Are you looking for ideas to grow your business this year? Of course you are. No-one wants their business to go backwards and remaining the same as you are now will gradually lead to this kind of decline so what can you do to grow your business at a rate that will work for you? Here’s 7 simple ideas – choose one or choose them all – just take some action as soon as you can while your thoughts are fresh and your energy is high.
Forget about the calendar
Just because we have started a new year on the calendar is not going to make everything that is going on around the world disappear or change. The pandemic is still raging and the changes that this brought to our homes and our businesses are not going to go away anytime soon.
The borders are unlikely to open fully this year here in New Zealand and it could take at least a year for us all to be vaccinated and to be able to stop worrying about community spread of Covid 19. We will face stressful times – especially in winter when our immunity will already be impacted.
But the good news is that we have now got nearly a year’s experience in living in our different normal and most of us have been able to take a break and relax so we are heading into the this year in good condition.
So now it’s time to be proactive and to grow your business by making choices that will enable you to develop your customer base regardless of the pandemic.
Here are my ideas on what you can do to be successful in 2021 and my hope is that you will read them, consider them, choose what will work best for you and then put them into action.
Oh, and it doesn’t matter how small or big or established or new your business is – these ideas apply to every business.
What business are you really in?
Before you can grow your business this year you need to reconsider what business you are really in. Successful businesses are making it because they understand the problem they are solving for their customers.
What is the problem you are solving in your business and how does it make your customers feel? Most of us want to feel happy, relieved and relaxed. We want to feel that our children, our homes and ourselves look good and we want to feel valuable to our friends and community.
If your business is making your customers feel this way then you should be able to develop a great customer base but maybe you aren’t communicating with them about how you will make them feel.
Just as cosmetics are about hope and vitamins are about youthfulness your business is also about offering a desirable future. Stop telling them about what you do and start telling them how you will make them feel when you solve this problem for them.
Remind them of the time saving, the stress removal, the reassurance, the happiness and watch the customers line up to buy from you.
Start building your community today
Regardless of where you are at with regard to your business – even if it’s months until you will get fully underway you need to start building a community of potential buyers today who will get your message out there with word of mouth marketing. (If you are interested in learning more about this here’s a link to the most powerful way to market your business )
That’s because it takes time to build a community – to develop trust. So don’t think you have to have your business ready to go and your website perfect before you get started. If you want to grow your business this year then you need to get cracking now.
So what can you do? Check out Facebook groups that your potential customers hang about on and get active. Share ideas, comment, support others and become visible. Then start your own group. Invite others to join. Encourage interaction and posting from the members. Talk about what matters to them.
You could start your website as a blog and give great information to people about the problem you are going to solve. Or start making videos and post them on Youtube and encourage others to share them.
Whatever you choose to do start today or tomorrow at the latest. You won’t be selling anything – you’ll be giving free advice. That will build trust and develop your reputation which will make it much easier to sell once you have your product or service ready to go.
And if you are already in business? If you have a community already then start asking them for help to spread the word about your business. Everyone loves to help others but they won’t know that you need their help if you don’t tell them.
If you don’t have a community or it is very small then make a plan to start growing it today. Use the tips above or do more of what you did that got the community started.
You can’t afford to put this off. Having a community of potential customers who feel that they know you and trust you will make a huge difference when you are ready to unveil your solution to their problem.
Make systems and processes your #1 focus
Looking back over 2020 we can see what worked and what didn’t. Lockdown worked because nearly everyone took it seriously and did what they were told. As a result we have all had a great summer so far. Closing the border worked to stop the virus but it stopped many businesses too – and some will never recover.
Our current courier delivery system didn’t work. We all wanted stuff delivered and they couldn’t handle the workload. What was the system or process that caused the biggest bottleneck? And have the courier companies considered how they could change it? Maybe not.
Your business will be the same. Some systems and processes work well and some don’t. When you’re busy you tend to forget to keep improving your systems and processes but they may be the most important way that you could be less busy but more productive and more profitable.
