July 26, 2019 By SmartBiz Team

Growing a business is hard—it takes a considerable amount of time and a lot of effort. There are plenty of strategies out there that can help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, but you probably won’t find a one-size-fits-all solution. We’ve narrowed the list down and identified a few key actions business owners can take to help make growth happen.

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1. Research the competition

If you’re entering an established market, you’ll need to understand how your potential customers are currently being served. What’s your competition doing well, and where can you offer something new? Research similar businesses to get an understanding of their products and services, identify best practices, and note the areas where you can differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd.

2. Identify new opportunities

By interacting closely with your customers and partners, conducting surveys, and carrying out market research, you might notice the areas where you can grow. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of those new opportunities that present themselves to you. Can you extend your product range, offer another service, or create a product that brings something new to the table? As your business grows, it’s important to keep asking yourself these questions so you don’t get stuck in a rut.

3. Innovate your product or service

Looking to attract more customers? It could require some rethinking and innovation. As you’re interacting with the people who use your product or service, you might find that there are additional uses that you can pitch and promote. It might even be a simple functionality improvement or an improved customer experience.

No matter how small the change, don’t hesitate to keep growing as a business. When those ideas come to mind, run with them. They can help your business continually grow and evolve with your customers’ needs. At the end of the day, your customers will notice the effort and resources you’re investing into their satisfaction.

4. Look for strategic partnerships

Forming business relationships with the right companies can give you a major boost. For one, you can reach a new audience right away. You can also build a stronger reputation and gain more insight into the market. Don’t forget that the process can be deceivingly simple—unless you offer something truly valuable to your potential partner, it can be a challenge to enter into partnership agreements. Keep an eye out for a good fit. When the time is right, make a strong proposal and get ready for rapid growth.

5. Build a strong sales funnel

With an optimized sales funnel, you can set your business up for success as you scale. You’ll have automated processes in place that ensure a consistent customer experience and a seamless training program for your team. That way, the steps it takes to close a sale are tried and true, and your vision is aligned both internally and with the customer’s expectations.

How does the magic happen? It turns out that most of the heavy lifting is usually involved in the early stages, when you’re planning and developing every stage of the funnel. Ask yourself where you see customer drop-off, how the process is made relatively smooth, and what your ideal sales experience looks like. Then, once you’ve implemented all the necessary steps, take a step back to see it in full force.

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6. Create bonds with your current customers

Your customers are more than transactions—they can actually become your brand ambassadors. It can take time, but encouraging loyalty typically has powerful, long-term effects. Not only will your customers keep coming back, but they can naturally refer others through word of mouth. Loyalty building doesn’t stop once you’ve created a solid customer base. You should continually look for new ways to show your appreciation, whether that be exclusive promotions, discount programs, or early access to new products, features, or events.

7. Participate in networking events and industry trade shows

Take the opportunity to expand your professional network by attending events in your industry. Whether that be a professional networking mixer, a trade show, a meet-and-greet, or anything in between, these in-person events can help you build relationships within your field. You might meet the people who’ll help you grow your business—partners, employees, investors, customers, and supporters.

8. Take advantage of additional financing

As you’re growing your business, you might find that you need additional funds to achieve your goals. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to look for outside financing that can help you on your way. This does involve a major decision though, so don’t take the process lightly. Consider the pros and cons of different financing options before you move forward. If your credit is strong and you’ve established your business, you probably meet many lenders’ requirements.

Not sure where to start? We broke down four common types of debt financing on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog. When making your choice, look into the details: rates, terms, fees, and any other costs involved in the transaction. Learn more about how SmartBiz can help you successfully complete the application process for a small business loan.

9. Use small business resources

Small business owners like you have a variety of tools, programs, and resources at their disposal. For example, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is designed to help entrepreneurs start, build, and expand their companies. Some of the services they offer include mentoring, online education, and financial support.

Their most well-known program is the SBA 7(a) loan guarantee. By taking responsibility for a majority of the loan amount, the SBA creates less risk for lenders and opens the door for small business owners to acquire low-cost financing.

Interested in learning more about the SBA’s role in small business growth? Head to SmartBiz University, where you’ll find educational modules outlining the key aspects of small business financing you need to know. The course is designed to educate and empower small business owners to make informed choices when it comes to their finances.

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