In 2013, the term “unicorn” was first used to describe young tech startups worth $1 billion. Since then, unicorn startups and other small businesses have exploded in growth. For example, Airbnb started only ten years ago but was recently valued at $31 billion.
After seeing these businesses expand so rapidly, you may feel like your company has frozen in place. Why aren’t you growing?
Cultivating your company takes constant adjustments. Using the same methods and strategies limits your expansion. You need to update your business’ tactics if you want to grow.
How can you jump-start your small business’ growth? Let’s learn 7 strategies you can use to get your expansion back on track.
Your products and services are the foundation of your company. However, your business is always improving. So why should your products be static? Reviewing and revamping your product lineup helps you expand into new markets.
While expanding a product line isn’t practical for every business, if you have the resources, diversifying your services and products can make you stand out from the competition. A robust set of services and products make you the go-to place for whatever your clients need.
Expanding your services lets you take advantage of openings in your market. For instance, Starbucks had offered breakfast food for years but saw an opportunity to grow its afternoon traffic. So, Starbucks started selling sandwiches, salads, and protein boxes in certain stores. Starbucks’ diverse product lineup allowed it to increase its foot traffic and revenue.
A close look at your products can not only uncover new ideas but can also identify products that aren’t selling. Clearing out products that aren’t profitable streamlines your business and reduces costs.
Unfortunately, some businesses discover that none of their services are profitable. For example, PayPal’s initial mission was to be a cryptography company. After facing issues with this business model, PayPal developed into an online payment system. By changing its services, PayPal was able to survive and expand. In August 2019, its net worth exceeded $120 billion.
Diversifying your products can be the push you need to grow your business. However, finding new product opportunities is difficult. Can market research help you discover fresh product or service ideas?
Your new product idea might become your company’s biggest seller, or it could fizzle out in a month. How do you know when an idea is feasible?
Conducting market research gives you the data you need to make your next move. Using customer surveys can show what products your audience wants or needs. Your client base can also suggest products they can’t find anywhere else.
Checking up on your competition can inspire new product ideas. For example, maybe your competitors don’t offer personalized products for their clients. Setting up a customizable product option can help you stand out from your competition.
Oscar Health Insurance stands out from its competitors by keeping things simple. Most people aren’t insurance experts, so Oscar Health Insurance uses simple content to explain to consumers what they’re buying. Easy-to-understand material makes Oscar Health Insurance differ from other insurance companies.
Finding new product opportunities is exciting, but you may wonder if it’ll work long term. Market research can expose whether your idea will fix an actual problem. Focus groups also pinpoint issues or improvements before your product fails. Knowing how your audience feels about your product can show if it fills a real need for your clients or not.
Twitter’s founders used focus groups to see what users didn’t like about other social networks. They learned that people thought the newsfeed feature was too cluttered. So the founders applied this feedback to their site by creating a streamlined social media platform.
Market research confirms which products will draw in customers. You know your audience is interested in your new product, you’ve learned that from your research, but that doesn’t make selling easy. Your new products need new sales techniques.
For many business owners, sales are the most stressful part of launching new products. You may not understand how to interest people in your services or find potential clients. Using a sales process takes the pressure off you and your sales reps.
A sales process identifies potential customers and helps you decide if they’re a good fit for your product. Then, it guides clients toward purchasing your product.
Creating a sales process requires you to analyze your current sales. You need to determine what’s working for your reps and what you need to scrap. After you identify what’s effective, you can use those steps as the basis for your process.
Sometimes, researching your sales reveals that you need new tools for your reps. Tube Form Solutions, a manufacturing company, was using mostly traditional forms of selling. These strategies were stalling the business’ growth.
So Tube Form Solutions decided to include new content and employee training in its updated sales process. Thanks to its improved process, the company made $1 million in revenue.
Adding in-depth content can make your sales process more effective. In the 2017 Demand Gen Report’s B2B Buyer’s Survey, 75% of buyers stated that the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decisions.
A sales process gives you the tools you need to win over your buyers. And combining your sales process with valuable content may be just what you need to convince someone to choose your business. But that’s not all your content is capable of; it can also help create your business’ online presence.
A strong online presence can draw in new clients without a huge investment. However, many companies don’t even have a website. Only 64% of small businesses have a website.
How can you develop your company’s online presence? Your business’ biggest online footprint will likely be your website. Using consistent visual design makes your website appealing. Posting industry-relevant content helps your website’s search engine visibility and attracts customers.
