For some, such stability is comfortable, but we know that it can’t last. In a study by Statistic Brain Research Institute, 50% of U.S. companies close after 5 years, and 70% close after 10. People inevitably get tired when there is no growth.
But what can we do to finally break through the sustenance level? To ensure that our business not only survives but really thrives, we have to try new growth strategies.
Let’s start with the proven ways to grow your business. In our experience, all of them work, it’s only a matter of what mix suits your own company. Try them, analyze what works best, and scale up.
1. Dominate your existing market
Customer acquisition is usually more costly than retention. Thus, the easiest way to win more business is to sell more products and services to your existing customers.
Try winning more business and encourage referrals by upselling and setting up customer loyalty programs. It will be much cheaper than finding few customers who know nothing about you yet.
2. Ask for referrals
Investing in new customers is not a bad approach, but it’s smarter to start with asking for referrals from existing customer base.
Notice that having a great product and customer service doesn’t automatically generate referrals. People are forgetful, and we all need reminders sometimes. Don’t hesitate to ask your satisfied customers if they know anyone else who might be interested in your product or service.
3. Find new use-cases
You will be surprised how many products would have failed if it wasn’t for a new way they became used. Coca-Cola was first a morphine addiction cure, Listerine started out as an antiseptic, bubble wrap was once sold as a wallpaper. And the list goes on!
Think about all the ways your product or service can be used. The more useful it appears to customers, the more success it will get. Maybe your product is multi-purpose (like duct tape), or has an unexpected but awesome use case few would think about.
4. Extend your market reach
There is a number of ways you can grow by offering your product or service to a new pool of customers:
- Opening stores in new locations
- Launching an online storefront
- Creating an online presence with a website and social media
- Using paid advertising both online and offline
- Utilizing public relations to reach new markets
Aim for the most cost-efficient and free opportunities. For example, you can promote your business online starting with zero investments.
5. Conquer a niche market
Sometimes what hinders your growth is the huge size of the market you are trying to cover. In this case, you might need a smaller pond to become a bigger fish.
A niche market is that smaller pond you can conquer. However, in order to achieve this, you will have to focus solely on a small group of customers, dedicating all your efforts to meeting their specific needs.
Can you sacrifice a part of your business to specialize further in a certain promising niche? For example, if you have a bakery, focusing on beautiful and healthy cakes for children could be an option. Get creative and you’ll easily find the right niche for yourself.
6. Optimize your costs
Don’t forget that growing a business is about growing the bottom line. With this in mind, here are some of the ways you can optimize your costs:
- Wisely cutting business expenses
- Liquidating your “loser” products
- Improving your inventory turnover
- Boosting deductible expenses
Wisely cutting costs without harming the quality of your product and services has an obvious and simple result. But what about boosting expenses?
Without getting into details, there are many kinds of tax-deductible expenses that can lower your tax burden. Those are almost any “ordinary, necessary, and reasonable” expenses that help your business operate. Thus, by wisely investing into your own operations, you can both grow and save money with the tax deduction.
Also, did you know that in the U.S. even tax preparations fees are deductible? Contact your accountant, find out what you can deduct, and boost those spendings when you can.
7. Diversify your offering
This is also called cross-selling – you can bundle up products, offer complementary services, etc.
The key here is similarity, your additional offers shouldn’t be too disconnected from your main line of business. Otherwise, your brand risks becoming controversial, like that time when Zippo made a woman perfume.
8. Participate in trade shows
Despite the world going digital, offline meetups and events are still very popular. During events, you can meet prospective clients, tell about your business, and find new partner connections.
We recommend participating in trade shows on a regular basis, as they draw a very targeted audience that is already interested in certain products and services. Just be careful choosing the right ones for your product or service.
9. Develop Your Own Franchise
If you already have a working business model that can be replicated – you can scale it by franchising. There are countless examples of entrepreneurs who became successful thanks to building their own franchise.
It’s worth mentioning that not only fast food can make a successful franchise. Top 100 franchises of 2018 list include convenience stores, hotels, real estate agencies, car rentals, and even pet store franchises.
10. Try Exporting
Like franchising, expanding internationally is challenging but doable. Export risks are high, so you will need as much preparation and insights as you can get.
The first step to take if you are planning on exporting regularly is to contact one of Export Assistance Centers. There are also plenty of private consulting companies and individual experts to help you out with the market research.
Before you start shipping, however, we recommend taking your product to a few local (domestic) trade shows. International guests often attend such events and will be more than willing to discuss business with you. This way you can get real feedback on what you want to export.
For example, if you sell heavy-duty vehicles you can participate in a major heavy equipment show. This way, your business can reach representatives from all over the world for a fraction of international meetings cost.
Time to Grow
There you have it; 10 strategies to grow your business from small to great. Begin with something simple like building your online presence and go from there. Remember to scale up what works best for your business.
While you may not see any immediate results, whichever expansion strategy you choose, you will see progress if you stay persistent.
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