9 Practical Tips To Grow Your Business Faster

So you’ve read a bunch of articles covering focus, mindset and vision to grow your business. Great! Now that your headspace is sorted, it’s time to move on to some practical tips guaranteed to help your business grow faster.

INVEST IN YOUR MARKETING EDUCATION

In today’s rapidly changing world, keeping up with innovations and new business strategies is crucial for long-term success. However, most small business owners don’t invest much time or money in developing their business and marketing knowledge.

The amount of time and money you invest in your marketing education directly relates to your business success. The less you know, the more time and money you will waste in the future.

Study the masters in your industry who have already proven what works well and inject that expert knowledge directly into your business. Your investment in highly relevant, quality marketing education will be returned to you tenfold through increased business success.

MAKE THE MOST OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter may strike some dedicated, hard-working businesspeople as time-wasters, but they’re money-gainers for small businesses to who take advantage of the new and evolving opportunities these dynamic and engaging sites offer.

Social media sites are tailor-made for sharing marketing messages with your customers because insider info is what they expect from their social media experiences. There’s much to be gained through savvy social media interactions.

Maintain a constantly-updated blog to keep your customers engaged and prime for repeat purchases. Add your own social media elements to your existing website to draw in more traffic, gain new customers and achieve more sales.

Social media marketing really is one of the best ways to take your business message where your customers are and serve it up to them in an easily digestible, incredibly appealing way.

INCREASE VALUE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

Consistently give your customers more than they ask for and more than they expect. Consider what additional value you can provide to your customers that will increase your “wow”factor in their eyes?

This usually means giving them things with a high perceived value for free. Try offering your customers high-value but cheap-to-produce digital information products, such as e-books or audio files. Customers will be impressed with the time and effort you have spent on them, but your effort and expense is limited to one-time writing/recording and design costs.

At every turn, offer slightly more than your customers expect. Make your return policy unconditional, upgrade your packaging and answer phone calls or emails faster than they think you will. Every “wow”you earn from a customer equals more dollars and strong customer relationships for you.

AUTOMATE AND OUTSOURCE

Automation and outsourcing lets you exchange small amounts of your money for big time savings to focus on growing your business. What repetitive processes in your business can be automated to save you time? What systems can you put in place that would free up your time or make you more money? What tasks need to be eliminated, systematized, delegated or outsourced?

Automation makes your business more consistent and efficient. Outsourcing saves you time, allowing you to get more done in order to grow your business faster.

BRANCH OUT

Business experts consistently tell you focus on your core. And that’s great advice, but once your core products and services are established, it’s time to expand your reach and increase your income by branching out.

Incorporate some affiliate marketing into your business, create (or outsource) and sell your own information products, or create a members-only section of your website that offers premium content, training and support.

If you want to play it safe, stay close to core so that your new offering appeals to your existing customers as well as attracting new ones to your business.

FORM JOINT VENTURE PARTNERSHIPS

Locate joint venture partners who offer services that are a good ‘fit’ with your business but don’t compete, then exchange newsletter ads or email marketing promotions with your partner, exposing both businesses to an audience of already-trusting customers.

The possibilities for partnerships are endless and the increase in exposure and profits is limitless.Try both one-time exchanges or and long-term relationships aimed at benefiting your business, and theirs.

EXPAND YOUR ONLINE MARKETING ACTIVITIES

Increasing your online marketing exposure is simple: try something you haven’t tried before. Whether your business has limited involvement in online marketing at this stage, or you get all your customers and exposure from the Internet, there is further steps you could be taking.

Have you tried video marketing? Are you tweeting catalog items to your Twitter followers several times a day? Do your Facebook fans get exclusive coupons to thank them for following you? Is your company listed in all of the online directories related to your industry?

If there’s an online marketing avenue you are not yet going down, turn onto it and start milking it for all it’s worth!

ASK YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS FOR REFERRALS

Your existing, happy customers are your biggest growth asset, and they can yield benefits in many ways. But you have to ask in order to receive from them.

