Getting a business off the ground is no easy feat. And once you’re operational, there’s still plenty of work to do. Your responsibilities shift to making sure your business can grow at a healthy, sustainable pace.
Easier said than done, right? With smart decisions, you can build a lasting foundation to carry your business through the inevitable ups and downs of commerce. Here’s how.
If you haven’t already, create a business plan to guide you forward. If you wrote one before launch, it might be time to revamp it based on what you’ve learned so far.
A business plan is a roadmap to success, including a dive into your business’ financial, marketing and operational details. It’s also important if you are trying to attract investors. Most will want to review your business plan to determine whether or not they want to partner.
Launching a start-up often means being pulled in too many directions to count. That doesn’t stop when you’re trying to set your business on a path to stable growth.
It’s essential not to spread yourself thin going after multiple opportunities. Instead, choose one or two objectives – especially ones that bring cash in – and devote your energies to them.
Find ways to do more business with the customers you already have. While landing new clients is important, too, it’s easier to deepen relationships with existing customers.
Excellent customer service should be a given. Then find a way to add value in new ways by upselling products or services. Become a true partner to your customers and they will keep be loyal.
You might have the best product or service in the world, but people won’t buy if they haven’t heard of it. Use multiple approaches to get the word out, including your website, social media, email marketing and search engine optimization.
Take advantage of diverse advertising methods such as pay-per-click or keyword ads. Also, seek traditional formats like print and radio advertising if you are a local business.
Strategic alliances can be a win-win for businesses. When businesses team up, it’s a mutually beneficial way for both entities to grow.
Consider partnering on specific events like a trade show where you both showcase your skills and experience. Or work together long-term to jointly market your services and capabilities. You’ll have a new spectrum of potential customers and a broader world of business opportunities.
Capital is the lifeblood of any business. Finding a source of financing can give you the bandwidth to take your business to the next level. Whether you approach friends and family, investors or financial institutions, the Small Business Administration recommends making a business case for why you need funding.
Spell out how you would use the money and how you will prevent waste. Also include financial information about your business including revenue, expenses and profit.1
People tend to trust the people they know. Tap into this inclination by encouraging existing customers to vouch for you and to help spread the word about your offerings. According to Fundera, referred customers generally convert to sales more often, have a higher lifetime value and retention rate, and are cheaper to acquire.2
Consider a customer referral program that rewards existing customers for their efforts, such as discounts or free services.
By using these business growth tools, your business will have more pep in its step for making the transition from start-up to success.