Every body wants to be their own boss, escape the “cage” of 9-to-5 and be the master of their sail. However, starting, running and most of all growing a business can be quite challenging, and it takes substantial effort to scale through unscathed. Having a business goes beyond having an attractive product or service, it involves dealing with sales and marketing, understanding taxes, interacting with customers and so on, and all these can be overwhelming.
This is not to say that running a successful business is completely impossible, there are helpful steps that when followed, could help you navigate this perilous road to a thriving business.
Note: These steps are not set in stone, but they have been proven to be effective in terms of business growth. Read and share.
1. Prioritize your customers
Customers are probably the most important elements to any successful business. It is important to understand your customer’s needs in order to tailor your products and services to those specific needs. You can gain insight into your customers by personalising your services and encouraging them to provide you with feedback.
Having built strong relationships with your customers, the next step to maintaining those ties is by appreciation, and loyalty program are an effective way of doing that. An attractive loyalty program will not only help retain customers, but will attract more. Don’t be afraid to go all out when it comes to customer satisfaction.
2. Form strategic partnerships.
Network and form strategic partnerships with the right people and organisations. Find companies that complement your own and establish symbiotic partnerships with them. This will allow you to reach a large number of customers quickly.
3. Know your competition.
Researching and understanding your competitions strengths and weakness is very integral to growing your business. It is germane to understand that your product or service is not completely unique and there is always another company offering the same product in the market. Hence, knowing your competition will enable you strategise, create a niche for yourself and get the best out of whatever you are offering.
4. Identify new opportunities.
As the days, weeks, months and years go by, the world is experiencing never-ending change. This means that there is always new opportunities in your industry to explore that could transform your business. Constantly search for, analyse, understand and exploit these opportunities. Understand everything from distribution channels to your direct competitors, opportunities in foreign markets and other industries your business can can expand into.
In order to effectively grow, you need to constantly think about expansion. Diversification will prevent your business from being one dimensional and unexciting. Identify new opportunities within your niche and think of what else can you sell to your clients. Look for what complementary products or services or information you can offer as part of your main product.
6. Build an email list.
While you strive to offer value and maintain a loyal customer base, it is important to keep those customers in the know. Let your customers be aware of new product and services. This can be done effectively through an email list. Let your clients subscribe to your list and send them periodic emails concerning your products.
7. Use social media
No one can understate the power of social media in today’s world. Social media is a powerful tool to promote your business to potential customers as well as gain valuable insight. Through social media, you can build your business profile, find out what customers are saying about you, understand their behaviour as well as what they want, identify keywords and trends that appeal to your target market and so improve your customer service.
8. Expand beyond borders
Don’t be afraid to dream, look beyond where you are and strive you move your business across borders. Think of ways you can take your products and services and scale them internationally. Research what it will take to run an international business, and when the opportunities, don’t be afraid to take it.
9. Give back to your community
Giving to charity, participating in and sponsoring community events in the area where you are located is an effective way to build brand awareness, boost your business profile and reach out to new and potential customers.