Growing a small business is no “small” undertaking. There are different stages that all companies go through when it comes to expanding, and knowing the crucial tools and strategies to implement can save you lots of headaches.
Here’s everything you need to know about small business growth and development heading into 2022.
One of the first steps to growing a small business is understanding your ideal customer profile (ICP). To effectively market and sell your product, you need to know the types of people who are most likely to buy it.
Here’s how to start figuring out your ICP.
The best businesses address people’s pain points. Humans are more motivated to cease pain than gain pleasure – this is referred to as loss aversion. If you clearly understand and market how your business alleviates people’s pain, you’ll find it easier to sell.
Someone who has every need for your product but not the means to buy it isn’t your ideal customer. To best begin growing a small business, you need to make sure your target audience can buy.
Answering this is essential because it tells you which marketing channels to focus your attention on. Are your ideal customers Instagram fanatics, or do they prefer to read from news outlets? Do they read blogs covering specific topics such as design, fashion, tech, or music?
The ways people get their information tells you a lot about them, and it helps you market appropriately.
Understanding this is part of figuring out your customer’s journey. If you know the pivotal point where your customer is most likely to purchase, you can swoop in and encourage them to buy.
Take the time to study your ICP’s demographics and customer journey.
Once you’ve thought about your ICP’s demographics, behaviors, budgets, pain points, and so on, begin talking to those people.
Offer them something small in exchange for their time and send out a survey or conduct informational interviews. Ask them for their honest thoughts on your product, more about themselves, or anything that will clarify how you can best market your product.
So, you’ve identified your ICP and the attributes that define your target audience. Great! But acquiring these customers one time isn’t enough – you have to keep them hooked.
To best grow a small business, you need to prioritize customer service. 84% of companies actively improving their customer support report increased revenue. And particularly when you’re first starting, you can’t afford to lose customers because your customer support isn’t on par. This is completely avoidable.
Your customer support department should be well-staffed (if you’re small, this may mean only two or three people), friendly, and highly knowledgeable about your offerings. They should use software that allows them to track problems, comments, and complaints; these records can be used to improve your offerings moving forward.
Growing a small business means improving your marketing strategy and identifying novel ways to attract customers. Here are the three best ways to do this.
If you aren’t already on social media, what are you waiting for? Social media is an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche and demonstrate unique aspects of your business.
The best business social media accounts are personable, quirky, and consistent. They let their values shine through and engage well with customers by answering questions and addressing feedback.
While it can be tempting to make accounts on all platforms, focus on the social media sites where your ICP spends most of their time. Once those are successfully running, you can consider expanding out.
Social media is also an excellent way to get feedback. Ask questions, read through comments, and pay close attention to your followers’ patterns.
80% of marketers state that content creation is a top priority for them, and for a good reason. Organic content is a tried and true way to acquire more customers. The benefits of good organic content (such as blogs) include:
What do we mean by “good” organic content? Your content needs to be:
Start with a blog and post one piece per week of about 1,000 words, totaling 4,000 words per month. We highly recommend outsourcing this to experienced content writers who know SEO optimization well; otherwise, this can take up too much time internally.
When growing a business, you need to find simple, scalable, and stable ways to manage customer relationships.
CRM software is the perfect way to do this, as it allows you to gather customer and prospect information in one place. This means no opportunity is lost and all prospects get addressed. Further, this software will highlight trends in your customer and prospect data that allow you to market more effectively.
Want to learn more? Here’s a guide to using CRM software.
Expertise and authority are essential for growing a small business. According to Qualtrics, 93% of people read online reviews before purchasing. Luckily, positive reviews should be rolling in by making customer service a top priority, the positive reviews should be rolling in, but this is only one part of establishing your domain expertise.
Consumers want to know that they’re buying from the experts. You want to be the go-to for information in your niche. You can do so by:
Offer this for free. Doing so exposes as many people to your expertise as possible.
Growing a small business means slowly turning it into a medium and then large business. In the beginning, you and possibly a small team handle everything from HR to sales to customer service. That will quickly become inefficient as you grow.
To begin looking for new hires, you can:
Hiring is a huge undertaking; if you have any current employees, don’t be afraid to delegate some tasks to them. Also, remember that you won’t hire for all roles overnight – instead, start by hiring out the most resource-intensive functions.
Not sure how to integrate new hires? Read our guide to effectively onboarding new employees.
When growing a small business, there comes a point where you master your vertical. Doing so means you’re able to retain most of those customers and have as much market share as you reasonably can. If you’ve succeeded at this, business growth and development can take the form of expanding into new markets.
New markets include different locations (state, country, province) or segments (age, income, gender). For instance, let’s say your product is primarily targeted at women, such as through a specific product line. If you’ve mastered that area well, consider creating a similar product for men to expand your business.
Here are some steps you can take today to begin expanding into new markets:
Growing a small business means having the software to support all parts of your organization. Rayl will soon be the comprehensive solution your company needs. We’ll offer payment processing, business management, and financial solutions to SMB owners. Keep all your tools in one place and grow your business with Rayl. Learn more!
We wish you the best of luck and hope you successfully grow your small business in 2022!
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