Small businesses vary widely in their capacity for growth.
This is considering that they have different organisational structures and varied management styles.
Yet on closer scrutiny, it becomes apparent that they experience common problems.
Elvis Mvoi, the host of iSpeakAfricaChat and a marketing consultant, advises small businesses through the crucial developmental stages. He gives tips on how such businesses can accelerate growth.
Hire the right people
You need solid staff to help you achieve your goals. It’s not enough to get the most qualified candidates. They also need to be aligned with your company mission to help you go the mile.
Once you have the right team, and they perform well, be sure to reward them. Encourage your team to take calculated risks. Some of them will pan out, some of them won’t. But as long as you try out a lot of opportunities for revenue-generating innovation, you will grow.
Additionally, having a team you can trust can allow you the chance to delegate. Invest in training others to do work you don’t have time for, or that someone else is better suited. In the end, you will have more time and energy to focus on how to further grow your business.
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Be part of the social media conversation
Companies that do not have active social media accounts risk missing out on numerous marketing opportunities. If you are one of the few businesses yet to join social media, you are missing out on a huge competitive advantage. For one, social media enables you to interact directly with prospective clients. Going through the tweets and Facebook updates that are posted by your customer base gives you insight into what they need.
If done correctly, you will increase traffic and it may serve as a part of your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy. Businesses need to work on their social skills and what platforms they pick for their marketing. Not all social media sites are created equal. Facebook is best for selling directly to customers, while Twitter is best for creating awareness of your product and telling your brand story. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is best for offering expertise like coaching. Pick the site to use based on what you want to sell.
Form strategic partnerships
Strategic partnerships can elevate your efforts to boost your growth in business. Partnerships could be in the form of sponsorships, co-branded products or exclusive deals. Assuming you are a business that sells hair extensions or wigs. Partnering with a hair salon will help you access new customers as the other business has an already established customer base. You may also collaborate on a new product or offer a deal for the customers furthering both your businesses.
One of my favourite quotes is “the biggest mistake small businesses make is to think like a small business.” Just because you are not at the level of corporations does not mean you should not think big. The first step is to do it right from the beginning. Do your research, listen to people who have experience and have done it already. Then, spend the time and money to do it right. Businesses that don’t think they are big enough feel like they have little to lose and take too many things like customer satisfaction lightly.
Attend networking events
In life, as in business, it’s not what you know but who you know. Networking is a great way to build beneficial relationships and partnerships and encourage them to refer customers to you through word of mouth. Networking doesn’t come easy, especially for those of an introverted stripe. If the idea of introducing yourself in a room full of strangers sounds daunting, you can control the experience. Plan before the event by looking up the attendees on LinkedIn. That way, you find common ground and think of what to offer to synergise with your business. During the event, arrive early to get time to relax. Don’t rush to give your elevator pitch. Focus on keeping it light and building relationships. Hopefully, you click with someone, do not spend too much time on that one person. Gain enough knowledge to know whether your business interests align, take their details and move on.
Avoid contests and giveaways
This is a murky area as many people have found tremendous success in giveaways. The secret sauce is in execution. First, you need to have a well-defined goal. Do you want followers or do you want to leverage the growth of your email list? Secondly, what will you be giving away? An entire collection? Money? Lastly, will you partner with influencers or do it alone. What makes giveaways less effective as a marketing strategy is when you do too many. Some clients only come to your site for promotions. Think, for instance, this popular pizza place that offers a half-off giveaway on a particular day. While it attracted new customers at first, two years down the line people only go there on the particular day the offer is available. This means fewer people are buying pizza every day. The key is to change tact every so often. Do giveaways, contests or offers on holidays or festive seasons so that they become valuable. Use this time to sell out-of-season or low-traffic items to get ready for new stock.