input about your solutions could help determine how to get the greatest value for your time and money. You may want to use an online survey, a table card, or a leave-behind. While number rankings are nice, these are best left for star ratings of online customer reviews. Ask open-ended questions that encourage actionable suggestions. You may not get a large number of responses, but just one good idea could make all the difference. If you’re new to online surveys, WordStream has a nice article that lists the features of eight free survey tools.
- Ask your team. They’re in the trenches and routinely have a direct line to your customers. Share your growth goals with them and ask for suggestions. Even if they don’t have growth ideas, employees may offer ways to streamline operations that will add to your bottom line and free up more funds for new marketing initiatives. Beware of making solicited suggestions a contest. Such a contest trivializes the seriousness and professionalism of your organization. However, reward ideas that positively affect sales or savings with a bonus or commission. It will encourage others to make suggestions, too.
- Ask an expert. If you’re not sure where to start, connect with your local Small Business Development Center for free expert face-to-face business consulting and at-cost trainings. They’re the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the country. With over 1,000 locations, they aim to make business ownership a reality and to help existing businesses remain competitive.
- Promote positive online reviews to build customer confidence. With more than 90% of customers reading online reviews, managing your online reputation is absolutely critical. Check your ratings on the Better Business Bureau, social media and job sites, and Yelp. Marketing gives you the chance to strategically position your company, products, and services, but positive customer reviews have become quite persuasive. Satisfied customers are very happy to help your business with a quick review when asked to do so. If they like you, they want to make sure you stay in business! Responding to unhappy customers and rectifying the situation is also imperative. It’s an opportunity to gain a lifelong customer and can turn a poor review into an outstanding one.
- Promote your website. The best way to promote your site is to improve your Google ranking. Understanding how Google search results are generated is a science and a career of its own. However, there are a few simple housekeeping tasks you can do that will help. The first SEO best practice is to audit your site’s content and navigation. Keep the site map structured logically, fix broken links, size photos so that pages load quickly, include page subjects in the headline, and use common industry keywords.
- Promote the right message. Review your key marketing pieces to ensure your website, social posts, advertising, sales presentations, leave-behinds, and business cards are on-message, current, and consistent. If you have 10 salespeople, they should all be using the same collateral and presentations that promote a unified message. Verify that your most recent offerings are included in all marketing efforts. Find a way to differentiate your company, products, and services in the market without directly mentioning your competitors.
- Expand your product line. Easier said than done, but perhaps there’s a variation on your existing line or a complementary product that would be a big seller. There may be a partnership with another business that could be a win-win. Analyze the process of a typical customer experience. What are customers purchasing before and after they buy from you?
- Expand your customer base. Is there another market you can target? Perhaps another distribution channel can help you find the same type of customers but widen your reach. A referral arrangement with another business could benefit both of you. Consider hiring a commission-paid salesperson or contractor to win new business. If you do your own sales, take a hard look at what you can delegate to allocate more time for sales.
- Expand your credit ability. If you haven’t separated your personal and business finances, your business cannot establish good credit. Business credit cards could help your business build a good credit score, enabling it to qualify for borrowing larger funds later.
- Reward your loyal customers. Repeat business is the best. It requires less time and almost always results in a happy, satisfied customer experience. Showing your loyal customers your appreciation can go a long way. Loyalty cards are nice, but a customer who forgot his or her card could feel cheated or inconvenienced. Most businesses now tie rewards to a mobile number for easy crediting and account access. “Buy more, save more” discount tiers could help increase the size of your sales. Rewarding referrals and social media mentions is easy and could also help your business gain an unlimited amount of “feet on the street.”