Tools and strategies for business growth

How to grow your business – the tools and strategies

Many companies had no choice but to reinvent themselves in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the rapidly changing economic climate, and shifts in consumer behaviours. Not all businesses managed to do it successfully, but for some this time to refocus has taken their business and profit to a whole new level. 

Successfully growing your business requires planning, resources, and a good amount of grit. If you see opportunities to grow your business, keep in mind that you will face a whole new set of challenges. Unless you navigate those carefully, it can take its toll. Growth is an important goal for any new or small business looking to gain traction, but growing too fast can leave you in the middle of a minefield.

Although there’s no formula for success, you can boost your business's growth with the right strategies and mindset. All business owners face pitfalls and growing pains when scaling, no matter how focused, strategic and well-intentioned their approach is. If you want to turn your small business into a profit-generating powerhouse, these tools and strategies that can help you do it:

Know your USP

No matter if you’re a sole trader, an e-commerce business or a start-up, it’s crucial to determine the unique selling proposition (USP) of your business. If you don’t know what makes you different from or better than your competition, you could easily get lost in the crowd.

The concept of the USP was introduced by Rosser Reeves of the Ted Bates advertising agency back in the 1940s. According to him, a USP gives marketing campaigns an extra jolt and makes customers notice you and connect with your brand and product.

Look for things that make your products or services stand out from the rest, and make sure it is something you can deliver on. It’s even better if your uniqueness fills a gap in the market and something that your direct competitors can’t imitate.  

Here's how you can write yours:

  1. Make a list of all the potential unique features of your brand and what you sell.
  2. Research the competition and look at their USPs.
  3. Mirror your most unique angles against your audience's needs.
  4. Compile the data and sift through it to find your strongest USP.
  5. Determine the most viable ways to apply it across your business.

You can translate it into a positioning statement that looks like this:

[YOUR BRAND] offers [PRODUCT/SERVICE] for [TARGET MARKET] to [VALUE PROPOSITION]. Unlike [THE ALTERNATIVE], we [KEY DIFFERENTIATOR].

Keep your focus on that competitive edge, measure what works well, and improve your approach as you go and grow.

Know and focus on your ideal customer

Too often, businesses make the mistake of promoting their products and services to everyone, failing to look closely at their target audience. If you focus too much on what you are selling and forget to think about who you are selling it to, you’re making a classic mistake.

Unless you have a massive marketing budget, there’s no way you can serve everyone. Before you can sell anything effectively, you need to know:

  1. Who your ideal customers are
  2. Where they’re hanging out online
  3. What their challenges and pain points are

To grow your business and find new customers, you need to step up your marketing efforts. To do that successfully, you will need to identify your ideal customers based on their age, location, gender, earning levels, and other characteristics.

Create a customer avatar if that helps you get to know your ideal client better. An avatar focuses on one person and outlines everything about them. The avatar is a fictional figure or personalised graphical illustration that focuses on one person and outlines everything about them.

It’s possible to have more than one avatar when thinking of your ideal customers, and you can sort them into buyer groups to get more clarity. Depending on your business or the nature of your brand, you could have one or multiple avatars. There’s no magic number.

Read more about creating an ideal customer profile here or or to help you get started, here’s a free handy avatar template from keap.com

Then there’s the importance of finding the right balance between nurturing existing customers and finding new ones. Getting new customers isn't the only way to grow your business. Customers who have already purchased from you once are more likely to do so again, especially if they’ve had a positive experience. Reconnect with them, recapture their attention, offer them something they will love, and don’t hesitate to ask them for referrals.

Develop or refine your strategic plan

Growing your business means making a whole lot of new decisions. Creating a strategic plan, or refining the one you already have in place, is a key component of planning for growth. It will help you prepare a realistic vision for the future of your business, and when done right, it can help maximise your business' potential.

Strategic planning involves stepping back from your day-to-day operations and asking yourself where your business is heading and its priorities. Spending time identifying where you want to take your business and what’s required to get there should help you reduce and manage the risks. As a starting point, you need to ask yourself these three questions:

Where is your business now?

Look at all the aspects of your business. Consider how it operates internally. What drives its profitability? And how it compares to the competition. Be as realistic, detached and critical as possible.

Where do you want to take it?

Set out your top-level objectives and work out your vision, mission, objectives, values, and goals. What do you want the focus of your business to be, and how will you keep your competitive advantage? This step is the foundation for your strategic growth plan.

What do you need to do to get there?

What changes will you need to make to make it happen, and what’s the best way to implement them? Set (financial) goals and deadlines, considering diversification, existing growth, acquisition plans, systems, resources and functional matters.

Reinvest in your brand and systems

If your business is in growth mode or when things have significantly changed, you should look at the efficiency of your systems and processes. Getting bigger means that you need to get more organised. Process automation and smart IT solutions allow businesses to stay afloat and protected in the ever-changing digital world, and our team is here to help if you need more flexible and effective systems.

Now could also be the right time for a brand refresh or a complete rebrand if your business is evolving.  Your brand should demonstrate your unique voice and reflect where you stand in the market. We dare to say that nothing is quite as critical to the success of your business as your brand identity.

The concept of a brand extends far beyond just your company logo to your business’ core values and to every interaction you have with customers, suppliers, and internally. As your brand should encompass most business areas, from stationery to how you deliver your product or service to customers, consistency is vital.

Taking the time to invest in your brand can bring tangible positive results to your bottom line. Strong brands attract more customers who are willing to pay more and will buy more often. If your brand looks outdated or if you’re embarrassed to hand out your business card or website address, talk to a brand strategist.

Click here to find out how to let your brand shine online in 5 easy steps.

Build your tribe

It can be lonely at the top, and research from Business Mentors NZ found that 80% of business owners have felt a sense of isolation. That’s why it is useful to surround yourself with people who motivate you, support you, and help you achieve your goals faster.

If your business is growing and the earnings are looking good, it could be the right time to get some extra help. As your business grows, you will conclude that it’s impossible to manage the workload all by yourself.

If you’re thinking about hiring staff or engaging contractors, you must first make sure there’s enough revenue to put back into the business. Take a good look at what kind of skills your business needs to expand or diversify, what resources you need to make it happen, and how much responsibility you’re willing to delegate.

To hire the best people, you need to know what your company needs. Then you need to carefully select from all potential candidates and choose those that are a great fit on all levels, from skillset to alignment with your company culture and values.

To further connect with others you could attend events, meet-ups, tradeshows and conferences, or join relevant Facebook groups and get more active on Instagram or LinkedIn. Working with a good coach or business mentor can also help as they’ll provide you with more tools to manage growth and can keep you on track while moving forward.

The growth mindset

Business owners with a growth mindset see an opportunity in every challenge. It’s like Heraclitus said a few centuries ago; the only constant in life (and business) is change. The key to growing your business is to keep focused with the right mindset and growth strategies.

The term “growth mindset” was identified by Dr. Carol Dweck, who found that everyone holds ideas about their own potential. She said, “the growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every way in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

Find more about the Growth Mindset on Psychology Today

Step out of your comfort zone, don’t hesitate to take calculated risks that will move your business forward, and reach out for what you want without fear. Some days will be challenging, and there will be moments that you’ll wonder if it’s all worth the struggle. That’s when you stick to your guns and stay laser focussed on your goals.

How can we help?

We are much more than just another software development company or digital marketing provider. Our team enjoys nothing more than building on growth opportunities that exist within our clients’ businesses and we’re here to support you every step of the way. If you’d like to discuss your plans and explore the possibilities to take your business to the next level, let’s start with a 30-minute catch up over coffee.

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