Your website attracts people who are interested in your industry, while social media connects you with people that may otherwise never hear about your business. Social media can also improve your customer experience. Offering answers and help to people that encounter product issues leaves clients with a favorable view of your company.
Together, your business’ website and social media accounts create an online presence that can market your company. Domino’s uses social media and its website to attract customers. Unedited photos of its pizzas on Instagram won Domino’s respect from consumers for its honesty.
Domino’s also made its website fun. People were able to go to its website, create their own pizza design, name it, and share it on social media. Thanks partly to its social media savvy, Domino’s became the largest pizza company in the world, beating Pizza Hut in 2017.
Building a social following expands your business’ reach and customer base. Growing your client base is vital for increasing your revenue. But once you have your customers, you need to keep them. Otherwise, all your hard work has been wasted. So, how can you retain your customers?
Your customer base is the most profitable asset your company has. The probability of selling to existing customers is 60 to 70%, while new clients are only 5 to 20% likely to buy. Retaining your client base boosts your profits and your growth.
Your customers need to be happy if they’re going to stay. How do you keep customers happy? Make your business fun.
Gamifying your business through a customer loyalty or rewards program engages your customer base. A positive customer service experience also satisfies clients by responding to their issues.
One positive experience isn’t enough to maintain your customer base. Your client’s experiences need to be consistently favorable. If your customer service is fluctuating, you may be forced to overhaul your company’s methods.
Wistia, a video software company, found that its phone support was overwhelmed. Too many calls meant it was impossible to deliver a consistent experience to clients. Wistia decided to change their phone support to email support. Switching to email support helped Wistia deliver a great customer experience every time.
Retaining customers stabilizes your client base and improves your profits. A steady increase in profits gives your business the resources it needs to grow. But this growth won’t just happen automatically — you need to budget for growth.
Budgeting for growth involves setting aside cash for whatever you need to sustainably grow your business. From hiring more employees to moving into a bigger space, putting aside some money helps you reach your expansion goals. So, how can you make room in your budget for growth?
Analyze how much of your budget goes to bills and necessary expenses each month. Then, cut out extra expenses and non-necessities. Make it a goal to find costs you can eliminate so you can put that toward your growth budget.
Perhaps your budget is already down to the essentials. Without a lot of money, it may seem difficult to grow. However, investing even a little bit into your business can have huge results. It doesn’t take a lot of cash to get your business where you need to go.
Burt’s Bees started with only $200 and some extra beeswax. Within a year, the founders had made $20,000 they could funnel into their business. Burt’s Bees was so successful that the company was later bought out by Clorox for $970 million.
Your finances can give your business’ growth the support it needs. You’re budgeting for your company’s growth, but that’s not the end of it. You also need to set aside time to network.
Networking can seem to take up too much time and effort. For instance, 41% of networkers say they would like to network more, but they don’t have time. On top of the amount of work required, you often have to travel far to reach networking events. However, trade and industry shows are a chance for you to connect with other companies.
From vendors to clients to potential partnerships, networking puts you in touch with people that can help you grow your business. You may also learn more about your industry and market.
Networking doesn’t have to suck up all your time and energy. There are plenty of ways to network. You could go the simple route and use social media. Or, you can travel to nearby events to meet with other business owners in person.
How do you know what events will help your business the most? Identify what relates to your industry or needs. Find out if the people attending would be valuable contacts for your business. Then, decide whether taking the time to travel and attend the event is cost-effective.
Events don’t have to be all about business either. Networking events can also be fun. For example, the event Social Media Marketing World takes place on an Aircraft Carrier. The event organizers also take the stress out of meeting new people by letting you connect beforehand through LinkedIn groups and Slack channels.
Networking can help you grow your relationships. Budgeting time for networking pays off when it comes to your growth goals. Your business may have been feeling stuck, but with these tips, you can update your methods and strategies. Revamping your methods can help your company’s growth explode.
Your business’ growth shouldn’t stagnate. Changing your company’s strategies pushes your business to succeed. Adding variety to your product lineup helps you take advantage of new markets. Once you have the right products, a sales process will make consistent sales easy. You can retain your new client base by setting up a rewards program and improving your customer service.
Is your business growing into the majestic “unicorn” you know it can be? If not, you might need to re-think your business strategy. Stop using the same methods that haven’t been getting results. Try one of these 7 strategies and watch your business grow.