How to Grow Your Business (for Entrepreneurs)
12 min read by Nichita Herpuț
published 7 months ago, updated 7 months ago
When it comes to growing your business, you can take several different angles of attack to expand successfully. By addressing the growth of your business on all these fronts, you can help the business grow smoothly without running into issues with funding or drops in performance.
Below you'll find an overview of some of the best ways to grow your business in marketing, financial performance, and customer service. Read on to learn more about how you can make the most of your expanding company and maximize profits while you minimize disruptions.
Effective Web Design and Development
Even if you own a brick-and-mortar shop, effective web design and development is an increasingly important part of successful business operations in the 21st century. Without a digital way to engage with customers, business owners miss out on a huge cross-section of potential customers who may not know about their business otherwise.
All Growing Businesses Need a Website
Regardless of how small your starter operations are, you will need a business website if you plan on expanding your business. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider a business website to grow your business if you don't already have one (Source: Score):
- Accessibility: All brick-and-mortar storefronts have physical working hours, but the Internet gives customers access to your business twenty-four hours a day. This gives business owners a distinct advantage over businesses with restricted communications during their off-hours.
- First impressions: Websites are the best way to set the bar for your customer's first impression of your company. Every aspect of your brand from fonts to marketing copy tells customers how professional your business is and what you have to offer. The more seamless and advanced your website is, the more impressive.
- Search engine visibility: If you don't have a business website, the first thing that Google will pull up instead are related Google user reviews and your Google business page. This information is often incorrect and difficult to correct through Google customer support, so you should have your company website set the record straight.
- Competitive edge: Having a business website makes your business look more credible and gives you an edge over your competitors that don't have one. A business website is the perfect launch point for new product lines, marketing campaigns, and media related to the company.
Starting up a business website represents a significant investment for your company since you'll need to commit the money to get your website launched. You also need the money to keep the domain open and the website functioning properly.
Effective Web Development Tips for Business
Building a website for your business is only the beginning. You need to know how to develop your website to be beautiful and easy to use. No customer should ever be annoyed with your website's performance when they're visiting. These are some tips for developing your website in a way that will draw more customers in instead of driving them away:
- Use original media. Nothing looks tackier than a business website covered from end to end with stock media and clip art. Get a good camera and take photos that more accurately represent your business in a specific way.
- Use calls to action. Calls to action are a marketing strategy that helps encourage customers to complete a purchase through your company. Calls to action can be used on landing pages, in business marketing emails, and at the end of web content such as business blog entries. (Source: Indeed)
- Use clean design. Don't be scared of having plenty of white space and paragraph breaks in your business website copy. Visiting customers will find large, chunky blocks of text difficult to read, and any difficulty in reading may cause visitors to click away.
If you're not confident you have the skills to design your company website, you can always search for local companies that can help you, or a simple search on talent marketplaces like Fiverr or UpWork
Advanced Web Design for Business Websites
Along with the development tips above, there are also some features of advanced web design that you can take advantage of in your business website if you know what they are and how they can dovetail into your business model.
Machine Learning and Business Growth
Machine learning is a new aspect of smart computing with smartphones and tablets. Business software that depends on machine learning can parse through large amounts of customer data and use those data points to determine how the business should proceed.
As a rudimentary form of proto-artificial intelligence, machine learning software can help business owners see business trends they wouldn't be able to see with their naked eye. Machine learning can be used for business analysis and product recommendations.
Accelerated Mobile Pages for Business Websites
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) technology is crucial for building contemporary business websites. This technology allows websites to load faster and more seamlessly on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
Business websites that load up fine on desktop but break down on mobile devices are a big handicap for businesses.
Slow-loading web pages can cause customers to quickly get frustrated and bounce off the website, potentially causing the business to lose sales. Building mobile acceleration into your website is more expensive, but an important consideration for maintaining your company's reputation. (Source: ReachFirst)
Augmented Reality and Digital Business
Not all company products and services can be amplified by including augmented reality. However, augmented reality software is an aspect of business that will only continue to set the bar for which companies are the most technologically advanced (and credible) on the market.
Augmented reality can be implemented in business expansion by developing 3D models. Industries like architecture, interior design, and automotive engineering benefit greatly from interactive, exploded diagrams and prototypes that show potential customers or investors a dynamic vision of the product the company is selling.
