It comes as no surprise that growing a small business is hard.

It’s one of the biggest challenges many entrepreneurs face when they’re trying to break free from the daily “9-5” grind.

Ultimately, the success of your business will all depend on how much effort you put in using different methods.

As much as we want it to, rapid growth doesn’t happen overnight, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

From hiring the right team to marketing, every aspect of your business deserves proper attention.

With that said, here are the top 5 secrets for growing your small business.

1. Attend Networking Events

Both online and offline, there has never been more ways to spread the word about your business and you need to invest time into building your network.

Especially as we’re living in an exciting world full of marketing possibilities.

Like they say, it’s not about what you know, but who you know, and the power of networking events still stand, and always will.

Because, networking gives you the opportunity to build relationships with likeminded people who will have unique perspectives and insights that can help grow your business.

And these connections that you gain from networking events can be beneficial for years to come.

As such give yourself the best possible start to the event by arriving early. This way there will be less people, making it easier for you to integrate and feel at ease.

Remember, you can’t just immediately talk about yourself and your business – instead, gain enough knowledge about the other person to see whether your business interests align.

Then, after the event it’s a good idea to connect with the people you’ve met on LinkedIn so you can stay in touch and benefit from their existing network. 

2. Host Local Events

By hosting your own local event, this is a promotional strategy that involves face-to-face contact between you and your customers, and works particularly well for B2B companies.

Unfortunately, B2B companies have a more difficult time trying to reach their target audience through traditional marketing strategies due to the high level of competition that exists today.

So in order to stand out from all the noise, hosting your own event allows you to speak with your target audience directly and capture their attention.

However, you can’t just throw any random event – you’re there to solve a problem and people are hungry for solutions, not to be sold to.

So, think about what your business specialises in and what you do well. Then, you could host a seminar or masterclass and invite those who would benefit from this information.

Doing so is a great way to increase your brand awareness, as it demonstrates to your community that you’re invested and committed to them, and in turn they will feel more loyal towards your brand.

3. Hire the Right People

No matter what type of business you run, hiring the right employees will contribute to the overall success and growth of your company.

In other words, before you start thinking too much into the future about your business’s growth, you need to have a solid team who will help you achieve your goals.

And the smaller your business is, the bigger impact a new recruit will have.

So, you’ll want to hire someone who can take your vision and execute it in areas you no longer have the capacity to maintain, or where you don’t have the skills to do it yourself.

However, you will need to dedicate the time and energy into finding the right people to avoid any costly mistakes.

As such, understanding what your company needs comes first, so define your mission statement and vision – having a clearer insight into your company’s culture will enable you to narrow down on applicants with a similar mindset.

Next, you will need to craft job descriptions that reflect the duties, level of skills and experience necessary so applicants know what to expect before bringing them on board.

For some, they will ask applicants to complete an assignment to see whether they have what it takes. For example, if you’re looking to hire a content strategist, you could ask them to create a content strategy for a brand to test if they possess the skills required.

Finally, do not just focus on the CV itself. Often, applicants who are perfect on paper are not as good on the job, so really try to get to know them on a personal level during the hiring process.

4. Focus on Customer Experience 

Your customers’ perceptions of your brand can make or break your business.

Afterall, these are the people who will be buying and investing in you, so you need to make a positive, lasting impression.

However, creating great customer experiences is more than just good customer service.

Rather, it’s about getting to know your customers and establish long term relationships so you can provide a personalised experience across their buying journey.

And growth at the beginning really does depend on making new and existing customers happy with their experience, and has been proven to increase retention, satisfaction and revenue.

Generally speaking, there are two types of interactions that make up customer experience:

  1. Direct Interactions: initiated by the customer and includes using your product or service, or speaking to your support teams
  2. Indirect Interactions: when prospects interact with your brand without your direct input, such as social media posts

The great thing is, small businesses are able to quickly adapt and respond to customers needs, which larger corporations cannot, so use this ability to your advantage.

And if you exceed their expectations, they’re more likely to tell their friends, family and social media followers about your business.

On the other hand, if they have a negative experience, they’ll shout about this a lot quicker.

So, try to go the extra mile, i.e. offer discounts if they had a poor customer experience and follow up a few months later to ensure they were happy with their purchase, which will help to establish a good reputation for great customer service.

5. Use Social Media

On average, people spend around 2 and a half hours on social media channels every single day, which provides an incredible opportunity for businesses to build brand awareness, develop customer relationships and even make direct sales.

Consequently, if you do not have any active social media accounts, your customers will, or probably already are choosing your competitors.

Before you get started, understand that not all platforms are created equally and each serves its own purpose.

For many small businesses, the most obvious places to start are:

  • Facebook: great to connect with local community groups, engage and build trust
  • Instagram: a visual medium great for sharing interesting pictures and videos that can build authenticity for your brand
  • LinkedIn: great for networking and building industry reputation

Simply put, the key is to create engaging, valuable content  that your audience wants, and update this regularly. How you do this is your choice, and will require you to get to know your followers as individuals to find new ways you can help them, and create the content they are looking for.

If you’re still not too sure, take a look at what your competitors and brands in similar industries are doing but keep in mind, what works for someone else’s audience may not necessarily work for yours.

And, as social media marketing is constantly changing, it will require some trial and error until you’re able to fully get into the swing of it.

Keep in mind here, you don’t want to worry too much about your follower count – you would rather have 100 followers who are engaged and enthusiastic than 1000 followers who do not interact at all.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, this is your small business and you want it to grow. 

Of course there will be times where opportunities arise that fall outside of your plans. Still, if you set yourself up for success with strategic planning and a great team, you’ll be in a position to take new leaps in a way that feels secure and not risky.

Yes, growth is scary, but if your foundation is strong, you’ll be on the right path to meet your growth objectives.

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

This blog was produced in collaboration with:

Lightbox Manufacturers: DPI (UK) and their illuminated solutions.

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