With an interesting 2022 year coming to an end, we should start to look at 2023 and the right strategies to grow your small business.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, just smart!
Make sure you set goals and plan for growth before implementing specific strategies.
Improving your customer relationship management is a cornerstone for growth.
Invest in your team to increase employee retention and ensure they grow alongside your company.
Most of the time, small business growth is the result of sustained effort and planning. Sure, a celebrity might snap a shot of your handmade bath bomb tomorrow and set social media alight with talk of your cherry soda shower fizz. But in case Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian doesn't happen upon your product or service, you'll need to drive that growth yourself.
Goals and strategies go hand in hand, so before you decide on individual growth strategies, it makes sense to set some realistic goals. Sit down and look at what you achieved in 2022, and what might be feasible in the coming 12 months. The idea is to be honest about what you've done well and where you might improve, as both will guide your 2023 growth plans. Given that many economists warn we could hit a recession, it's worth mapping out a few different scenarios so you can adapt to whatever the wider economy throws your way.
Let's say several people have told you your website is hard to navigate, which stops them from using your services. You might set yourself a goal to improve your website and look at strategies to increase traffic by 20%. Or perhaps you have no idea what your customers think. In which case, set yourself a goal to connect with your customers and get their feedback. The idea is to make goals that are specific and measurable, so you might decide to implement a survey and get responses from 5% of your existing customers.
Here are three strategies that will help you grow your business in 2023.
1. Streamline your customer relationships
Strong customer relationship management (CRM) is the backbone for several aspects of your business. Look for software that's intuitive to use but also has all the functionality you think you will need. Check out our list of CRM software programs to find the right product for you. You'd be amazed at the difference a strong and integrated CRM strategy could make at every stage of the process. It can help you to:
Retain more customers
Look for ways to use the data your CRM generates and be open to refining your processes based on what it tells you. That might mean you can improve your products based on customer feedback. Or you could identify parts of the process that need some fine tuning. For example, if you're generating a lot of interest but only converting a tiny percentage into sales, perhaps you need to change your messaging. Or maybe you're not generating the right type of leads and need to broaden your efforts.
2. Increase your online presence
Whether it's a blog, website or social media, a strong online presence can be a cost-effective way to connect with a large number of people. Try not to view your website as a static entity that you create and then ignore. If you introduce new products or change your prices, your website needs to reflect those changes.
Make sure you post regularly on various channels and aim to create content that fits with your company's products but is also informative. For example, if you run a hardware store, you might produce content on how to pick the right drill for different scenarios. Think about how a blog post might translate into a Twitter post or Instagram video, so that you can reformat the content for different types of social media.
Regular communication can help you build long-term relationships, especially if you also include the occasional special offer or perk to existing customers. The trick is to streamline your activities so that you can maintain a constant stream of communication without it consuming huge amounts of your time.
3. Invest in your team
Keeping good employees can be a challenge, especially for small businesses. Talented people may get lured away by bigger companies who are able to offer more perks and higher salaries. This can leave a big hole in small teams and could cause work to fall through the cracks.
Look for ways to make your employees feel valued and excited to come to work. That might involve paying for training or offering benefits like gym memberships or health insurance. In a small business environment, you can often be more flexible and offer employees opportunities to learn more or take on extra responsibilities that suit their ambitions. Make time to speak to your team and understand any concerns they may have and how you can address them.
Communicate your vision and ask for their input on how to achieve any goals you set for the year. Not only could your team appreciate being asked for their opinions, they may also have insights that haven't occurred to you. Show your appreciation by celebrating any milestones you reach together. It's important people feel they are a part of the company's success.
The one question to ask about any growth strategies you consider for your business is this: How will I make it sustainable? Strategies for growth won't work if you don't have the team, infrastructure, or processes in place to maintain them. In fact, they could backfire and prove detrimental to your business.
For example, investing heavily in marketing and doubling your client base is only half the battle. You also need to be able to meet those clients' demands. If you can't, the risk is that those people have a negative experience, which then damages your reputation. Similarly, your staff might be willing to work extra hours to cover a short-term crisis, but they may burn out or resign if it continues for too long.
It's essential you ensure any strategies you implement align with your goals and wider planning. That way you're more likely to achieve sustainable growth that benefits your company in the long term.
NOTE: We claim no right or title to this article which appears in fool dot com. Author is recognized as Emma Newbery.