Site Updates and Maintenance for Expanding Businesses
Setting up your business website is crucial for growing your business, but you can't stop there. Nothing is more frustrating to customers than to reach out to a company on their business website only to find the website in disrepair, with half the pages non-responsive and outdated information.
For small business owners who want to keep growing their business but want to also reduce their investment expenses, it can be well worth the effort to learn some basic web development skills.
Business owners that are able to run and maintain their websites themselves rather than depending on web developers for upkeep can save a lot of money in the long run. This money can then be reinvested in the company's growth rather than wasted on outsourcing maintenance.
Social Media Management and Business Growth
If you're trying to grow your business, the next thing you should look at after launching a company website is maintaining your social media management. Social media engagement is necessary for any company, no matter what their product or service, as part of being a 21st-century business.
Social media management in business expansion has four serious impacts on potential growth (Source: Blue Fountain Media):
- It serves as a hub for marketing campaigns. Social media is more than a way for you to connect directly with your customer base. It also allows you to market directly to customers rather than waiting for them to come across your website.
- It offers customers a direct line of communication. Having active social media management allows companies to keep customers happier by responding to them as quickly as possible. This helps encourage customer retention. The longer a customer engages with your business, the greater the chance they will refer someone else.
- It increases inbound traffic. A company that is active in social media and makes itself accessible online encourages curious potential customers to seek your website out. This will grow your business slowly and steadily over time as long as you provide a good follow-up experience.
- It increases search engine visibility. Social media posting is useful for keeping a company visible to customers. It's also a big part of making sure that a company's website maintains a high Google ranking. This helps you net customers based on more generic online searches instead of looking up your business directly.
Social media has made it easy for customers to reach out to companies and discuss their products and services, for better or worse. This means that a poor customer service experience can have a rippling effect if that experience is shared on social media.
Likewise, providing quality customer service via social media can increase word of mouth and customer retention. These social media interactions can have an ongoing positive effect on the growth of your business.
SMS Service and Business Growth
Along with engaging social media as a business, another way you can use digital communications to encourage business growth is to start up a Short Message Service (SMS) marketing campaign. SMS services can be used to market directly to customers via text message marketing campaigns.
SMS campaigns require customers to opt-in to receiving messages from your company. However, they can often be convinced to do so via offers of special discounts and other exclusive deals through the SMS service.
With SMS campaigns, it's important to keep in mind that less is more. You don't ever want your customers to feel like you're spamming them, so make sure that every message you send counts.
Public Relations and Business Growth
Engaging customers in public relations can help you grow your business. This is a way for businesses to humanize themselves to the public and engage with society in a positive way. Millennials and younger customer demographics are increasingly concerned with how companies engage not only with their customers, but also with society at large.
Here are just a few of the ways that public relations can contribute positively to business growth (Source: 5WPR):
- Public relations increase brand credibility. In many industries, the amount of growth a business can take on is directly relative to how good its reputation is. Think about how many customers will buy a product or service based on brand name alone. Engaging with the public keeps your brand's name in the public eye in a positive way.
- Public relations generate leads. Engaging directly with the public can help expose your company to business opportunities you wouldn't otherwise know about, and can make more customers aware of your business.
- Public relations control bad press. One of the biggest banes of companies online in the 21st century is that they can be torn down by reviewers and critics relentlessly online. It only takes a few 1-star ratings to tank your company's visibility online. Public relations allow you to control the public's perception of your business.
- Public relations encourages a strong online presence. Engaging in business online can help make or break a company during periods of growing pains, and public relations management helps ensure that your company is always putting its best foot forward.
Engaging in public relations doesn't mean you have to go out and hire a PR firm, especially if you're a new business that is trying to grow slowly without taking on a lot of investment costs. Taking the time as a business owner or manager to engage with the public instead of pushing it off on a third party can increase your awareness of how the business is performing, too.
SEO Campaigns and Business Growth
Even if you have a business website, it won't do much to help you grow your business if nobody can find it online. The key to being visible online to potential customers is search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is the process Google and other search engines use to rank your website in search engine results. The higher a company's search engine ranking, the closer they'll be to the first page of the Google results for relevant keywords.
Here are just a few of the ways you can increase SEO engagement to help grow your business (Source: LocalIQ):
- Build a blog. A business blog is a great way to interject SEO articles into your business website, which in turn increases your visibility on the Net. Writing a blog about business-relevant topics can help draw in customers based on your subject matter expertise, too.
