SelfInformed

September 2015


7 Fundamentals Of Growing Your Business

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
You’re in business for yourself. And it’s an exciting ride!

You want to prosper and grow your business. Have you ever thought about what steps to take to strategically grow your business?

1. SET GOALS
Write it down. What are your financial goals for the year? The quarter? Break down how you will achieve these goals. How many widgets do you need to sell? Or how many insurance policies do you need to write? Put your goals in a frame in a place where you can see it throughout the day.

The giant sticky note. Our lives revolve around electronic devices, and it’s difficult to have ‘priorities’ consistently displayed. Use the giant post it note as a reminder of weekly and quarterly goals. Having your purpose and your goals constantly in front of you will help you stay focused.

2. REALIZE YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING
In order to achieve your goals, you must delegate. Make a list of things you don’t enjoy, or don’t do well. Keep in mind that your value is in doing what you do well. Hire a bookkeeper, or a graphic designer. Regularly look for talent. There are many websites providing freelance talent, often internationally and at reasonable rates.  A popular site worth checking out is upwork.com.

3. FOCUS ON RETENTION
It cost less to earn more from an existing customer, than to obtain a new one. The US Chamber of Commerce states that the average business loses 50% of their customer base every 5 years. Learn what the attrition rate is for your industry and strive to beat it. Place a high priority on customer service and make sure that your employees do as well. Reward frequent or long-term customers.

4. NETWORK 
Volunteer, join civic organizations, be active on business related social media. Become the ‘expert’ in your field. Offer to speak to organizations. Do you own an auto repair shop? Can you speak for 10 minutes on how to keep your car in tip-top shape? Or, if you own a floral business, speak on upcoming trends in home décor. If your target customer reads blogs, start a blog – and get a college student to write for you (see #2 above).

5. INCREASE YOUR LEAD SOURCES
Try something new. Just because a particular advertising media didn’t work in the past doesn’t mean that it was the fault of the media. It may have been timing, poor frequency, bad creative or a combination of reasons. Reach out to a marketing person in your networking group and get their expert advice. Take calculated risks – but don’t be afraid to try something new.

6. TRACK YOUR CUSTOMERS
Do you know where your customers are coming from? Or, do you just have a ‘gut instinct’? To grow your business you have to know what advertising dollars are generating sales. This is a critical part of growth. If you’re spending $2,500 a month advertising online, do you know how many customers you’re generating from this, versus customer referrals? Devise a tracking plan (if you need help, you can email me at terrie@sunbelt-advertising.com and I will help you) it’s much simpler than you think. Train your employees to ask how the customer found out about you.

7. ASK FOR REFERRALS
This seems too obvious, right? Actually it’s one of the most overlooked ways to grow your business. Just ask. If you have happy customers they will gladly give you referrals. And when you’re asking for that referral, ask if they would be kind enough to write a reference letter for you. Happy clients are your best source of untapped business.

Growth is exciting and possible when you follow a few simple steps.
Terrie Turner is an NASE Expert and is the President of Sunbelt Advertising. Submit your questions to Terrie in the Ask the Experts section of NASE.org.

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