Every good business should have growth on the mind. As we begin to enter the new year many are looking to actively target business issues and grow their business to new heights.
Business growth can take a range of forms. You may be looking to expand your customer base, increase market share, or boost brand awareness. Alternatively, you could be looking to expand into a new market, open more branches, or look for ways to generally improve financial results.
In this article, we’ll look at different ways you can achieve business growth, whatever your goals. We’ll explore market strategies, technological investments, and other key strategic steps that you need to be taking.
Marketing techniques are one of the main ways that you can grow a small business. They allow you to boost brand awareness, establish your brand identity, and promote your products and services.
It’s important to remember that not all marketing techniques are created equally. So you should consider which ones will work best for you and your business.
Let’s explore the different techniques available and how they work.
Statistics compiled by Forbes state that only 71% of businesses have a website. This report means that almost a third of all businesses don't have a website for users to explore.
Having an online presence is crucial when it comes to building and selling a brand or service. The same report also states that 25% of all business is conducted online and that over three-quarters of customers visit a company website before they visit a physical location. With these stats in mind, companies simply can’t afford to not invest in their online presence.
An effective way to market yourself as an online business is by creating or expanding your current online presence to reach a broader audience. Even if you already have a successful website, there may be steps you can take to optimize its design and content. Doing so can help to generate more leads, educate individuals or businesses, and provide valuable information.
Your website should include your business's contact information. These details should be clearly displayed across all your online channels as it is often a customer’s first chance to contact you.
You also need to optimize your website for both desktop and mobile devices. After all, 58.5% of all web traffic now originates from mobile phones and tablets, compared to just 41.4% from desktops and laptops.
Landing pages can serve an essential function, allowing you to obtain contact details from sales leads. Your load times also really matter. Incredibly, Deloitte found that a 0.1-second improvement in website load times causes conversions to grow as much as 8% among retail brands and up to 10% in certain other industries.
Another way to leverage marketing to grow your business is through social media channels. This strategy can take many forms, from investing in social media advertising to creating business accounts on Facebook, X, (formerly known as Twitter) Instagram, and other platforms.
Social media channels can be ideal for sharing your content, interacting directly with customers, and targeting online advertising toward very specific demographics. There's a certain customer service element to social media, which can assist you with reputation management efforts and lead to more organic growth, achieved through positive interactions.
It should also be noted that among the businesses that don't have a website, Forbes reports that 20% say they use social media instead. We'd recommend you make use of a company website and multiple social media platforms to maximize your online presence. You should ensure that you adopt the same brand voice and attitudes across all channels.
While many businesses focus their efforts on Facebook, Instagram, X, and LinkedIn, it's worth exploring the potential of TikTok, too. According to Sprout Social, TikTok has over 1 billion active users, and its user base skews younger, with 38.9% of users aged between 18 and 24. It's a harder platform for businesses to crack than most alternatives, but it's a potential exposure goldmine if you can find the right brand identity and connect with users.
Another great way to boost your online marketing efforts is to invest in a content marketing strategy. This should combine the creation of high-quality content that's of interest to your target audience with basic search engine optimization (SEO) principles. This can result in increased visibility, more online traffic, and greater credibility.
For small businesses, it may be beneficial to outsource content creation to freelance writers and SEO specialists. This can help you build a good mix of content mediums that will appeal to your existing customer base and target audience.
Examples of some of the different content types you could experiment with include:
- Blog posts
- News articles
- Video content
- 'How to' guides
- Case studies
Publishing content on your website or blog can help to drive traffic to your page. But you should also look at publishing content on other websites. You can include links to your web pages or request that your website be linked from your author biography.
Including links to your landing pages is also great for lead generation and building brand recognition. By publishing content on other websites you can establish yourself as an expert and thought leader in your industry.
According to DemandGen research, 40% of buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson, while an additional 21% of buyers consume 5-7 pieces. So make sure your content marketing strategy is varied, genuinely helpful, forward-thinking, and authoritative.
Sometimes you need to invest money now to achieve growth later. Updated and cutting-edge technology is a good example of this. Below, we'll explore two of the most important areas of technology investment and how they can aid your business.
Sales, marketing, and CRM software are all essential for achieving peak performance and supporting future growth. Training employees to use the latest technology can improve productivity and speed up certain tasks.
While chasing growth, you must also avoid neglecting your existing customers. Your CRM software is going to play a key role in assisting your retention efforts. 91% of businesses with more than 10 employees use a CRM to help manage customer relationships.
The best CRM software will provide comprehensive contact management options, allowing you to manage contacts, record vital information about each customer, save useful documents, and store communications. This centralized data can help you maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, improving your chances of attracting referrals and positive reviews.
60% of businesses believe that their productivity has improved by using a CRM. Proving it to be an essential piece of tech to improve and manage your customer interactions.
Other essential sales tech can include analytics software, which provides valuable insights that you may otherwise miss. Such tools can be especially useful for identifying patterns and trends, which you can utilize to improve overall sales performance.
Modern businesses collect vast quantities of data, regardless of their size or industry. This could include customer data, sales information, website analytics, and industry reports, so you should take advantage of these resources.
