Growing a start-up or small business quickly isn’t always easy, and can often feel disheartening when you see other businesses grow, scale and succeed when it feels as though you’re not managing it yourself.
Rapid growth, however, doesn’t happen overnight and is often like an iceberg, where all the hard work happens behind the scenes! In this article, we explore the 7 secrets that will allow you to grow your business at scale and speed.
Understand and nurture your customers
Truly understanding your customer is something many of our current industry giants do extremely well. Beyond the basics of buyer personas, demographics, hobbies and interests, successful businesses often have an in-depth understanding of the wants, needs and motives of their customers. Beyond possessing this depth of knowledge, they implement it at the heart of their marketing, sales and communications efforts. By gathering and utilising customer insights, you can shape your messaging, develop new products and refine your communications, using the in-depth understanding of your customer to understand and create an offering they really want.
Keep an eye on your competitors
When aiming for rapid expansion, competitor analysis should be an integral part of your growth strategy. While it’s important to be on top of your figures internally, a successful competitor analysis effort allows you to discover industry best practices, replicate the successes of your competitors and to exploit any opportunities or gaps they don’t currently fill. This comes into play for decisions such as pricing structures, product offerings and options, profit margins and even customer acquisition channels. A great place to start with competitor analysis is by creating a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) chart to understand how you stack up against your competitors.
Use social media
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses, and can be used in a variety of ways that will contribute to your growth and success. A successful organic social media strategy will help you engage with your customers, showcase your product or service and even gather insights via social listening – helping you to gauge what your customers and prospects say about you online.
It’s important to remember that there really is a social media platform for every product! Choose one to two channels to focus on based on your buyer personas, and create engaging and topical content that addresses their wants and needs. A successful social media strategy will help boost your brand awareness while adding credibility and personality to your business.
Outside of organic social media, PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing is available on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and even Reddit! With a wide range of targeting options, it’s possible to get your product or service in front of thousands of people who match your buyer persona. Some channels are more cost-effective and successful than others, but with CPC (Cost Per Click) starting at just £0.10, social media advertising is a proven way of generating brand awareness, leads and conversions.
Consider additional streams of revenue
In the age of technology, no man (or woman) is an island. There’s an abundance of additional opportunities for businesses to create multiple income streams, rather than sticking to one source of revenue. Taking it one step further, consider passive income streams – with an upfront time investment leading to regular passive earnings.
Some ideas of passive income streams for businesses include:
- Writing and publishing an e-book on your topic of expertise
- Creating online courses, learning or how-to guides
- Creating white papers using customer insights or research
- Adding Google AdSense to your website, charging others to use the advertising ‘real estate’ on your website
- Starting a podcast or YouTube channel to promote your business
While all of these options may take a little while to generate revenue in the short-term, huge gains can be made in the medium to long term with passive income streams.
Create partnerships and diversify
Generating partnerships is a great method of expanding your business quickly. By looking at other successful businesses in your industry, there should be opportunities to partner up with others to cross-sell or up-sell each of your products and services. This is mutually beneficial, because both businesses then have access to a wider range of clients and prospects, giving regular opportunities for commissions and additional revenue streams.
If you’re considering diversifying your product range, the quickest way of doing this is by negotiating partnerships or creating reselling opportunities. Oftentimes, people prefer to get their services from one trusted point of contact rather than multiple providers, so diversifying your product range can also lead to longer-lasting and more profitable relationships with your clients and customers. Remember that it can be up to five times more expensive to acquire new customers than retain the ones you already have, and offering a wider range of services makes your business relationship more valuable and harder to replace.
Build (and use) an email list
Essential for businesses of all sizes, an email list is often the golden ticket for marketing and sales, and most often the marketing channel that delivers the best ROI (Return On Investment). You can grow your email list in the short term by creating a short landing page and offering a free gift in exchange for email addresses – for example, a guide, workbook, white paper or even a physical gift. Make sure to include an opt-in form so that you adhere to GDPR laws.
If you have some budget to put behind creating an email list, you can promote your offer using social media ads on Facebook or Instagram to reach your key demographics.
Be sure to nurture your list once you have it – don’t bombard them with emails, and try to add value whenever you do get in touch. Some good reasons to email your list include:
- Seasonal events (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and so on)
- Big product/service updates
- Special offers, discounts and promo codes
Don’t forget to segment your email list into current customers, prospects and ex-customers, to save any miscommunication or crossed wires between lists.
Use your data
Finally, use your data. Whether it’s an email list, Google Analytics or a client list written on a piece of paper, you will have a wealth of data from your previous customers and clients. Consider creating a survey to understand why they chose to do business with you, and what things in particular they liked about your product to gain valuable insights.
Once you have these insights and your buyer personas confirmed by the data, continue to leverage this information by using it to inform your marketing, sales and communications plans – this will allow you to scale your business with less resources spent on advertising and outreach to the wrong people.
By using a combination of these tried-and-tested methods, growing and scaling your business quickly can be achieved. Remember to start by getting to grips with your customer data and competitor analysis, as this will form the foundations of scaling your business at speed.