Growing your small business as an entrepreneur can be challenging if you’re not sure where to start. However, once you develop a solid and researched plan to achieve business growth, you can move forward confidently into your specific market.
Here are the 4 essential components you need to grow your small business:
What do you intend to accomplish with your business? What’s your monthly plan? How will you grow your small business annually? How about a financially based five year business plan? What about your exit strategy?
Some of these questions may seem to address topics to far off to effect your daily life, but I promise you they will and they’re important. These are all questions that you should have good answers to if you’re a small business owner or operator. There’s an old saying that goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. That’s certainly true and provides a small amount of comfort if you’re just ‘winging it.’ Because hey, you’re getting to your destination.You just don’t know where it is until you get there. But if you don’t have any clear direction on how to get to the destination, you may run into potholes, dead ends, and road blocks.
However, if you intend to succeed at your small business (and who doesn’t), then it’s essential that you formulate an actionable plan with specific steps to follow.
Without goals, there really isn’t any way for you to tell if you’re succeeding or not. Frankly, if you’re not growing ( i.e: accomplishing or exceeding your goals), then you are dying.
Want proof? The failure of small businesses in America occurs in epidemic proportions. According to research conducted by insurancequotes.com,
Small business failure rate:
Year 1: 20%
Year 2: 34%
Year 5: 50%
Year 10: 70%
The data goes on to show that the top 5 reasons small business fail are:
Revenue Problems: 82%
No Market for the Product: 42%
No Money: 29%
Employment Issues: 23%
Are Outcompeted: 19%
Clearly, something in the small business world is going array. Now I’m not saying all small businesses fail because of their lack of goal planning, but if every small small researched, created, and implemented their goal strategy in the earliest stages of their development, more small business start ups would succeed on a regular basis.
Reach New and Current Customers
Here’s a great way to think about this, Dominate and Radiate! Let’s say you’re pursuing a certain group of customers or a vertical market. Good for you! That’s exactly what you should be doing when your trying to grow. As a small business you have limited time and resources so, use them wisely.
You need to work smarter, not harder. Your small business can’t be all things to all people. So stop trying. You’re not WalMart! Frankly, if you’re going head-to-head with the 900lb Gorilla in your industry, you’re going to lose every time. Dominate the areas and spaces where you can make a difference and concentrate on growing your small business where it makes the most sense for your market.
Get focused on the answer to the following two questions:
- What makes you different?
- Why should your customers care?
When you can answer both of these questions in a concise, compelling fashion, you’ll be well on your way to defining your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)!
The secret to effectively breaking into and dominating a specific market segment is in the message you deliver to your prospects and customers, via the answers to the above questions.
Once you’ve got ’em, keep ’em (customers that is)! What else can you do to provide more value to your existing customers? Don’t know? Ask them! They’ll tell you… now Radiate!
Continue to stay one step ahead of your customers with your product or service offerings, ensuring that you are aware of their needs and that you are addressing those needs with your upgrades, add-ons, product enhancements or companion products. This is what is classically known as cross-selling and up-selling.
Open to Learn
Oldsmobile once ran an advertising campaign with the following message, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile…This is the new generation of Olds.” The objective of the campaign was to get new customers to think differently about the Oldsmobile brand. Namely, that it was a cooler, hipper, and a more sophisticated mode of transportation than the lead-sled their Dad drove.
Unlike the Oldsmobile, internet marketing really is a cooler, hipper, more sophisticated, faster, more efficient, cost effective, interactive, and just way better form of marketing than anything you are doing currently or, have tried in the past. I’m basing that comment on a career’s-worth of empirical data and the success of hundreds of existing small business customers.
You need to keep an open mind when it comes to marketing your business on the internet. There is a lot that is changing about the way we go after new business. As a matter of fact, the only constant on the web is change, and it happens seven times faster online than it does offline! Change can be difficult, whether it’s good or bad.
Frankly, if you are going to remain vital and prosperous in your small business, you don’t have a choice but to get with it on the web. If you don’t, your competition will!
Be honest, if you’ve gotten less than stellar results from the web in the past, it’s probably because you didn’t invest an appropriate amount of time or resources in it. Right? Simply put, you get back what you put out. So, invest wisely in a comprehensive internet marketing plan. But, it’s not going to happen in a vacuum. You’re going to have to plan the work and work the plan, just like everywhere else in your business.
The internet alone will not magically skyrocket your small business into stardom, but it does present the platform to you to connect, research, change, and grow your small business and brand.
And if you’re not sure about how to market yourself online, seek out an internet marketing company that can help you develop a sustainable growth plan! There’s a wide variety of services to choose from, so make sure you do your research first. A good internet marketing company will be with you in every stage of the marketing process and hone in on what you specifically need as a growing small business.
The good news is internet marketing is, without a doubt, the most cost effective means of growing your small business. The web is also the only marketing medium that you can use that is truly objective. By that I mean, the results that you get are track-able and measurable (think analytics). This makes the process of understanding your return on investment (ROI), what you get back for what you spent, that much easier. Internet marketing and growing your small business go hand in hand!