Winter is slowly but surely coming to an end, and the year has been rough for many small business owners. Not so long ago, South Africa faced civil unrest, which resulted in many businesses losing a lot in a dark cloud of looting and arson.
But, it’s not all gloom and doom. We believe there are still opportunities for many SMEs to grow their businesses with the right tools, advice, and team. If you buckle down, clear your mind, and put everything into perspective, you can identify ways to grow your business and make more money quickly.
Here are 8 simple ways to grow your small business this spring:
1. Ask for referrals
When you’re getting back into the swing of things, your main priority should be increasing your clientele. One effective way of doing this is to ask your current customer base for referrals. See it like this: if you ask your current customer base to refer your store to their circle of friends, you are more likely to grow your clientele without breaking the bank.
Here are a few things you can do today to further increase your clientele:
- Ask your satisfied customers if they know anyone who would be interested in your products or services.
- Boost your referral efforts with a discount code.
- Motivate your customers to share and tag your brand on social media.
- Respond courteously when you get negative feedback, and thank those who take the time to speak positively about your business.
2. Recapture existing customers
Let’s make it clear, getting new customers is one of many ways to grow your business. Studies show that improving your customer retention strategy increases the value of any business. So, the customers you have today are your best bet for expanding your business sales tomorrow.
Whatever you do, ensure that your customers experience amazing service when they enter your store, purchase your product, or use your service; this increases the chances of a second visit and an additional sale.
3. Create a customer loyalty program for your small business
Loyalty programs are an effective way to retain customers and increase revenue. Research has shown that it’s far more cost-effective to sell something to an existing customer base than to a new one.
Loyalty programs are favoured by brands big and small because they can help increase sales and attract new customers with ease. If there is a clear incentive to spend more money with you, it will pay off in the long run.
Make sure your customer loyalty program gives your shoppers what they are constantly looking for: added value. When designing your loyalty program, consider including these five characteristics:
- Encourages repeat purchases
4. Attend networking events
You know the old saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? Well, that has never been more true than today. Putting yourself and your business out there is an excellent way to meet new people and collaborate with them. It’s great for building business relationships, and it allows you to encourage your new business contacts to refer your business to their customers.
Attending events like trade shows and expos can help you grow your business and establish yourself as a leader in your local industry.
What’s great about these events is that they draw people who are already interested in the type of product or service you are offering. You can directly talk and promote your business to a large group of people who are guaranteed to be in your target audience. Trade shows and expos also give you the advantage of in-person interaction, which, if done right, can increase your ability to connect with and convert potential customers.
5. Measure what works and refine your approach as you go
Another approach you should consider is measuring what works. Find out where your customers are coming from to determine whether your marketing strategy is working or not. Do not be afraid to try new things; experiment and see what works. If something is not working, put on your marketing cap and refine your strategy, and then double down on the activities that give you the results you want.
6. Reward your team when they meet or exceed expectations
Rewarding your dedicated employees for delivering on time, meeting their budgets, and providing exceptional customer service is something to consider. The easiest way to keep them motivated for doing a great job is to reward them with a bonus. If you’re a small business, giving your team a small monetary reward can pay off in the long run.
Push your employees to be bold and to take calculated risks. Some of these risks will pan out, some of them won’t. If you only put your eggs in one basket, you may miss out on opportunities that improve revenue growth.
7. Be part of the social media conversation
Another great way to help your business bloom in spring is to grow your business profiles on all major social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. A bustling profile allows customers to find your business effortlessly, and they are more likely to share your business profile with their friends. It also allows you to market your business better and interact with a wider net of potential customers. You will also create a more engaging experience for your audience, which, in turn, enables them to feel more connected to your brand, which cultivates trust.
Social media is a powerful and effective tool to use when promoting your business to potential customers. Social media allows you to gain valuable insights through something called ‘social listening’. Social listening is the activity of analysing the conversations, engagements and trends around your brand and industry to evaluate how your brand is performing in the eyes of your chosen field.
Through social listening, you can get to know what your customers want, what they are saying about your business, collect insight on their behaviour, spot keywords and trends that appeal to them, and enhance your customer service experience.
8. Use a point of sale system to run your small business
Manually keeping track of daily transactions is difficult and no one wants to do it. It can be too big of a task as the business grows. Remove the burden of manual labour and work with a cloud-based POS system that works for you.
If you’re looking to grow your business, then the best thing you can do is buy (or get for free) a point of sale system that allows you to speed up your purchase transaction, strengthen efficiency, track staff actions, manage your stock with ease, understand your business’s ROI, and accurately report your business performance.
While success isn’t guaranteed overnight, progress will come with continued efforts. Be courageous, be patient, and keep refining your strategy until your business blooms.
Winston Churchill once said: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”