Business going good, but could be better? Here are 8 strategies that you should think about incorporating into your business plan over the next three years.
1. Penetrate your existing market
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of growing your business is getting new customers.
But the customers you already have are your best bet for increasing your sales; it’s easier and more cost-effective to get people who are already buying from you to buy more than to find new customers and persuade them to buy from you.
2. Ask for referrals
Getting new customers is another approach to growing your business. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask your current customers for referrals.
Doing a great job and just assuming that your customers are passing the word about your business isn’t going to do much to increase your customer base; you have to actively seek referrals.
During or after every job or sale, ask your satisfied customer if he or she knows anyone else who would be interested in your products or services.
Google reviews are the free and easy way to ask for reviews. Good Google ratings ensures your business is at the top of the page when people are searching for a service that you offer. If you don't know how to set up Google reviews check this out.
3. Innovate your product or service
Discovering and promoting new uses for your products or services is a great way to both get existing customers to buy more and attract new customers.
Think petroleum jelly and duct tape – and how few of these products would actually be sold if they only had one use!
If you're a mortgage broker offering services for residential finance, why not consider branching into commercial or asset finance?
4. Extend your market reach
There are several ways of growing your business by making your product or service available to a new pool of customers.
The most obvious is to open stores in new locations, such as opening a store or kiosk in a new town. New locations can also be virtual, such as a website with an online store. Another approach is to extend your reach through advertising.
Once you’ve identified a new market, you might advertise in select media that targets that market.
5. Participate in trade shows
Trade shows can be a great way of growing your business. Because trade shows draw people who are already interested in the type of product or service you offer, they can powerfully improve your bottom line.
The trick is to select the trade shows you participate in carefully, seeking the right match for your product or service. Trade Show Tips will help you get the best return on your investment.
6. Conquer a niche market
Remember the analogy of the big fish in the small pond? That’s essentially how this strategy for growing your business works. The niche market is the pond; a narrowly defined group of customers.
Think of them as a subset whose needs are not being met and concentrate on meeting those unmet needs. A nursery, for instance, might specialise in roses. You may only consider selling to first-home owners.
7. Contain your costs
Surprised? Bear in mind that when we’re talking about growing your business, we’re actually talking about growing your business’s bottom line. And the difference between pre-tax and post-tax money can make this a very effective growth strategy.
8. Diversify your products or services
The key to successfully growing your business through diversification is similarity. You want to focus on the related needs of your already established market or on market segments with similar needs and characteristics.
An artist might also sell frames and framing services, for instance. A mortgage broker could think about selling financial planning products – provided they had the qualifications to do that.