We think there are two types of business owners. There are the ones that set their ambitions on a huge business and do everything they can to grow that business; achieving their aims. For example, Apple, Google, and Amazon owners always saw themselves as running a large business with unlimited growth potential. And, look at Apple. In a few decades, they grew their company from working in a garage to the most valuable business in the world (in terms of market cap). When we talk about small businesses and their contribution as the drivers of the economy, we really mean these kinds of businesses.
Then there are business owners who accepted the fact they’re never going to be as big as Google or Amazon but want their business to support them and their families. We call them lifestyle businesses. Although they don’t make the big splash for the economy the way the other type of business owner does, they’re still an important element in the fabric of Western economies.
Then there is everyone in between who doesn’t really know where their business is heading. So, we’re going to create some common ground and talk about the unlimited business growth you should try creating for your business whether that’s outrageous growth or moderate growth that keeps up with changing times.
Even if you don’t want massive growth, you need some level of growth just to stay in business against rising costs. So, keep reading and we’ll show you some methods to ensure your business continues growing and succeeds.
Securing new business
To ensure your business grows continuously, you need a steady stream of new business deals, which is challenging for most SMEs (small and mid-sized businesses) torn between soliciting new deals and servicing existing customers. That’s especially true if you’re a one-man (or one-woman) shop and you must balance your time between finding new clients and serving the clients you already have to ensure you retain their business.
In the beginning, it’s tempting to let the short-term necessity of meeting customer needs at the expense of finding new customers. Plus, you must sleep, eat, and spend time with family and friends. If you can’t afford to hire someone for either of these functions, consider enforcing a schedule that forces you to spend some time every week on gaining new customers.
Another option involves branching into related business opportunities. For instance, a restaurant might branch into catering or a financial advisor might begin offering real-estate investment opportunities.
So many of the large brands you know and love with have side businesses following this recommendation. These new opportunities mean they secure revenue from more than one narrow niche. Not only does this create new opportunities for unlimited business growth but insulates the business from stressors within a single niche. Thus, during the pandemic, restaurants with robust take-out opportunities survived while those who could only offer indoor dining suffered through the shutdown.
To take advantage of either of these opportunities for new business opportunities, look into firms such as business tenders. Tenders are a way to find new business contracts, whether they exist in a new field or not. The tender is a project or contract that both parties agree on. If you’re struggling for a new avenue to unlimited business growth, this might be the perfect one.
Push your marketing further
Marketing is one of the greatest tools a business possesses, but we know that some small businesses don’t know how to use the power of marketing to achieve optimal performance due to limited resources of time, talent, and money.
Marketing is one of the more expensive elements of your administrative budget, often accounting for 10% or more of sales, although that figure varies greatly by industry [see the graph below based on a survey of CMOs by Deloitte].
To push your marketing further, you must understand the different techniques in great detail then fit them together into an integrated marketing strategy.
The more you know about tactics and cutting-edge best practices, the easier it’s going to be for you to invest your money wisely to achieve lift — or improved market performance.
Increasingly, digital marketing tactics are used by firms big and small, although their relative cost makes these tactics especially valuable for smaller firms. Both online and offline marketing require a host of skills, some very technical while others are more easily mastered. Hiring a professional or an agency helps improve the return of your advertising and ensures your results better fit your goals.
Set SMART goals
Specific goals refer to objective goals such as increasing sales, reducing costs, improving reach, etc. Goals that aren’t specific, such as doing better or increasing profits, don’t offer effective guidance in determining action.
Measurable goals are quantified. Hence, rather than just stating a specific goal to increase sales, you set a measurable goal of increasing sales by 10%. Measurable goals always result in a yes/no when it comes to evaluating your performance against the goal after the end of the campaign.
Actionable goals refer to goals over actions you control, such as sales. Sure, sales come from customers but your actions impact how receptive customers are toward buying your products. Hence, you exert control over sales even if you don’t ultimately control your exact returns. Non-actionable goals reflect aspects over which you have no control, such as supplier actions. An example of a non-actionable goal is having a supplier launch a new product.
A realistic goal is attainable. Just like Goldilocks and her porridge, you want goals that are just right; neither too challenging (which encourages you to give up) nor too easy (which results in suboptimal performance).
You want your goals bounded by a specific time period, such as the next 30 days, next quarter, next year. Putting everything together, you might state your goal as:
To achieve a 10% increase (specific & measurable) in sales of product X (actionable) within the next year (time).
These are just a few of the many options available to achieve unlimited business growth. Over time, rinse and repeat these options while considering additional opportunities for business growth.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.