Ways to Grow Your Small Business This Year

You started your own business and now it’s time to focus on growth. Where do you start? Where do you put your effort? The options seem endless, but let’s concentrate on the tried and true methods for taking your enterprise to the next level.

Marketing

Understanding modern social media goes a long way to marketing your business. The more you publish and engage on social media sites, the more people see your name. Most businesses, large or small, use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and/or Instagram for marketing products and services. Demonstrate your values and mission there as well. Consumers want more than just a product; they want a company that they trust and believe in.

Another important marketing opportunity is email. Build a list of customer emails and send out weekly or biweekly messages. Make the emails interesting and not just a plea for sales. Give readers tips, interesting facts, and other content that piques their interest. That way, the customer reads the email and also remembers your name.

Next, improve your search engine optimization. Being on the top of the Google results page is the best advertising, and it’s free. People see your name and call on your business. One way to improve your ranking is to post interesting content on blogger sites. Also, check into linking from other websites related to your industry. The more hits on your website, the higher your search engine rank.

Customer Retention

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Image via Flickr by Didriks

Keeping customers happy and returning in the future is the No. 1 priority for businesses offering products and services. Help solve customer problems. By offering a solution and not just selling a product, you show interest beyond a sale. If a customer finds you helpful, they’re more likely to return later.

Make your customers feel important by learning their names. This adds a personal touch and shows that you care. Offer a loyalty discount for returning clients. Even if you spend some money setting this up, loyalty programs keep customers coming and spending. Discounts make them buy more because of the savings on the discounted item. Thank your customers for their business with a personal, handwritten note. This goes a long way toward building repeat business.

Getting New Customers

Never be afraid to ask satisfied customers to refer others to you. During or after a finished job or sale, ask if the customer knows someone else who needs your services. Also, think of new uses for your current products. Look at duct tape and the many uses for that product beyond the original intent.

Participate in local trade shows, as the people attending already have an interest in what you do or sell. Or create a niche market for yourself. Think of being the big fish in a small pond. Although you create a narrowly defined group of customers, you become a specialist people turn to often for advice and products. Or go the opposite direction and expand your products and services, casting a wide net.

Don’t expect immediate results. Growing your business takes time and effort. In the long run, however, it’s necessary for survival.

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