Summarily, I have spent the past 25 years of my life helping businesses from startups to Fortune 500 companies like IBM, Microsoft, Pearson Education, ING Bank, and so on to build and scale solutions globally.
I have raised tens of startups from the ground up through product development to fundraising, valuation, and exit.
I run my own company TetraNoodle Technologies, an entrepreneurial podcast Bootstrapping Your Dreams and I’m currently the leader of the Vancouver startup community.
And throughout the year — after accomplishing all these things — I believe these are the 5 simple steps you can follow to grow your startup.
1. Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Industry by Creating Content Around It
Whether you’re writing blog posts, creating videos, posting content on LinkedIn, or sharing your knowledge with others is a great way to attract new customers.
Find ways to get involved with local communities and events. This could include attending conferences, trade shows, or networking events where you’re likely to meet potential clients and partners.
Create relationships with other businesses in your area by offering discounts on products or services when their customers mention your company name at checkout.
The more people know about what you do and how it benefits them, the better!
Social media is one of the best ways to get out there and share information about yourself and your business with potential customers.
If you don’t know how to leverage social media, read this — 10 Best Social Media Engagement Ideas For 2022.
2. Do Proper Competition Analysis
This may sound obvious but is easier said than done. If you start your business without knowing who your competitors are and what they’re doing, then you would be walking on broken bottles.
By conducting proper market research and identifying your competition, it helps you understand your existing customers and potential customers.
It’s important to gain insight into your target market and know their needs. For example, say you want to get into the footwear business in Chicago.
It will be important to know the market size of the footwear business in Chicago, your target demographic, your top 3 competitors, and what they are doing to satisfy customer desire in the core elements of comfort, quality, price, and design.
Also read: Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself While Doing Market Research
3. Build a Sales Funnel
Think of a sales funnel as a customer’s journey. When they enter your business or visit your website, they’re at the top of the funnel.
I always advise business owners to treat their sales funnel with the utmost understanding of the various stages. Then streamline the process into two categories: your sales funnel and your sales pipeline.
What do I mean? Your sales funnel will be something like this:
This is the journey you want your customers to go through.
While your sale pipeline will be something like this:
- Generate contacts
- Qualification them
- Setup prospect meetings
- Send out proposals
- Do closing
- Retain customers
When you streamline your sales funnel this way, it gives you a better view of how to go about your business to make money.
You will understand who you need to hire at what time and at what stage of your business growth and therefore avoid throwing resources into the sea.
One most important thing to do for a sales funnel to work is to develop a value-packed lead magnet. We will talk about this in a separate video
So I already mentioned establishing yourself on social media. However, you also need to build a social media community to grow your business.
I can’t just say this harder. With an interactive social media presence, you give access to your customers and prospects to ask questions about your brand, products, and services.
Also, it helps you gather social feedback about your business and reach more people through organic advertisement.
Before the coronavirus outbreak I would advise you to prioritize networking events over social media but today, it is just evident that virtual interactions and collaboration have just taken over business operations and delivery in all domains.
To learn more about the power of engaging & building meaningful connections — read this: 49,900% ROI in 6-months — A Case Study
5. Increase Customer Retention
From my experience, this aspect is taken more seriously by established companies, unlike small businesses struggling to grow. Which to me should be the reverse.
Come to think of it…
It is just logical that you trying to grow your business should make maximum effort to retain the few customers you have acquired.
Here are a few tips you can apply to increase your customer retention:
- Prioritizing customer service. Treat customers like kings and queens. I can’t stress this much.
- Use a customer relations management (CRM) system: CRM systems help your business manage relationships with existing and potential customers. They help you maintain customer information and identify sales opportunities. One of the biggest benefits is that the data gets stored in one place, so you and other employees who need it can access it. Hootsuite is my favorite CRM tool if you may ask.
- Create a customer loyalty program: These programs reward your existing customers for supporting your business. They can also help you attract new customers or get back those that left your business.
There are many options for customer loyalty programs out there. Here are some I would recommend: Offer upgrades and buy-one-get-ones, Give gifts for special occasions, and Offer punch cards – works well for restaurant and saloon businesses.
Recommended: How to Improve Customer Retention With Churn Analytics
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