Everybody in the business world wants to be able to grow their own business and build their own little empire. That’s why we venture off on our own; we have incredibly large ambitions and we want our independence.
One of the most common questions is ‘how do I grow my business?’ or ‘how do I get more customers?’. There are various answers to this, some of which involve a lot of money, but I’m assuming if you are reading this, then you want the most effective ways with minimum cost.
Advertising is key; that is why there is so much money in that industry. Whether you are just starting out or you have your own small business, you will need to find the best avenue for advertising and that can be quite time-consuming.
The best free advertising you can possibly get is word-of-mouth. Offering customers a great experience with your business means that they are likely to recommend you to their friends, and then those friends will recommend you to others and so on, so forth. All you have to do is make sure you offer value for money as well as a great customer experience. One of the benefits of being a small business is that you can be personable with your clients. You want to make each customer feel special and show them that you care. They are a person after all, not just a figure.
Depending on your type of business, you will want to consider two avenues of marketing: digital or physical. If you have a physical shop, you can consider printing promotional products that customers can take away with them and that then others will see (such as a carrier bag or a pen). This usually isn’t too expensive but it does rely solely on others seeing it so if your customer is not walking through town or a busy street with your product, then people aren’t likely to see it. You could also look into posting flyers which again is relatively inexpensive, but the return rate might not be great.
With a physical business, you want to encourage people to come into your store. Hosting events or sending out promotional offers is a good way to get people intrigued. If you are in a good location, you want to make it look like your place is welcoming but busy. Sales are a great way to attract people as well as potential freebies.
If your business is mostly run online, then you may look into digital marketing more. This can be an expensive route so it really depends on your budget. If you want good results, you may have to hire a consultant to work with you. If you want to spend time yourself, then that is definitely doable. Social media is the place to start. The accounts are free to set up and you can reach people from all over the world. The downside is that it is very time consuming initially to build your following. You have to create and post your own content every day, but you also need to spend time interacting with other accounts. The more you interact, the more engagement you gain and your follower count grows.
You can use paid ads (such as on Facebook) to reach more people, but the return can be limited as people aren’t searching for you. It depends on what your goal is from the advert but when you start out on social media, you firstly want to focus your time and energy on creating your follower base. That way, you have someone to take in your content.
In order to grow your business, you will also need to network, whether that is online or in person. You need to connect with people in order to build brand awareness. There are networking events but again, social media is a great way to connect. You can also participate in groups on Quora (our business group is available here: https://www.quora.com/q/businessandtechsupport ) to gain recognition. Collaborations with similar businesses can also help gain exposure.
When planning to grow an existing business, you need to make sure it is scalable. How are you going to fulfil more orders? You need to have a plan in place to ensure your quality does not falter. You also want to be appealing to more people which can mean expanding your business slightly by offering more products or more services. It’s important to do the market research first to see what will bring in more sales.
As I said at the start, there are so many different ways to grow a business but in general, you want to: increase brand awareness, connect with customers, expand your business offerings, host promotional events.