Bioinformatica e Web 2.0

Inside Bioinfo

18 settembre 2008 - 09:00

Proven Ways to Grow Your Small Business

 Getting your business off the ground is challenging. Continuing to grow your business once it’s established is just as difficult.

And while generating new business and growing your customer base is necessary to succeed, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes effective planning, strategy, and the willingness to get creative.

If your sales have recently hit a plateau, check out these 10 proven methods to continue growing your business.

1. Know your customers

Knowing who your customers are and what they need is vital. You went through the process of identifying a target market when developing your business plan. But now you have an active customer base that you need to engage with and in the process improve your business.

Whether it’s through a quarterly survey, user reviews, or direct customer service communications, you need to be asking for honest feedback. Take note of consistent grievances amongst your customer-base and use those to launch new features, make internal adjustments, or any number of fixes.

And while direct feedback from your customer base is invaluable, you need to also be paying attention to the market and your competitors. Conducting a market analysis on a regular basis ensures that you’re aware of any competitive moves and how different economic events may affect your customers. Combined with the insightful feedback from your customers, it provides a full picture of potential avenues for growth.

2. Focus on customer service

As you look to grow your business, quality customer service for your current customers can fall by the wayside. Sure customer churn is part of doing business, but you don’t want it to be a direct result of your attempts to grow. And you don’t want to compound people leaving by providing a poor experience.

At the same time, focusing on quality customer service can be a direct avenue for growth. If your current customers are treated exceptionally, they’ll be more likely to leave positive reviews, recommend you to their friends, and of course purchase from your business again.

3. Extend value from current customers

It’s common when looking for growth opportunities to immediately try and attract new customers, but what about your current ones? You’ve built credibility with them meaning they’re more likely to purchase from you again or even pay more for additional services and new products.

Explore opportunities to extend the value of your customers. Add a new product line that compliments previous purchases. Test increasing service prices in exchange for additional features, hands-on direction, or other additions that your customers find valuable.

Just because you’ve possibly hit the limit of growing your established target market, doesn’t mean that you can’t pull more value from it. And who knows, any changes you make to increase the value for current customers may be a springboard for bringing on new ones.

4. Leverage social media

Diving into social media can be daunting. But here’s the thing, you don’t have to have experience with it to leverage social platforms. It can be as simple as opening a business profile and beginning to grow a community of customers.

You don’t need to post every day or even create incredible looking images and videos, but do establish a consistent schedule your followers and customers can expect. From there it’s up to you to actively engage with your followers, read comments, answer messages, and generally build your social brand.

Overall it’s a great way to identify trends and insights about your customers. If you want, you can even use the insights you gain and try running social ads. It’s easier than you think and is an inexpensive way to test promotions, gauge the interest of a new customer base, or even run a full-fledged digital campaign.

5. Grow your team

Growing your customer base and growing your sales typically means growing your team. And just as you need to focus on providing exceptional customer service, you need to focus on the quality of the people that join your team.

Focus on finding diverse voices that can not only fulfill the duties of the role but that can provide unique perspectives that challenges your own. It’s harmful to have a staff full of “yes men” and can potentially lead to poor internal culture and self-serving decisions. Having a vast range of employees that differ in experience, background, beliefs, and specialties bring new perspectives to the table that would be nonexistent without them. Learn more about the meaning of siloed and follow the best tips in order to deal with it.

Additionally, as you look to bring on new employees, you’ll also want to focus on your current staff’s professional development. Show that you value them and their contribution to your business. Give them more opportunities to lead and collaborate, involve them in the goal-setting process, and even foot the bill for them to attend seminars and trainings.

The way you treat your employees will be reflected in the way you treat your customers. Start by optimizing internally and your business will grow from there.

6. Showcase your expertise

If you want to continue building clout amongst your customers and other businesses, you need to showcase your expertise. This means providing resources, hosting webinars, conducting research studies, and even running Q&A’s through your social channels. Find opportunities to share what you know, and present it as a free opportunity to learn and grow.

Just be sure to gather contact information or provide a link to a specific promotional page when you host an event or give access to a download. You’re not just showcasing expertise but using it to grow an audience that will hopefully one day turn into customers. Follow-up and keep providing valuable insight and you’ll be able to turn it into consistent growth.

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Tags: bioinformatica, Database

 

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