Hello SOTGC community,
As a small-business owner, there are a lot of decisions to be made about how and where you spend your hard-earned money. With so many areas of your business demanding your time and resources, you might feel like you can’t afford to spend money on costly strategies that might not even lead to growth. So what are some easy ways to scale your business that will have a massive impact on your bank account but require little time? Below are five low-cost opportunities that you can begin implementing right away as you begin your journey toward growing your business.
Once these strategies are in place, you can focus on, and, actually see, results in growing the business like never before.
- Existing Customers
Businesses need new customers, but don’t forget that your easiest and most predictable source of new revenue is right under your nose! It comes from the loyal customers who already know your company and buy from you. Do you have other products or services that you can let existing customers know about? Reach out to them and let them know about these products and services. Don’t assume people will be aware that you offer the products and services or that they will contact you when they are in the market for the solution you are offering. People get busy and typically forget, so it’s up to you to remind them!
An often overlooked aspect by small businesses is asking for testimonials. Send a follow-up to customers after they try your product or service asking for a testimonial. It’s best to the make the process as easy as possible for customers, so decide where you want to have them provide the testimonial. If you’re a local brick-n-mortar business it probably makes sense to have customers provide a testimonial on Yelp, or, if you have an online business, you might want to display testimonials on one of your website pages. If your customers are happy with you, your service, or content then they would be honored to write up a testimonial for you … but you must ASK them for it. Just by asking, you will find that many more customers will provide testimonials. Put an automated process in place where customers receive an email a few weeks (or whatever time frame makes sense for your business) after they try your product or service asking for a testimonial.
- Bill faster
Unpaid accounts receivables can negatively impact your cash flow and, worst case, leave your business without the cash necessary to cover its own cash outflow obligations. Don’t batch invoice, but, instead, bill as soon as you can. For a small-business owner, the cash flow to the business is very critical, so while it might seem like simple advice, the sooner you send out an invoice the sooner you’ll get paid. As soon as you finish work on a project, make invoicing for the work your highest priority. The best way to ensure you get paid on time, every time, is to put invoicing at the top of your to-do list!
- Network with Local Media
Make a list of local media contacts that cover your niche or industry and start developing a relationship with them. This could include TV producers, newspaper journalists, local TV stations or even bloggers. These people are always looking for great stories and content, so by taking a little bit of time to craft a well-thought-out story idea to submit to them could land your business tons of free press coverage! Take the time to read their articles or listen to their shows to better understand what type of content they like to cover, and then come up with a story angle (for your industry or business trends you see) to send to them or even just send them tips and insider news they might not otherwise have access to. Become a resource for them and you’ll find that they will start reaching out to you when they are looking for their next story!
Forming a strategic alliance or partnering with another business is a very effective way to grow profitably while still remaining small. This has been one of my most effective growth strategies for all of my businesses because it has allowed me to get my message in front of new customers without having to hire additional staff. The key to a successful small-business partnership is partnering with another business that has a similar target audience to the one you are trying to reach and establishing a strong relationship with that business that can provide skills, expertise, and other resources that complement yours. Smart businesses are always trying to figure out how to add more value to their customers, so if you have an idea of how you can add value to another business’s customers, then reach out to them and suggest a win-win way to partner that can result in more business for both of you.
An example is an online marketer partnering with a content creation company or a wedding planner partnering with florists, caterers, and photographers.
If you found this article helpful or have other ideas about how to grow your business, please leave a comment below.