Setting up your own business can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming, but even after your business is up and running, the work is far from done. You need to make sure it has the ability to grow.
While some small business owners may be keen to grow their new businesses as quickly as possible, there’s a lot to be said for slow and steady growth. Organic growth is a lot less risky and can still allow your business to attract new customers and develop new products at a pace that works for you.
With that in mind, below are some suggestions of how you could grow your business organically.
1. Invest in your website
We live in a digital age. As a result, your business needs to be able to keep up with the demands of today’s customers, and that means having an accessible, easy-to-use website.
For many would-be customers, your website will be the first experience they have with your business and brand. So it’s worth spending some extra time making sure that your website is the best advertisement possible for your business.
When creating or editing your website, also think about the kinds of data collection or payment tools that you could include. For example, having a database that collects key customer information, or having an online payment system, may prove invaluable for your business.
Another important aspect of your website is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Make sure you’re optimizing the content on your site to get picked up by search engines—the higher you rank in the search results, the more customers you’ll get.
2. Leverage social media
Social media is an affordable way to grow a small business, provided you use it correctly. Firstly, identify which social media platforms your target audience is likely using and then work toward building your business’ presence on that site.
Try to make sure that you don’t bombard your would-be customers with promotional tweets or posts as well. If you keep your content varied, for example by highlighting relevant news stories in your industry that could interest customers, then your business should become known for providing a well-rounded customer experience.
3. Host events to promote your business
Events can be a great way to win over new customers. Although the kind of event that you should host will be dependent on your business, events such as workshops and seminars can help you to reach out to new customers while also bringing in a little bit of extra income for your business.
In addition, hosting events should lead to increased brand awareness and recognition, so they really are a fantastic opportunity to get your name out there.
4. Know your competition
Regardless of what product or service you sell, it’s important that you know who your main competitors are, and what unique selling points they offer.
If your business is to grow and rival your competition, you need to be able to offer your customers something that makes you stand out from the crowd—whether that’s through a unique product, excellent customer service, or an established online presence.
5. Network, network, network
You don’t have to spend hours each day networking in order to grow your business. However, it’s worthwhile taking some time each week to catch up with your industry peers or seeing whether there are any important events coming up that you could attend.
Networking is something that a lot of people avoid because it takes them out of their comfort zone, but it can be really beneficial for your business. This is because it gives you access to potential new customers, investors, and mentors. What’s more, networking can also give you the opportunity to learn tips and tricks from more established business owners.
6. Refer a friend
One of the cheapest and quickest ways of growing your business is to make use of a referral programme. When you offer a customer a discount off their next purchase when a friend they’ve referred makes a first purchase, it’s a powerful incentive. So for very little effort, you can reach even more potential customers who have already heard a good word about your company, which is always a win!
7. Attend industry events
Industry events are another avenue you can use to help grow your business. Even if you only attend these events once or twice a year, they can help you get updates on the state of your industry and meet potential new business partners.
If you’re given the chance to speak at an event then take it—it can be a great way to boost your brand and help position you as an industry expert.
8. Review your sales channels
Any business owner looking to grow organically should look at existing sales channels and identify new ways to sell products or services to customers. For instance, if you don’t sell any of your products or services online, then it may be time to incorporate a sales platform into your website.
Equally, try to review your current product offerings and see whether there are any new products you could release that would attract more customers or be up-sold to your existing ones.
However you decide to expand your sales channels, also take the time to see how your competitors are selling their products. That way, you can make sure that you’re not falling behind the competition.
9. Don’t be afraid to reinvest
Reinvesting the profits from your business can be a sensible way to grow organically. This is because reinvestment can reduce the need for any external investors to provide financial backing, while also giving you more funds to develop key areas of your business.
Where you should spend the extra cash will depend on your unique circumstances and business model, but for ideas, you could invest in additional marketing, staff training, or developing your product line.
10. Build the right team
As your business grows, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to hire additional staff members to help keep up with demand for your products or services.
When the time comes to bring new people on board, try to limit any hiring decisions to one or two employees at a time. This is because hiring too many people in anticipation of growth, or bringing in individuals who don’t gel with each other, will ultimately prove costly when it comes to your business’ payroll and cash flow.
Employing the right people, with the skill sets you need, should help ensure your new employees are committed to your business and are more than up to the task of supporting the business as it expands.
Choose how your business grows
The main thing to remember is that each business is unique. As such, try just a few of the above suggestions out at a time to see which methods work best for you when growing your business.
Lucy Webb is a freelance writer, chartered accountant, and chartered tax adviser, with over four years’ experience within the accounting and taxation sector. She now writes about finance, growth, and accounting issues that impact small businesses. Follow her on Twitter and get in touch via LinkedIn.
The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.