With the economy slowing, many of the small-business owners I speak to are getting nervous.
In this sort of environment, it’s important you look for cost-effective ways to grow your business, like the 10 below.
Even if you implement just one or two, they could make a significant difference to your bottom line.
1. Sell more to your existing customers
Analyse what your customers buy to see if you can offer them more products or services. One way to cross-sell to your existing customers is to segment your database and send people emails about products or services they don’t currently buy.
2. Increase your social media presence
Regularly post helpful tips on social media. That will establish you as an expert, and make people more willing to do business with you.
3. Look for additional income streams
Look for wastage in your business. For example, do your staff have downtime? If so, what else could they be doing during those hours?
Does your manufacturing process create wastage? If so, is there an opportunity to turn that into a by-product?
4. Set goals
Set yourself goals to expand your business. Draw up a plan with a timeline of what you need to do and set a deadline for it.
For example, if you want to grow your turnover by 5 per cent:
How would you do it?
When is your deadline?
What do you need to do today to make that happen?
How will you measure your progress?
5. Know everything about your business
It’s important to be on top of everything that is happening in your business. That means asking yourself tough questions, such as:
What problem does your business solve?
How can you expand your business to solve more problems?
What does every employee do the whole day and are they efficient?
What is your top-selling product or service and why?
What is your lowest-selling product or service and should it be scrapped?
6. Partner with other small businesses
Informal networks between small business owners are a great way to cut costs and grow your business.
Two medical professionals could join forces to share office space and a receptionist. If you’re complementary, like an optometrist and a nutritionist, you’ll gain exposure to your partner’s customers.
7. Understand your industry
Speak to your customers and suppliers about your industry and what changes they’d like to see. This will give you the chance to find a gap that needs to be filled.
8. Embrace technology
Try to automate as many processes as you can, such as by switching from manual to e-invoicing.
If your staff are answering the same customer queries repeatedly, consider investing in a chatbot for your website.
9. Focus on SEO
The more people who know about your business, the more potential customers you have. Ensure your website has a lot of content written with SEO, or search engine optimisation, in mind (i.e. uses the right keywords) to increase the chances of your website appearing prominently in search results.
10. Join networking groups
Sign up for business networking groups, like BNI, that give you the chance to tap into a network of smart, motivated referral partners.
But don’t take a “sell, sell, sell” approach – you won’t receive any referrals that way. Instead, focus on building relationships and helping other group members. If you do that, they’ll go out of their way to refer potential customers to your business.