Four things are crucial to keeping your small business running: A healthy cash flow, loyal and talented staff, visibility in the market and a strong customer base. But how do you keep expanding and get more clients without watering down your brand?
New vs. Existing
Re-activating previous customers and upselling existing clients is a lot easier and, most importantly, cheaper than generating new customers or clients. But the best results for your small business come from pursuing both – generating new clients and making sure they come back.
I have already written about how to get repeat business from existing customers. Today, I’ll concentrate on ways to attract new business. So let’s have a look at my favourite sustainable growth strategies for small businesses!
First, look for possible ways to get more clients via your existing products or services. For example, try to develop your products to give them an edge over your competition; ask customers for feedback and identify areas for improvement.
If your services or products are already optimised, have a look at your pricing structure or create a special offer that lowers the threshold for first-time customers.
Another possibility is upgrading your customer service. Be exceptional at making your customers’ life easier and they will flock to your business.
Find out more about how to improve your customer experience.
One strategy to grow the customer base of your small business is to add new, complementary services or products to your portfolio. You can use these as an upsell opportunity to your existing customers and attract new buyers to your company.
Also, consider introducing a mini-version of your main product/service to create an entry-level product with the option to upgrade at any time. The same applies to a premium version of your product – being part of an exclusive group can be very appealing.
3. Team up
To expand your reach to your audience, you can also collaborate with businesses that target the same audience as you but offer different services or products.
From advertising in each others’ newsletters to running an event or special offer together, there are numerous opportunities that you shouldn’t miss out on.
4. Turn up the volume
A very obvious, but nonetheless effective, way to get more clients is to simply do more: more advertising, more marketing, more PR and more business development. See what worked best in the past and expand your activities in this area.
Always look for new ways to reach your audience. Try out new marketing channels, experiment with new ways to communicate with your market and grow your customer base in the process.
Do you have an ideal customer? Customers that you’d like to have more of? If so, what’s keeping you?
Identify your ideal customer and find out how you got them in the first place. This gives you a specific idea of how you can amplify those efforts in the future and attract more of your favourite clients.
A little more work, but definitely worth it if you’ve exhausted all your existing target groups: entering new markets. Is your product or service adaptable to other audiences or industries? Can you expand your brand and reach out into unknown territories to get more clients?
Consider going international to get a footing in another country. You could scale your product or service to be able to be able to target larger or smaller companies or you could turn your idea into a franchise and grow your profit through intermediaries.
7. Spread the word
Last, but certainly not least, you can use your existing customers to grow your client base. Build up a referral scheme for your business and make it easy for loyal customers to spread the word and invite their colleagues, friends and family to try your products or services.
Great testimonials and recommendations from people they know create trust in your company and always trumps expensive advertising.
Sometimes an incentive might be needed to encourage people to recommend businesses, but make sure to specifically ask for referrals and say thank you.
WANT TO READ MORE?
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
Ways to Get Repeat Business From Existing Customers
How to Market Your Small Business With Customer Reviews
Strategies to Get More Referrals for Your Small Business
Small Business Growth: 7 Ways to Ask the Right Questions