What if I told you that your SME could grow by 1% this month? You’d probably say, “Meh,” and carry on doing whatever you were doing, right? But hang on, take a minute and do the maths on what 1% monthly growth, in this economic climate, can mean for your business.
Here’s the second thing that will probably make you say, “Meh”: The tips that I’m going to share with you are not glamorous or even new. They are, in fact, sensible and very achievable.
Most of them will be small tweaks, and a little extra effort, to what you are probably already doing quite well. But they will help you sharpen the axe and safeguard your business in the leaner months.
Start Here: Know Thyself
It’s just as the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said; this is where it all starts: yourself. You can’t outsource this step either I’m afraid; it’s time to deep dive.
1What is your ‘Why?’
You’ve probably seen the Simon Sinek talk on ‘Why’ (if you haven’t, you should take five minutes and watch it), and it might feel a bit beaten to death by now, but the truth is, it works.
Take a step back from the busyness of business, and remember why you started your business to begin with (and no, it’s wasn’t just to make money).
What gets you out of bed in the morning and makes you put up with the stress of running a business? Maybe you want to leave a legacy for your kids one day, or you’re driven to make a difference in people’s lives, or you simply want to stick it to the current fat cats of industry.
Whatever your why, this passion and single-minded focus will drip through everything you do in your business, and will reach your customers’ heart – which, in turn, will make them reach for their wallets. If you lose this, your customers will start to feel something is off, or lacking.
Unpack this with your team and share your passion with them. Encourage them to find their own why. Get back to basics and it will motivate everything you do.
2What is your best selling product / service?
You might have an instinctive feel for what works and what doesn’t work in your business, but when the stakes are this high and the economy so unpredictable, instinct can only take you so far.
3No, really, what is your best selling product / service?
So, there are two ways to approach this.
- Brainstorm with your team – they are the ones at the coal face and know what your customers are voting for right now.
- Secondly, and more reliably, use business software or BOS for numbers to see which products or services are flourishing. Then you can optimise your activities to make sure your resources are all focused on work that will deliver the best financial returns.
4Why do people buy from you?
It might surprise you when you find out why your customers choose you above your competitors.
It might be because it’s convenient for them, or because of your great location or reliable support, and not for your product or service as you’ve hoped. Invest time and resources into finding out why they do business with you. You could send a quick survey to your customer base with SurveyMonkey, or you could hire an experienced marketing agency to do it all for you. The findings will inform your messaging and strategy.
Invest Here: Sales and Lead Generation Strategy
If you want to grow, ask yourself if you are willing to invest something into your growth strategy. Improving leads and sales is less ‘spray and pray’ – increasing your marketing budget to the masses, and hoping you hit target – but has more to do with strategic and tactical focus.
1Who is your ideal customer?
If you want to increase sales, a laser-focused approach is required. Who do you want as your customer? Identify and then prioritise this customer profile and focus your energy on making every interaction with your business as attractive to them as possible.
2Who has access to your ideal customer?
It might not be as difficult as you think to reach your ideal customer. Identify businesses that already have access to your ideal customer – businesses that offer complimentary, not competitive, services or products – and see if you can reach a mutual understanding. For example, a florist’s most profitable product is wedding bouquets.
It would make sense for them to contact a wedding planner – same customer profile, different service. You can assure them that when a new wedding bouquet client approaches you, you will refer that client to their business as well, if they will do the same for you. A trusted referral holds more sway than an impersonal ad.
3How do I sell more to my existing customer?
Strategise on how you can upsell, cross sell, down sell to customers. Even just offering another product or service will result in an additional purchase. Remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t get.
- Upsell – Where you persuade a customer to buy a better, more expensive package or product.
- Cross sell – Where you persuade a customer to buy a different product or service in a similar category.
- Down sell – Offering a more affordable product or service to the client than the one they have just declined, until the right fit is found.
- Resources – Anything worthwhile costs time and money. If you want more sales, invest in trusted sales strategy resources. The great news is, unlike ‘Know Thyself’, this step can be outsourced. I like Blue Flame for this. It has tried and tested, no BS sales and lead generating strategies for SME’s that work. Or seek out a business coach with a strong sales and business acumen. The bottom line is, it is worth investing in a sales strategy if you want to grow your business.
- People – The best product you can offer your customer is a team that is engaged and knowledgeable. This starts with hiring the right people, and training the people you have. Blue Flame once again offers insight into hiring and training your team. BOS’s resource planning tools allow you to track your sales team’s productivity, and gives you access to real-time data and reporting. Remember, if your business development strategy can’t be measured accurately, it’s near useless.
There you have it. With these tips and resources, your business should grow by 1% at a minimum every month.