5 Ways to Grow Your Business in 2017
Help your business take the next step with these 5 tips.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
1. Create a content strategy with one bullet point.
In the article, How Donald Trump and Science Can Help Your Content Convert More Leads and Sales, I discuss and explain that repetition and familiarity are the keys to a successful content strategy that drives in business. However, before you can drive in those new leads, you need to develop a content strategy! Wait! Don't freak out! Here is a basic content strategy you can use.
How to do it:
- Every week write a 700-word blog post (something that helps educate and engage your target audience)
- Share that link via your primary social channels.
This might seem simple, but why shouldn't it be? When most small business owners associate some unattainable path of vast articles, videos, podcasts with the concept of content strategy, and it sounds so overwhelming that you quit before you start.
Keep it simple! And, when you are successful, expand your strategy after you build in a weekly habit to execute your first bullet point.
2. Incorporate webinars.
A great way to breed trust, build credibility and immediately position yourself as an industry thought leader are webinars. The relationship you can create spawns an affinity between the audience and the speaker.
How to do it:
- Think about a "how-to" topic that you can speak about confidently and that your market would want to learn.
- Create a simple outline of your "how-to" webinar. Incorporate these elements:
- Start with a quick, general introduction (on the topic, yourself and your company).
- Discuss the agenda (what is it they are going to learn?).
- Get into the "how-to" of your presentation.
- After the main portion of your presentation, let your audience know about any upcoming events (including your next webinar). Also, let them know you will be sending them an email with the PowerPoint you used (or whatever supplemental documents you mentioned during your presentation).
- Send the email and build relationships!
The relationships you build will have a great chance of turning into working partnerships.
3. Tighten up your internal operations.
There is life after marketing and sales. How you run your business can increase your revenue and grow your business as well.
How does improving your internal operations increase revenue and support the growth of your business?
Think of your internal operations, which are all the activities you perform after a sale is made, to a large industrial candy producing machine. This machine, if running flawlessly, can create 10,000 pieces of candy per hour, which could service 100 clients. This machine is the lifeblood of your organization. However, your company hasn't been keeping up with repairs and regular inspections haven't been made. It's been neglected, used and abused, and now, it only produces 5,000 pieces of candy per hour, which means you max your customer base at 50.
From an outsider's perspective, wouldn't you be yelling at the top of your lungs to this owner to "get your machine inspected and improved to work at maximum capacity!"
What a well-maintained, inspected and efficient internal operations looks like:
- Very little waste in the process. Only those steps that are needed are taken to accomplish a task or achieve a needed outcome. Well-run processes allow for a sustainable model that allows for growth as your processes experience less failure, less process time, less work-arounds, less effort and overview from your employees.
- Little to no workarounds. There is no need for your employees to engage tirelessly in other ways to get a job done by working around the current, outdated process. This breeds higher employee satisfaction.
- More predictable outcomes. Employees don't have to anticipate and wait for something to potentially break. Instead, they are carrying on the work in the proper flow and are confident in the process.
- Systems are maintained and inspected to ensure they are working properly.
- There is immediate support for anything that does break so there is less downtime.
- You have up-to-date contingency plans for failures in major processes. Customers shouldn't have to wait because you didn't plan well.
How to do it:
Hire a second pair of eyes (something evolvor.com can help with!). You can't get internal hands to do this because they either don't have the skills or they're so engrossed in your culture and environment that they can't see the real issues.
After a thorough analysis, recommendations to improve your operations will emerge!
4. Create a small add-on service to upsell.
This helps when there is feedback from your customers, or you ask your front-line staff to provide you feedback on what the customer asks for that you do not already provide. But, what little extra thing, service, etc. can you offer to produce more revenue for your business that your customers would like?
Don't feel you are trying to squeeze a few more dollars from your customer, but think about this in terms of what additional value can you provide to your customer to help cultivate a longer-term relationship. If someone is willing to buy it, that means they need it, and you are just fulfilling a need.
How to do it:
Here are some general ideas to help you brainstorm up-sell opportunities:
- Super-size it!
- Create a bigger, brighter, faster, longer, taller, etc. product or service and offer as a product/service tier option.
- Add optional service options
- Offer a support period for a product
- Offer additional oversight, guidance, once a service is complete
With each sale, offer a discount on another product or service. Think creatively and leverage your existing products/services to upsell.
5. Give 100 percent commission (service-, business- or subscription-based products).
Just hear me out.
If your subscription product or your month-over-month general services are not awful, and your attrition rate isn't astronomically high, consider 100 percent commission on first-month sale revenue. If your offering is good, the golden goose here is the lifetime value of your customer. If your current customer base has been a loyal one and been with you for months, or even years, chances are you have a fabulous solution that doesn't require sucking every penny possible from your sales team, but rather giving them a big incentive to build your client base.
The lifetime value of your customer should be what you are focusing on, and not strictly on the cost of acquiring the customer, especially with your sales team's pay.
How to do it:
Change your incentive model from the current commission percentage to 100 percent commission and explain why you are doing it. Keep those communication channels open and honest!
You have an opportunity to grow your business in 2017. It doesn't have to be substantial growth, but a small incremental advancement in your business not only provides more revenue for you but more value to your customers. Work on strengthening the core of your business, while expanding your reach in the market.