One of the first things you’ll notice as a business owner is that not all tactics and strategies work in your situation.
The second thing you’ll notice is that resources are limited. There are too many things to do and never enough time, energy, or money.
Because of that, the search for the next growth hack is real. This isn’t a growth hacking post that’ll share the latest and greatest hack to increase your revenue by 3,000% in 30 days.
Instead, it’ll share the business growth strategies with a proven track record. The best strategies aren’t the ones in vogue now but fall out of favor in a few months. They don’t even look like hacks. In reality, they’re just good business.
In this post, I’ll dive deep into 4 growth strategies you can use this year, the next, and beyond.
Transparency is the first business growth strategy
Transparency has been thrown around a lot and companies like Buffer and ConvertKit have taken it to the extreme by sharing all of their revenue numbers.
While it may serve to instill confidence in potential customers, it’s doesn’t shed light on what matters. You don’t need to tell people how much money you’re making to be transparent.
Instead, share your philosophy and the way you work as a company.
For example, Basecamp writes an insightful blog that talks about their philosophy around work, culture, product development, and other subjects.
It has parlayed that radical transparency into a multimillion-dollar business that doesn’t reveal revenue numbers.
Another notable example is Buffer. Though it shares their revenue numbers it also shares other aspects of its company and culture. The team has written on everything from the way they raised funding to buy out their investors.
How can you implement it?
Choose a topic or methodology that you can reveal everything about. Are you comfortable telling the world about the strategies you’re using to grow your business? Be sure to share the wins and losses.
Do you champion a different type of workplace culture and want to reveal that to the world? Don’t hesitate, share it but make sure you don’t gloss over the hard parts.
That’s what transparency is about. You share the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Identify a north star metric
One of the biggest problems I see when working with small business owners as a startup founder and a consultant is the lack of focus.
I don’t blame them in the least. There are so many conflicting messages. One person says Facebook is where it’s at but another person built a million dollar business through Pinterest. Which small business growth strategy should you choose?
Instead of focusing on one strategy or one metric, they try to chase them all.
They want to grow their email subscribers, revenue, Facebook fans, and everything in between. This is a mistake.
The fastest way to make decisions in line with your major goal is to select a north star metric.
The term North Star Metric was coined by Sean Ellis and describes a single metric that best describes the core value your product or service delivers to customers.
The more energy you put into growing this metric then the better your business performs as a whole.
Facebook tracks daily active users as the most important metric. Slack would track a metric like messages sent or conversations initiated. The buffer would track a metric like the number of posts shared or scheduled.
The higher these numbers go for them, the better the company performs.
How to implement it
First, identify the most important metric in your business. This is the one that illustrates the value your customers derive from your products or services.
After that, whenever you make a decision, ask whether or not it’ll contribute to growing your north star metric.
Understand and segment your audience
Most of us do research and use it to plot a course and get initial traction. The only problem is that as your business grows, the types of customers you serve also evolves.
They may have different needs and even though your products may be able to meet them, the same message won’t work.
That’s because different people have different wants, needs, values, and goals. If you don’t actively seek out the nuances of your customer segments, your marketing will come off as generic and uninformed
Seek out your customers, talk to them, and understand what they want from your business. In short, what problem are they using you to solve? This is my favorite small business growth strategy because your customers do all the work.
From there, you can divide them into different segments based on criteria that matter to you. Here are a few segments you can group your customers into:
- The problem they’re trying to solve
I’m just scratching the surface because segmentation is a large topic in itself.
Here’s what you can do to implement it
- Send out a survey to your current customers or your best prospects
- Ask them why they chose your product or what problem they wish to solve
- Also ask demographic questions such as age, income, gender, etc.
- After the survey, call a few of the survey takers to probe deeper into their problems
When you’re done with the surveys and calls, tweak your website to appeal to the different segments you discover.
Encourage reviews on major platforms
This is an underrated business growth strategy that truly influences buying decisions.
84% of people who buy products and services online trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. The caveat is that 40% of people are only influenced by reviews which were submitted within the last two weeks.
There are two things to note here.
- Reviews matter
- The more recent they are the better
Your customers are actively searching for reviews because no one wants a bad experience if they can avoid it. Before you start asking for reviews, ensure your business does good work. You don’t want to hustle for reviews and then realize they’re subpar.
How to get reviews
- Create incentives to leave reviews. Don’t go overboard with this step but make sure it’s something your customers will appreciate.
- Ask after they get a win or have had a positive experience. They’ll be more likely to give you a positive review
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews. This shows your customers they’re important and that you’re listening.
- Always be asking. Recent reviews are the most powerful and you’ll need a constant stream of reviews to truly unlock the benefits.
I’ve gone through four business growth strategies that seem simple on the surface but have been proven to work.
I know, there may not be anything on this list that you don’t know on some level. The question is are you using them to their full potential?
More than just business growth strategies, they’re principles you should weave into the fabric of your business. You should have a north start metric at all times, practice transparency, segment your audience, and encourage reviews.
If you’re not doing this already then start right now.
Let me know what you think of the business growth strategies and don’t forget to share.
Hands holding a blackboard with the word planning