ASK SCORE by Dean Swanson
One of the most common goals for the New Year by CEOs of small businesses is the need to grow your business. But when it comes to settling on realistic strategies to make it happen, they really need some fresh ideas. We have found that one can learn a lot from other companies.
Brett Varmello, founder and CEO of Markitors, a digital marketing company that connects small businesses with customers through organic search, is one of SCORE’s content partners. As he has done in the past, he came up with some good suggestions when he asked business experts and leaders for their insights “How can you grow your business in the new year?” Here are some of his responses.
Invest in quality SEO content. Organic search is a channel that produces a reliable and sustainable flow of trusted leads at a low cost. The trick to making organic search work is to invest resources to create content, create backlinks, and address any technical issues that head up the website. If a company is looking to grow in the coming year, organic research is definitely a long-term strategy for building a marketing funnel. Keep in mind that when you hire an SEO expert, the campaign can take anywhere from four to 12 months to see results. However, once a campaign produces results, the company must have a steady flow of new customers and revenue. – Brett Varmello, Marketers
Take advantage of existing customers. If you have a long list of satisfied customers, try to use them for referrals. A satisfied customer is a grateful customer, and they will most likely be happy to recommend you to others. As an interior design company, there is already a huge demand for our services. However, this does not prevent us from getting the most out of our relationships with our clients, so we get a good number of referrals. – Alisha Taylor, Alisha Taylor Interiors
Take advantage of social media. It may sound cliched at this point, but social media is the future of business growth. So, you need to make the most out of social media. Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, and social media platforms are among the most used apps on those phones. If you set up your social media business page, advertise products, enable any store or product promotion options, and interact regularly with your followers, you will set yourself up to see significant results in the new year. – Vicki Franco, Insora
Take advantage of e-commerce. If you haven’t gotten the most out of the e-commerce boom, now is the time to take advantage of it. There is a marketplace for practically everything online, from services like insurance to products. However, if you don’t have an online presence that can capture customer awareness or interest, they will find it elsewhere. Make sure you have an updated website and social media. These are the main components of growing your business in the new year. – Brian Greenberg, believer
Fill an untapped niche. Find the areas you need to fill. You may think you have all your bases covered, but untapped opportunities are waiting for you. Once upon a time, providing small business loan services was an underutilized market, but we have continued to help others, and ourselves, thrive. Start the year by making a plan to look for opportunities and stick to it. – Alan Sweetalsky, Lindthrife
Stay informed. One way to grow your business in the new year is to make sure you stay on top of trends. For example, if you work in healthcare and something big is going on in healthcare reform, make sure that information gets to all employees to adapt accordingly when necessary! The goal should be to keep up to date with the latest developments. – Saskia Kitz, Mogomox
Attract new clients. If you think your customer base is limited to just one demographic, throw that idea away in the new year. Boho-Magic’s mission is to inspire women to love unconditionally and express their authentic selves, but we also sell jewelry to men. If you are looking to grow, make sure there are any untapped markets for your products, and do what you can to seize any opportunities. Let the new year be the year you attract new and previously unexpected customers. – Natalie Vanunu, Boho Magic
Invest in your sales team. Investing in your sales team by giving them the best technologies and tools they need to do their job is essential to growing your business. There are many sales automation tools on the market. These tools will help save salespeople time and money when searching for new business and help you bring more quality leads into your business – ultimately increasing revenue. – Jun Woo, Griffon Connect
Do new market research. Take a second closer look at your business environment by studying the competition and investing in a new round of market research.
A market research survey is essential to focus on core strategies again, a move that will enable the company to take a fresh look at its competitors and customers.
The results will help realign existing strategies, thus posing a new threat to existing competition and gain valuable insights into how the market will evolve. – Jerry Ford, 4WD Live
Dean Swanson is a Certified Volunteer SCORE Guide and former SCORE Chapter President, District Manager, and Regional Vice President for the Northwest.