In a nutshell: Once your business launches, focus on these three areas to make sure you continue to grow.
Becoming an overnight success might sound appealing, but growing your business too quickly can cause major problems.
Common issues include misunderstanding your finances, hiring the wrong people and losing touch with the customer, according to Forbes’ “Watch Out for The Five Hazards of Growing Too Quickly.” Focusing on sustainable growth allows you to continually expand and remain competitive without having to seek outside financing.
These three tips will have you on your way to achieving sustainable growth for your business and becoming a maintainable success.
Attract Repeat Business
Acquiring customers can cost a company five times more than retaining current ones, according to “Leading on the Edge of Chaos: The 10 Critical Elements for Success in Volatile Times” by Emmett and Mark Murphy. By getting customers to come back and make a purchase every time, you’re turning a one-time transaction into repeat business without having to work as hard or paying as much.
To lock in repeat transactions, you must focus on putting customers first. Strive to build personal relationships with them, and make any follow-up personal. While email can be convenient to let customers know what’s happening in your business, it’s a form of mass (not personal) communication. Keep a database of birthdays or anniversaries (whatever may be relevant to your business) and write a personal note for these special occasions. Considering offering a small, creative gift in celebration of these occasions that ties into your business or your customer’s recent purchase.
Build a Powerful Brand
A study from consulting firm Accenture, “Seeing Beyond the Loyalty Illusion: It’s Time You Invest More Wisely,” found that 61% of customers switched some or all of their business from one brand to another in the past year. This is proof that customers are not afraid to head straight to your competitor – and it may not be for much of a reason. So, you must keep them engaged – not only frequenting your business but being a brand ambassador on your behalf.
To do this, start simple. Relationships are key to making your customers feel loyal to you. Build your personal network with family, friends and people in your community (including school, religious groups and other activities you may participate in). Those personal connections will go a long way. And don’t underestimate the power of social media to gain closeness with those outside your personal network. Sprout Social’s “8 Tips to Build Customer Relationships with Social Media” suggests first and foremost that you remain “human” on social media. This is an opportunity to humanize your brand, not just robotically offer company updates. Additionally, be sure you stay active and respond quickly. Consumers like this medium because it’s instant, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to connect.
Especially being a small business, payroll can add up fast. If you don’t need a full-time legal team or web designer on staff, consider hiring freelance workers on an as-needed basis. You can build relationships with these contract workers but only offer them work as you need. They’ll be happy to be your go-to and if you use them for multiple projects, they’ll have a good grip on your operation and how you like their service delivered.
Affordability is a top reason for considering freelance talent, wrote Melania Jongsma on LinkedIn. There is no overhead, and you’re only paying for the individual job at hand. Many people become freelance workers for the flexibility, and while they not only enjoy this for themselves, they’re also flexible working around clients’ schedules. They may work at night or on the weekends, which can help your business with certain tasks, such as updating your website updated during slower traffic times or brainstorming ideas for marketing after you’ve closed up shop. Other benefits include the speed in which the work can be delivered, experience with different clients and autonomy, as freelancers may not need a lot of direction or training.
Starting with these three tips and practicing a little patience, your company will be ready to head down a sustainable growth path that will be maintainable for you and advantageous for your business.