- Set objectives – This step is first for a reason. Essential to stimulating and tracking growth is a set of clear objectives and metrics to measure your progress. For instance, if your website gets 500 views per day but only 5 percent of those hits translate into business. Is that enough? Or do you need more to reach your target revenue. This first step is designed to make you think about where you are now, where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there (thinking in terms of numbers).
- Acquire capital for growth – This is a great way to expand, especiallyinthose early stages. Growth capital presents an opportunity to lock-up a greater market share and capture more clients. “Besides the clear benefit of growth, gaining capital will help create relationships with financial sources, angel investors, and firms which manage large amounts of capital, this could even lead to more investors,” says Larry Walker of NewGate Capital Partners, a group which helps its clients secure capital for growth and development.
- Utilize different types of media – Identify what tools you can use to get your name out there. Potential investors and clients still use Google, Yahoo, and other social media tools to investigate companies they want to buy from or put money into, and the more they see your name the better. Consider using e-mail, email is used by more than 1.5 billion people. If you run a business — especially a small business — this statistic should have huge implications for your marketing strategy. A recent Citibank poll found that of 552 small businesses, 62 percent said word of mouth was still their primary marketing tool to search for new customers. A whopping 81 percent of these companies still don’t use social media and 62 percent don’t use email to promote their businesses. Use everything at your disposal including popular tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and business listing websites such as Businesswire and Cleantech-capital.
- Network – and don’t forget word-of-mouth marketing. “Networking offers another avenue to reach vendors, customers, future business partners… It allows you to reach people in a much more personal way than an advertisement, or promotion can” explains Albert Schuster, president of Network in Philadelphia Business. Having contacts you’re your business all kinds of exposure and a greater array of opportunities to take on clients and customers. Good connections sometimes even become walking references.
- Create a customer experience – If you only satisfy a client, they may look elsewhere for satisfying their needs, and you’ll be one of many. An impressed client will provide repeat business, so go above and beyond. This can be done one of two ways. Through customer service you can work continuously to enhance your customer service, make it a customer experience. It’s a great way to get customers to come back to you over and over. If you do this right, your customers will be happier, they will buy more, and they will become walking referrals. Secondly, “This is a people business,” says Scott Perkins, managing director of NAI James E. Hanson, and the fast-growing firms make sure they have top-notch staff on hand. Fill your roster with good staff, and business growth will follow.
- Upgrade – Get more efficiency out of your office through technology, because working hard is important, but working hard without working smart may be a waste of time. You can make your office more capable through smart phones, wireless tools, different types of software (such as accounting software), or Base-camp, an up and coming web based project collaboration tool providing all kinds of benefits (basecamphq.com). Upgrading your technology can help you get more done in shorter amounts of time.
By Anthony Cipollaro – Winter Park, FL