Over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year of operation, and 95% fail within the first five years.
I don't know about you, but those statistics aren't exactly comforting.
Between managing your team, keeping cash flow up, and keeping the lights on you've got a lot on your plate. What if I told you there was a way you could stack the deck a bit more in your favor?
Generating sustainable growth is going to be your friend. At the end of the day growth is the goal, and the good news is you can do it.
So, what's the catch?
Well, you're going to have to do more than simply create a Facebook account and start posting away. Fortunately I'm going to break down 10 strategies you can implement to jumpstart your business' growth and start getting better sleep at night. These are the same tactics we're using here at Centori, so I hope they help you along your journey as well.
Let's get this first one out of the way: set smart goals.
You'd be surprised at how few people set realistic and measurable goals - and do it regularly. As my dad would say, what's not measured can't be improved.
Bottom line: goal setting is going to be fundamental in measuring and setting growth targets. SMART goals are one of the best formats to use if you’re newer to this. SMART goals are:
The key: have a specific goal in mind for a time period that you can realistically achieve.
Here's an example of a bad goal: increase revenue.
Here's an example of a good goal: grow our customer base by 20% this quarter. Or increase organic traffic by 50% in the first half of the year.
Goals are the stepping stones for your business. Each goal is a step towards business success.Don’t become overwhelmed by the growth you aspire to achieve. Goal setting is designed to organize your strategy. If you remain loyal to your goals and gradually reach milestones, you will enhance your business.
Here's a fun fact: Marketers that prioritize blogging as part of their efforts are 13x more likely to see a positive return-on-investment.
Your website is your secret weapon to generating sustainable organic growth. Leverage it to the fullest. If you're blogging infrequently or not using the content on your website to draw visitors further down your funnel then you are literally leaving money on the table.
Something as simple as a CTA or subscribe form can go along way towards encouraging the people who land on your website to engage further with your brand.
Having a CTA is only half the battle, it also needs to be easy to find. There are several places you could locate your CTA on your site:
The best place to hide a body is the 2nd page of Google.
Studies have shown that about 91.5% of search engine click throughs occur on the first page of search results. It's as simple as that: if your website is not ranking you won't be seen.
If your site is ranking though? Well that's the difference between not getting much traffic and getting daily traffic for free.
Making it onto the first page of Google can be intimidating, even for the seasoned SEO vets on our team.
SEO doesn't have to be complicated though. Focus on three things:
Do those three things on repeat and you are going to see results.
Still not sure? Check out our free ebook: the ultimate guide to SEO for a complete primer on SEO, how to build an effective strategy, and how to measure your progress.
Related to generating organic traffic, but worth it's own section: create content for people, not search engines.
What does creating content for search engines look like?
Yeah, not the most riveting content to me either.
If you find yourself writing things like 'What is SEO? One might wonder what SEO is. Here is the definitive guide to SEO to show you what SEO is' take a long break from the keyboard and ask yourself:
Rather than worrying about cramming keywords into a blog post, create content that adds value and is fun to read. Your readers (and your boss) will thank you.
What do you do after you publish a blog post?
I used to simply hit publish and rely on my social auto post to do the rest. That was a mistake.
I've since learned about the power of distributing and repurposing content.
On its own your content has a limited shelf life. If your content doesn't rank it's chances at being seen drop dramatically after you first publish it. We've all had posts that languish at the bottom of your site and don't get much traffic, so how do you break out of that funk?
Distribute and repurpose your content.
Promoting your content, sharing it across platforms, and republishing it expands your reach exponentially beyond your website. Repurposing the content, say turning a blog post into a video or podcast (or vice versa) extends your content across different media and allows you to reach new audiences.
Creating a loyal customer base is crucial if you are a small business.
The industry is changing as word of mouth is becoming a major factor in how people make decisions. If your brand has a good reputation as one that treats customers well, you can count on you being in good standing with your current customer base.These customers are going to be the backbone when business is slow. Therefore, catering to their needs and providing value is going to important for maintaining the relationship.
Many companies implement loyalty programs to engage their customer base and entice repeat business. Providing these programs allows customers to recognize the value of your small business.
Somewhat related to the previous point but worth its own, turn your customers into evangelists for your company. They're going to be the best salesforce in the world.
I don't care if you've got the best sales reps in the world, they have absolutely nothing on your customers.
Think about the last big purchase you made.
For me, it was my honeymoon trip. I made the decision on where to go based on the advice from my cousin (who travels a lot).
Not from a sales rep or a brochure.
Your customers are your secret salesforce and the key to generating truly transformative growth for your business. The more you can engage with your audience and let them do the talking the faster your business will accelerate. That's great in theory, how do you do it? You start with three simple things:
A lot of this comes from Creating Customer Evangelists which you can buy here it's a fantastic book and I highly recommend it (see, there I go evangelizing the book for them ;) ).
As Seth Godin famously put it:
Community building is one of the hottest growing terms for businesses, especially as many are making the leap to being fully remote. The more you can foster a sense of community between your customers and team, the more you can ingrain an identity and following in your brand. There are plenty of tools you can use to foster a sense of community:
Look beyond the four walls of your company and how you can invite your customers into the conversation with a community.
Every time someone hits your website there is an opportunity to make sure they won't forget you.
Why waste that?
One of your most effective sales tools is the ability to give something away to people landing on your website. Whether it is free knowledge (like an ebook) or a free trial or service - the more opportunities you create to give something away the more chances you have to connect with your website visitors and turn them into leads.
When someone hits your website your main goal should be adding value to the customer and illustrating this value effectively.
Networking events provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to build lucrative relationships. At these events, you will meet likeminded individuals who can help you expand your business. You can find employees, customers, and investors at these events depending on the form and function. We love browsing Meetup to browse local events in various industries. Whether it’s an event for startups, small businesses, techies or CEOs there are tons of great ones out there.Don’t forget to keep connections going, LinkedIn is going to be vital for remaining in contact with these stakeholders.
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