Instead of spending money on advertising to attract new customers, why not drop your existing customers an email asking for referrals? Maybe you can offer them some sort of incentive to do so. You never know, you may gain so many referral customers that you can shrink or eliminate your next planned promotion, saving you some dollars.

Gaining referral sales is one of the cheapest and easiest business growth strategies to focus on.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF BUSINESS-BOOSTING SMALL BUSINESS TOOLS

For many business owners, trial and error is the key to finding paths that lead to greater success in their business. But for those who want to take the shorter route to greater business success, taking advantage of small business tools that can help you grow your business faster is the way to go.

Every business can benefit from carefully-chosen business tools that will help you save you time, save money, gain more customers, close sales faster and boost your profits.

Websites spring up every day offering innovative new ways to improve your business. It’s just a matter of staying informed and identifying which would be most beneficial to your business.

Small Business Coaching – How to Avoid the Plague That Is Killing Women Entrepreneurs

Female entrepreneurs are plagued with numerous decisions to make on a daily basis. These decisions may not necessarily involve business alone but domestic life as well. Juggling two distinct areas in our lives-business and family-can be downright difficult. Thus, having a small business coach comes in handy if you find yourself in this predicament. Learn why…

Owning a business is not easy. Being a female entrepreneur is even more challenging. Sometimes, when pressure heightens, other women entrepreneurs opt out of the game. With coaching, quitting is not part of the vocabulary. Small business coaches will guide you through and through until you reach your goals.

Three Problems that can plague women entrepreneurs:

1. You know what you need to do but you don’t have enough time to juggle the responsibilities of owning a business (and maintaining a home)

2. There is a need for you to learn business and marketing skills to grow your business

3. You are flooded with too much information and you need a trusted source to assist you in designing and implementing a compelling plan of action to catapult your business to the next level.

In small business coaching, your coach recognizes and acknowledges the difficulties that you face in handling your business and personal life. Business coaches help you to be in full control and not rattle when the going gets tough. Just like a sports coach, a business coach could also train you about things in your industry that you don’t know yet. However, they cannot teach you the passion to succeed. It has to come from you. Nonetheless, business coaching has proven to change and improve so many female entrepreneurs’ lives for the better.

A small business coach encourages and works on bringing out the best that’s already innate in you so you could cope and face the music a wiser and stronger person. Small business coaching aims to empower you to succeed in your endeavors. Small business coaches help you focus on the “bigger picture” of what you aim to create for your business and lifestyle. They will engage and keep you motivated to move forward on your dreams, goals and tasks.

In small business coaching, the area of growth is focused on a personal level, the way you run your business and the profits you generate. Coaching is commonly sought out when a company is not performing well. However, it is also beneficial to utilize this resource when a company is successful-to further build on the success and take your company to an even higher level.

Coaches will tirelessly and incessantly mentor, encourage, support, applaud and empathize with you. They will help you discover and convey honest insights as to why things are not working; the pros and cons of your particular decisions; they will help you deal with the negative repercussions of your actions and help you concoct a winning ingredient for a particular business plan.

What is the net result of small business coaching?

In coaching, you are investing in an experienced outsider who will watch over your business and personal life and make sure that they blend well with you goals.

Coaching aims to help you create a fool-proof plan in actualizing your goals for your business. A well-planned strategy leads to a flourishing business hence, increase in sales, profit and recurring customers. It prevents confusion that could lead to your business’ failure as what is seen in many businesses that were haphazardly launched and operated.

Coaches identify different areas for improvement and utilize the information gathered to market, brand your products and effectively determine the most profitable target market. They will help you learn specific marketing and business skills; create sustainable motivation and accountability; manage your time wisely; prioritize your tasks; stop self-sabotaging your business success and ultimately increase sales and profits.

Small business coaching feeds you with all the strategies and techniques that you need to build a successful business. Without any knowledge and support in running a business, you’ll find yourself struggling until your enthusiasm and passion are drained. With small business coaching, failure is prevented from happening.