To grow your business this year think about your customers and ask yourself – do your customers want their products or services presented in a different way? Do they have new expectations about what they want and how they want it? Only you can work this out for your individual business and make the right changes.
During lockdown a business which supplied fresh meals to their customers weren’t able to do so anymore. They changed the meals somewhat so they could freeze them and gained permission to safely deliver these frozen meals. Now that they are able to return to normal they continue to offer both fresh and frozen meals and their customer base has grown considerably.
In your business what are the same old ways you are offering your services or products and what could you do to change your processes to deliver them better and potentially to more customers.
Put in place a consistent marketing plan
If marketing on a regular basis is something you have been meaning to get around to then getting around to it now is going to make a big difference.
You need to start with a plan but not a massive document – rather a simple one page plan that starts with your objectives or what ideas you are trying to get across and why.
Marketing is experimental regardless of what any books say. You need to try different ideas and you need to measure how successful they are. That is, whether or not they achieve the objectives.
So if you want to grow your business this year by building a bigger customer base, introducing new products or services to existing customers or reminding your existing customers to buy again you need to get out and communicate this with them.
And the plan needs to be consistent – yes you need to keep getting the message or messages out there on a regular basis even when you get busy and feel like you don’t have time to do it.
Trust me – if you don’t have a plan and a place in your schedule for regular marketing it will fall by the wayside very easily. So get started now and prepare a simple plan that you can put in place as soon as possible.
What about a re-launch to grow your business this year?
When you started your business (or when you do start) did you have a launch event? Or did you just slip into it quietly because you wanted to test out your ideas first.
To grow your business this year you need to tell more people about what you offer and doing a launch or a re-launch is a terrific way of getting some great attention for your brand.
The event could be anything you like from a party to a community event that helps others. Invite your friends, social media friends, customers and their friends. Make sure there is a load of fun involved and put your brand front and centre.
If you are a bit shy then ask someone who isn’t to do any talking that is needed – that will make you feel much more comfortable. You could run a fun competition, have things to try, swap products for community service (such as an ice-cream for a bucket of rubbish collected at a local park or beach) or anything that would work for your business.
If you aren’t sure what to do hold a brain storming session with some friends and see how many good ideas they come up with. Never think you have to do everything yourself. Friends and family would love to help – they just need to be asked.
A re-launch gave also give you an opportunity to collect contact details to send brief but useful newsletters to your contacts. It will give you a great start to your database and get you underway on actually communicating regularly with customers and potential customers.
Doing it the old-fashioned way
The start of the year is a wonderful time to get back in touch with your past customers and contacts. You may have been meaning to do this more regularly but it just hasn’t happened but don’t worry – that was 2020 and this is 2021. Start now by calling a few people each day. It doesn’t take that long to make a few calls and over a couple of weeks you will get through heaps of them.
But I hear you shout, I do social media not calls – ok but personal messages are what is needed here not posts to a group or page. And to be honest, by the time you message them and then they reply so you message them again it may just be easier to give them a call but up to you.
Again this is an opportunity to check if it is ok to put them on your email list and to send them a brief but useful newsletter regularly. And if you ask this by phone you will be much more likely to get a positive response.
If you are not sure what to talk about you could ask them for feedback about your customer service, to help you out with a testimonial, to see if they need your product or service again, to introduce a new product or service or to let them know about a special you are running just for existing customers. You could even just call them to say thank you for being a customer. That will make everyone smile.
Everyone wants to be part of a range of communities and everyone wants to have interaction with others so doing it the old-fashioned way will be a positive experience for all concerned. And it is extremely likely to lead you to grow your business this year in an inexpensive and easy way.
So those are my tips for business growth to start your most successful year ever. Pick the one you think will be the easiest for you to put in place and get started now. Don’t try to do them all straight away (unless you have oodles of time) but set yourself up to take small, easily successful steps.
Once you have followed one idea then pick the next and then the next and gradually put in place all of the ones that you believe will help your business grow and develop. And if you have some other ideas which could be added to the list please include them in the comments – I would love to get your feedback and your ideas.
© Robyn Forryan BBS
The Biz Coach NZ