- Optimize your titles. The titles in your business website's content should reflect keywords that will increase your SEO visibility. Title tags are the snippet that will show up in search results when someone Googles words related to your business.
- Internally link your website pages. Internally linking pages on a business website can be a little tricky if you don't know much about web development, but Google's search engine favors websites that are built this way since they offer a more seamless click-through experience.
- Include keywords in URLs. Including relevant SEO keywords in your website's URLs helps to increase your Google ranking. It makes each page on your website look more relevant to the keywords, and it also makes your website easier to navigate.
SEO might seem complicated to business owners and managers who aren't familiar with the concepts that drive it, but it's a good skill for anyone who is involved with business management to learn. This allows businesses to generate some of their SEO-based web content rather than having to pay someone else to create it.
Brand Awareness and Business Growth
Brand awareness is a big part of growing your business over time, especially in industries where you're dealing with a metric ton of competitors. Brand is only one half of the equation, however, since both Millenials and Gen Z consumers have proven to be more sensitive to price than brand loyalty. (Source: MultiChannelMerchant)
For these customer demographics, developing a strong brand is more about convincing consumers to pay more for quality products and services. Even though younger consumers are more likely to buy products based strictly on price rather than brand recognition, many are still willing to pay more for curated or artisanal services.
These are a few things to keep in mind when you explore brand awareness as an aspect of business growth:
- Brand awareness targets customers you don't already have. Building a brand isn't just about keeping the customers who already know who you are. It's about finding customers whose needs you were unaware of that you're able to fill, and about customers finding you.
- Brand awareness gives customers a consistent experience. Developing your company's brand and keeping customer service experiences consistently within those brand guidelines helps customers have a better experience with the company over time. People are more loyal to businesses they trust to be reliable and consistent.
In practice, increasing brand awareness can be achieved through several methods. Here are a few ways that you can make your brand more visible to the average consumer (Source: Facebook Business):
- Use branded packaging. Chances are you can think of some iconic logos and packaging of famous brands right off the top of your head. Branded packaging also makes your products look more professional compared to off-brand products.
- Guest blog on other industry websites. Giving interviews in your relevant industry and linking back to your company website can help increase your brand's online visibility.
- Take advantage of visual platforms. Adding media to your company website such as videos and graphics can make your brand more easily recognizable to a casual observer. Maintaining a strong brand aesthetic can make your products stick out more in social media, so don't skimp on art design like logos and font for slogans.
- Use retargeting ads. Targeting the same customer base more than once helps customers remember a brand they might forget if they engage with your company only once through an online advertisement.
Over time, you can use business management software to gauge customer engagement with your digital marketing. This will give you an overhead view of how strong your brand awareness is and potential areas where you might need to expand or improve.
Reduction of Overhead Costs in Business Growth
When it comes to growing a business, you definitely have to be prepared to spend money to make money. However, keeping your overhead costs low is crucial for preventing cash flow issues during periods of expansion in your business.
Spending money for your business is a necessary step in growing your business, but you need to be careful not to overdo it. It's easy for new business owners to get overwhelmed with all the directions they could potentially grow their business in, and to try and tackle too many new marketing projects at once.
To leave yourself plenty of money to invest in building your company up, follow these tips for reducing overhead (Source: FreshBooks):
- Keep it digital. Pushing a lot of your business operations onto cloud-based services and digital systems can prevent you from having to keep up with mountains of paperwork. It's better for the environment, too. You'll end up saving a lot of money in office supplies such as toner and printer paper over time.
- Invest in an accountant. It might seem like an unnecessary expense to hire a business accountant, but you'd be amazed at the tax breaks and savings you'll miss without a dedicated subject matter expert to handle the books. Hiring a financial manager to do the accounting can free business owners and managers up for marketing.
- Keep your employee count lean. There's an amazing amount you can do with a small team if you hire the right talent and pay them accordingly. Keep in mind that while you might pay more per hour for experienced employees, you can only keep the best office all-stars around by paying what they're worth or offering decent benefits.
The fixed and variable overhead costs for each type of business is different, so you'll need to analyze your business carefully to see the specific areas where you can trim the fat and save some money. This money can then be used to expand the business and encourage its growth in other ways.
Business Growth Requires Attention on All Fronts
When a business is growing, it is in a fragile state financially. Every investment you make in the company's expansion at this point in the game can make or break the business. Knowing how to manage your business growth on the digital front as well as the physical one can help your company remain relevant while you boost your brand and expand your customer base.
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