How to Grow a Business in Inland Southern California
Small Business Assistance Tool
Use this helpful online tool to find assistance for starting, growing and accelerating your business.
Are You Ready to Grow a Business?
Before you undertake an expansion, run a readiness checklist.
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Grow Your Business
1. Building a Loyal Customer Base
Surely you’ve heard the common business saying that it’s five times costlier to recruit a new customer than retain a current customer. Think about all you do to get a new customer to walk in the door, sign a contract, or place an order. Once you appreciate the true cost of advertising, salespeople, and networking to get a new customer, you’ll realize the importance of investing in ways to get that customer to stick around.
Sometimes all it takes to seal the customer relationship is a genuine, personal expression of appreciation for their business. If your customer is loyal enough to you and your business, they’ll refer others that are looking for similar service or product. A sincere thanks goes a long way. Regular customers like to be recognized for being loyal. If it makes sense for your business, start a database of your best customers, and offer them special deals such as early bird access to a sale. Building a loyal customer base means investing the time to build relationships with the people who’ll support you while you grow your business.
2. Create New Opportunities for Your Business
If you’ve been operating your business for a while, you may feel like things are going okay, but not great. Your original marketing strategy to your target customer and what to offer may have worked well when you first started, but let’s face it; the world is a different place now. What worked in the past, may not be delivering the same results now. It’s time to take a fresh look at your business plan and come up with new, fresh ideas but where do you start? Maybe your first step might be to “take a break.” Getting a change of scenery may be all you need to get your creative juices flowing. Here are some other ideas to freshen up your business approach and spark business growth.
3. Maximize Your Website, Social Media, And Networking to Drive Sales
It’s hard to imagine a business today not having a website. Customers go to the web to find what you are selling. The challenge is driving prospects to your site. Ways to generate traffic could include expanding your networking and public relations activities. Meeting with professional associations where your customers congregate, then networking, writing, and making presentations as an expert, and using social media to build relationships, are all ways to help you and your business stand out with a new target market. Most businesses find you need to coordinate your social media, website posts and networking so your prospects remember and contact you when they’re ready to buy.
4. Working Smarter: Streamlining Your Business Operations
Anyone who thinks being self-employed means kicking back, has no idea. Most business owners work longer hours than they ever did working for someone else. You can get so tied up handling all the details of the business, it’s hard to determine what is a priority. Once your business is up and running, it’s time to analyze what you love doing, and what you’re good at, and then take a look at what can be done differently so you can devote more time to doing those things you love.
Is it time to hire or contract out some of what you do? Can you invest in a computer platform that can handle automatically what you’re doing by hand? The time to train someone or learn a software program is a small investment for the long run if it frees you to have the time for the important work necessary for business growth.
5. Managing People
If you’ve been running a business on your own for a while, it’s understandable you may be reluctant to let go of the reins and hire someone. The rules for hiring, payroll, and safety can be daunting, but they are readily available to anyone who needs to know. What might take some thought and perhaps training, or counseling is developing effective management skills. If you’ve managed people in the past, you have a head start over most people running their own businesses with no employees. Of course, communication is key, as is knowing your employees and knowing the means it takes to motivate them. A big challenge for new business owners is often taking what you’ve learned about running a business and creating procedures to guide employee training. Every employee wants the chance to do a good job and a clear job description and expectation for performance helps make that happen. Take the time to prepare for your first hire and seek help with improving your management skills.
6. Increasing Sales for Small Businesses
Most likely, your marketing plan needs an update as you may not be seeing the business growth and sales you were expecting. Are you pursuing a different kind of customer? For example, you may have only provided services to homeowners, but you want to try selling business to business. This requires an entirely different marketing approach and an understanding of the type of B2B industry you want to service. You’ll have to consider the needs of the new market, your competition, and the environment that affects your customers and your ability to successfully sell to them. Another option is selling to government agencies. These contracts can be lucrative, but you need to invest the time to get in the system and expand your marketing to this unique customer base.