“The Small Business Success Guide” by Margie Sheedy

We all hear about the alarming statistics stating spectacular rates of failure for small business in Australia. The numbers are enough to scare off most budding entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, we hear little about the key success factors. Those things, which done well, could help your small business flourish.

I talked to Margie Sheedy, author of The Small Business Success Guide, to discuss the keys to the successful operation of a small business. Her insight, as both an entrepreneur, and a small business journalist with more than 20 years experience under her belt, will prove valuable for all small business, regardless of the industry.

KP: What do you believe are the keys to owning and operating a small business?

Margie Sheedy:

Owing a small business is a spectacularly individual adventure. You’ll have different levels of entrepreneurial experience from the small business owner next to you. What is universal is that you’re expected to know a lot about everything in business, from marketing and managing staff to cashflow and customers, often straight away.

So one of the major keys to being a successful small business owner is opening yourself up to finding trustworthy, practical ideas, and then putting them into a plan. As a business owner myself, I know how time-consuming this can be. That’s why I wrote The Small Business Success Guide in a question and answer format, so that all the information you need is in one easy-to-understand resource.

KP: Why are these ‘success keys’ so important to the running of the business?

Margie Sheedy:

Getting the right advice means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can hit the ground running. You also will be giving yourself the time to think strategically about your business (working on, not just in your business). That way, you’ll know exactly why you do certain things, and how you could do them smarter, not harder.

KP: From your experience, where do you believe most business owners get it wrong?

Margie Sheedy:

Most people start a small business without having anything written down. They think that having a vision in their heads is enough. But when your business playing field changes – for example, there could be a lull in sales, production prices might go up or your customers’ tastes may change – you won’t have any articulated strategies to help you and your team weather the storm.

On the flip-side, when things are going well you will also have problems. You might need finance to grow or you may want to sell your business. Even the most generous bank manager or business purchaser will want to see why your business is worth the investment. And they’ll need more than your word to seal the deal.

KP: Many entrepreneurs are wearing many hats, and can feel overwhelmed, what can they do to overcome this situation?

Margie Sheedy:

Realise that you can’t do it all. Start to think of yourself as the brain surgeon of your business, and value your time. Would you pay a brain surgeon to mop up after an operation? Consider enlisting the help of others to do some of the more menial tasks in your business.

If you think you can’t afford to outsource anything, or you like wearing all your hats, you will burn yourself out. Instead, learn to delegate so that you have time to seriously look at your business’ future direction.

Another way to take the stress out of wearing many hats is to plan your day in chunks of time. Allocate several times a day to answer calls. Stick to your schedule, not someone else’s. Then at the end of the day, you’ll feel a sense of achievement because you’ll have actually got a few things done and not spent it chasing your tail.

And finally, be aware of your stress levels. Recognise how stress affects you physically. When things feel overwhelming, make a conscious effort to stop, take a deep breath and calmly go for a walk to clear your head. It will be time well spent!

KP: Despite many claiming the Global Financial Crisis to be over, many business owners are still facing challenges, what is your advice to them?

Margie Sheedy:

Address the worst things first. In The Small Business Success Guide, I quote Dr. Graham Godbee of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management: he calls this your ‘triage strategy’. What sort of injury (major challenges) is your business encountering? Are you bleeding internally or just in need of a band-aid solution? Look at what’s caused the injury, and how you can fix it. Here are a couple of tips.

* Keep a firm eye on your cash flow so that you know exactly where your business is at financially, and how much time you have before any financial challenges make things more serious.

* Nurture your existing customers. It’s six times more profitable to sell to an existing customer than to find new ones. So foster relationships and give great customer service: after all, it’s your customers, clients and suppliers who will sustain you through tough times.

* Talk to your team. How do they think your business can do things better? Use their brain power to help you work out some solutions to your challenges. By engaging them, you’ll be motivating your team. A healthy business, after all, is somewhere people like to go to every day.

* Be honest about your own strengths and weaknesses, and commit yourself to doing things differently if your management style is part of the problem.

* Ask for outside help from advisers you trust, such as your accountant or solicitor or business adviser. Remember, a dumb question is only dumb if you don’t ask it.