Set Up For Success

Setting up a business is the fun part, helping it become a living, growing entity is another matter entirely.

Whether you work from a physical shop store, trade online or sell via your website, at some point you have to factor growth into your business calculations for the future. To stay the same size, with the same turnover and the same profit margins is not only missing out on extra income, it could actively harm your business and your reputation.

Don’t get left behind, dare to start thinking big and putting into place a few strategies that will see you soaring as your brand, your reputation and your profits benefit from a boost in business.

We look at seven strategies you can put in place to achieve maximum growth and what you need to do to cope with success.

  1. Get To Know Your Customer

Well, really well. This knowledge leads in to basically every other strategy you come up with from marketing to social media. Without an idea of who it is you’re aiming your products at, you’re going to come up short time and time again.

Instead, and it can be worth spending money on this, do some market research. Create an avatar of your ideal customer. Round him or her out with a name, age, profession, marital and family status, where they hang out on social media, favourite bar and so on. Once you’ve got to know your customer’s favoured way of communicating, shopping and so on then and only then will you be in the very best position to sell to them.

As stated this kind of research can be done in-house but if you have neither the staff nor the know-how then consider it an investment worth spending out on.

  1. Define Clear Goals

Once you know who you’re talking to, you need to figure out what you want them to do and the impact that will eventually have on your business. If you’re just looking to raise some brand awareness among your key demographic, then set some specific targets linked to your website.

If you’re going straight for sales, by how much of a percentage do you want to see in increased revenue? Be as specific as you can and don’t forget that you’ll also need to define a time frame for this to take place in. Without one, you run the risk of losing momentum and losing sight of the goal. Once either of those motivating factors disappears, it can be hard to get them back.

  1. Consider Investment

There comes a point in the lives of most businesses where you’re going to have to consider whether an injection of cash is going to be a sound investment for future growth. It might be that you’ve done all the research and paying out for that website plug-in or round of social media advertising really is worthwhile.

If that’s the case and you want to invest some capital, then there are several options. You could plough your own money into the business or consider short term business loans. With the latter of these options, you’ll have to pay back interest so the trick is to work out if what you get back in profit is greater than the loan, plus interest. If that’s the case then shop around for the best deal and preferably one with as low an interest rate as possible.

  1. Figure Out Your USP

You’re bound to have competition in whatever area your business lies in, so to create advertising and marketing materials that really hit home, work out what makes you so different from the competition and why.

Quite possibly it’s the added value your product gives. For example, if you sell jewellery, you might also repair and value it or even hold jewellery workshops. Anything that stands you out from a crowded marketplace, is well worth promoting. If you’re really stuck for an idea, consider how you might create some added value in a relatively short time with some smart ideas.

At the same time, do have a really good look at what your competition are up to and if there are any weak points you can leverage to your business advantage.

  1. Draw Up Your Battlelines

Which, in this case, we mean your killer marketing strategy. If you want to experience growth in your sector, whether more hits on your website or increased sales, then you’re going to have to get your name and brand out there more and more.

If you’ve got tip #1 nailed then this is more of a straightforward process. Quite simply, you need to bring your product to the people, your ideal customers. Use marketing that speaks to them about where they are in life, what they’re looking for and through the platforms they use.

If they’re Instagram users, you’re going to need some striking images to go with your post or advert. Twitter users? Smart, on topic and acerbic. Facebook? Possibly a little bit of both but certainly with a strong visual pull to guide them to your website.

  1. Hire Quality

Whether that’s for some help setting up the tech side of your business, providing some accounting advice or physically working for you on a shop floor, make your staff your best investment.

Don’t be afraid to spread your net far and wide, keeping an open mind but never making a second rate hire. Your staff carries your brand with them, find employees who are as passionate about your business as you are, acting as ambassadors for your business and creating an amazing customer experience.

  1. Prepare For Success

It happens, you’re so focused on growing your business, creating goals and investing time and money into it all that when success does come your way, you’re totally unprepared.

Too much growth might sound like something of a luxury but if you’re out of control, then both your brand and your reputation are going to suffer. Preparing to do well is more than just deciding to take on some more staff if you get busy, it’s working out how you’re going to fulfill orders, where you’ll store extra stock and working out if your current systems can cope with more.

These systems might include your payment processes, are you fully ready to process more payments or do you need to revamp how people can pay and how it’s run through your database.

You’ll need to consider shipping and if a rise in orders might mean you need to strike a new deal with your current logistics provider.

And how about your website, if you’re on a free or a self-hosting platform, you might find it groaning under the weight of hundreds more hits. All these things need to be taken into account.

Whatever size your business, however you see the future panning out there’s no harm at all in getting some advice and support on how to plan for growth and success.

A thriving growing business is a brave and bold thing to aim for, but without it how will you know how far you can go? By investing some time and potentially a little money in exploring your audience and figuring out how to sell to their needs you stand an excellent chance of becoming not just a business owner but a successful business owner. So dig deep and be prepared to take a leap of faith that might take you places you’d never dreamed of.

 

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