You should be constantly tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), like conversion rates, revenue per customer, customer lifetime value, average sales cycle length, and customer retention rates. However, this information is only valuable if you use it to understand your performance and take steps to improve these KPIs in the future.
Depending on the nature of your business, forecasting could play a crucial role in anticipating market conditions and facilitating future growth. Forecasting efforts typically rely on a combination of current business data, historic business data, wider industry data, and relevant information about behavioral trends and market conditions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has been a hot topic recently, especially with the availability of new tools that could streamline day-to-day operations. One area where it can be especially effective is in data analysis. AI tools can help you to understand the abundance of data you're likely to amass and extract the most useful information.
Marketing and technology play a valuable role in business growth efforts, but there are some more strategic tactics that you should consider. It’s important to remain open to new methods and be willing to change the way you currently do things. Especially if those changes can move you closer to your objectives. Here, we'll examine some potential ideas.
When was the last time you invested time, money, and effort in some comprehensive market research? For a lot of companies, this is an activity that happens while creating a business plan, but after a while efforts slide. If this sounds familiar, you should think about speaking to people and challenging some of your assumptions.
Market research can take different forms, but common examples include:
- Email surveys: a series of relatively simple questions sent to a group of individuals.
- Focus groups: group conversations that are overseen by a moderator.
- Interviews: conversations with your target market, conducted on a one-to-one basis.
- Observation: viewing an ideal user's interactions with your brand and your products.
Market research can help you better understand exactly what your target market wants, expects, needs, and thinks. It helps to highlight your strengths and weaknesses. As well as reveal useful insights that can inform future business strategies and help pinpoint significant areas of opportunity.
Remember, however, that your focus should be on growth, so you can't only research your existing customers. Instead, you need to think about the people you're not currently reaching and find out how you may be able to assist them in the future. On top of this, look at what your rivals are up to or what high performers in similar fields are doing.
Consumers around the world are increasingly aware of environmental issues. Whether it’s preventing unnecessary plastic waste, the need to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions, or the benefits of recycling. There's also a growing base of evidence to suggest environmental issues are emerging as a key competitive differentiator.
The Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey published by PwC provides some interesting insights into the role that environmental issues are playing in shaping consumer decisions. The report states that 30% of consumers report that they either often or always consider a business' environmental track record when purchasing a product or service. Furthermore, 48% of consumers say they take these issues into account when recommending a brand to others.
These findings are backed up by research from the NYU Stern School of Business, which shows that products marketed as being sustainable are growing three times faster than products not marketed in this way. This suggests consumers are willing to stick to their word when it comes to rewarding more sustainable businesses.
Adopting more socially conscious business practices and highlighting your green credentials in your marketing materials is an opportunity to attract customers who take these issues seriously. It can also provide a competitive edge that may facilitate business growth and help you to expand your market share.
Connections matter when it comes to growing a small business. When you start running a business, it can feel like a lonely place. But there are other small businesses out there that would be more than happy to develop mutually beneficial relationships with your brand.
The list of potential options here is big, and it can be hard to reduce this to a manageable list. You could find suppliers that will allow you to cut costs, marketing experts who can assist you with advertising, or graphics designers who can help you create promotional content. You might want to work with a software company to create a mobile app, or you could find companies in completely different fields who are happy to refer customers to you if you agree to do the same.
Vendor management can be crucial for business growth. But you'll need to carry out some initial research and make sure all parties are setting clear and realistic expectations for how the relationship will work.
Part of learning how to grow a small business involves actively seeking out opportunities to network with interesting people and companies that share your values. Trade shows and exhibitions, for example, can be ideal for expanding your list of business contacts while also providing the chance to reach more customers.
If you're enjoying a level of success with your business and your customer base is primarily local, you could consider expanding into new markets. This could mean expanding your offering slightly further afield and testing whether demand is there, or expanding to entirely new regions.
Depending on the nature of your business, it could be an option to expand internationally, and with the continuous growth of eCommerce, this is currently a very viable option. As remote working has become more established, there's even the potential for small businesses to expand and have workers in these target countries.
If regional or international expansion doesn’t sound feasible, you could also consider other ways to move into new markets. For example, expanding your range of products or services and introducing something entirely new to a different target audience.
Adding new products and services can help you diversify, but you'll need to proceed with caution. Take time to carry out research and make sure there's real demand for what you're planning. Think about how much it's going to cost you to enter new markets and weigh up the pros and cons before actually making your move.
Business growth is a major objective for many small business owners, yet it requires a careful strategy. Growth can take many forms, but regardless of whether you want to expand into new locations, boost revenue, increase market share, expand your workforce, or broaden your horizons in terms of the products you offer, you must make a plan.
When exploring how to grow a small business, you'll need to focus on your marketing efforts, your use of technology, and some of your strategic approaches. Of course, you'll also need to be mindful of financial and market realities.
One of the ways you can maximize your chances of achieving growth is with Capsule to help manage your day-to-day tasks so you can focus on the bigger picture. Try your 14-day free trial today.