Most entrepreneurs aspire to see a steady growth for their businesses over the years. While this is a worthy goal, it’s sometimes more challenging to actually execute, given that you’re usually too busy focused on the doing in your business to work on growth strategy. Either that or every option you see means shelling out more money that you don’t have. Wondering how to make your business bigger?
These 8 tips require little financial outlay, and will help you grow your business incrementally.
#1. Find One New Channel for Sales Each Month.
Rather than bombard yourself by setting a goal of 10 new channels right now, you’ll find more success spreading your efforts out. A new sales channel could be a freelance site like Upwork if you sell services or a new networking group that meets weekly.
By easing into these new channels, which have the potential to help your bottom line increase, you can put all your efforts into nurturing one at a time. If, for example, you’re attending new networking mixers this month, you can spend time getting to know other members and really focusing on the value this group delivers. Next month, when you add another channel, you can continue with the networking, but with a little less intense effort because you’ve already laid the groundwork for nurturing new relationships.
#2. Hire One Part-Time Employee.
I’m big on delegating work so that you can do more related to strategy and growth. But it can be intimidating — not to mention expensive — to hire full-time employees. Chances are you don’t even need a full-time employee just yet. Start with part-time help for the tasks you struggle with the most. That might be accounting or marketing.
But don’t just offload your work and then fill up that space with busywork. Strategize about what you’ll spend that newly-found time doing, and put the focus on growing your business.
#3. Follow 10 More People on Social Media a Week.
It sounds tiny but just think: if you make an effort to follow 10 more people on each social media channel you frequent, that’s 520 additional people you’ve connected with online at year’s end. Over time, you’ll see more follow you back and more people sharing your content and interacting with you on social media. And presumably you’re putting some effort into doing this already, so adding 10 more will amp up your efforts. If you’re not already following people weekly, start with 50 a week.
Not sure who to follow? Look for people using hashtags that relate to your industry to start. Also, follow people who share your content or mention your brand. And while you should follow many of the people who follow you, do so with a grain of salt because many may be trying to boost their own numbers and won’t really care about your brand. Read their profiles to see if they fit your target market.
#4. Invest in One New Software Tool a Quarter.
It’s a fact: investing in the right tools can help you grow your business. But do so judiciously. I suggest software tools like customer relationship management, email marketing, and social media dashboards to make your work easier and help you sell more. Again, mete out your efforts. Sign up for one new tool a quarter to give yourself and your team time to incorporate it and leverage the benefits each provides. In three months, you should have a handle on that tool and be ready for a new one. You can find software geared toward small businesses starting at $10 a month (and some are even free), which is budget-friendly.
#5. Raise Your Prices.
What more rewarding way is there to make your business bigger than getting paid more for the same work or product? Spend some time assessing your competitors to see what they charge, and consider your pricing strategy carefully. You might only raise prices for new customers at first, then slightly raise them for existing customers every year. For existing customers, give them ample warning so that they don’t feel you’ve pulled the rug out from under them. In that case, they’ll just go elsewhere for similar products or services. But if you let them know that next month or quarter, prices will go up to $X, they should feel comfortable with that announcement.
#6. Take Your Home Office Seriously.
If you work from home, consider how professional your home office is. Certainly, not everyone has space to dedicate an entire room to a home office, but if your desk is shoved in a closet with the winter coats, it may be time to consider other options. Having a dedicated space for your office — and essentially, your business — sends the message to yourself and others that you take it seriously.
If space is at a premium in your home, consider these options:
- Sharing the guest room with your office space
- Converting the garage
- Putting an insulated shed in the backyard
- Renting coworking office space in town
#7. Stop Working Weekends.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people work on the weekends. I firmly put my foot down about this years ago and am glad I’ve stuck to my guns. Establishing boundaries for when you work tells clients that you’re not so desperate for money that you’re willing to be at their beck and call. And hey, it gives you some distance from your business, which means you come back on Monday morning refreshed and full of ideas.
Make it clear what your office hours are, and don’t take calls on your office phone (or don’t answer your cell if you know it’s a client) after hours.
#8. Constantly Assess Goals.
You already know I love setting New Year’s Resolutions in January. But don’t let that be the only time you think about your business goals. You should be looking at them at least once a quarter to ensure that what you’re doing aligns with achieving those objectives in the time frame you set. And don’t be afraid to change them. As you grow, your business may pivot or change direction entirely. Your goals should reflect that.
Growing your business isn’t about the giant leaps you take, but rather the small steps. Keep stepping in the right direction with these tips and before you know it, your business will blossom.
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