The early stages of a business are in equal parts exciting and daunting. If you’re an entrepreneur, you might already be wracking your brain, wondering how you can take your business to the next level. Even if things are going well, growth grinding to a halt is a very real fear. And the thought of spinning your wheels while your competition powers full steam ahead is frustrating.
There are endless ways to kickstart your business’ growth, but in this article I’ll go over just a few. Make no mistake, you can’t wave a magic wand and expect to be a market leader overnight. Growing a company takes years of blood, sweat and tears, but these tips will help set you on the road to success.
Find your USP
Every successful business has something it does better than anyone else. Find out what yours is, ideally before you even go to market, and you will be in a great place for growth.
A unique selling point can be as simple as offering cheaper products, higher quality services or working to a quick turnaround. The idea doesn’t have to be ground-breaking. Innovations in supply chain and technology can go a long way on the journey to startup growth.
However, that does not downplay the importance of a traditional USP. If you do something unique or eye-catching that other companies don’t, consumers will notice. An example is Andrew Nisbet, who founded catering supplier Nisbets. He noticed the opportunity to provide catering college students with chefs’ uniforms and utensils at a time when there was no central place for them to purchase the items they needed.
Even a company slogan can go a long way. There’s a reason De Beers have used “Diamonds are forever” since 1948 – because it works. They have perfectly summed up the idea that their products last a lifetime, like the feelings they are meant to symbolise. Get inside your customer’s head. Understand why they buy things and what would make them purchase your product over any others. Only then will your company start to grow.
Know your market
Understanding the space your business occupies in the market goes hand in hand with finding your USP. If you want consistent, sustainable growth, you will only achieve it with the right know-how at your disposal.
To really keep your finger on the pulse of your industry, you should regularly conduct market research. This will allow you to better plan for the future and mitigate risks. If you are armed with the knowledge that your new product will be well-received, or that there is demand for a service in an area that you don’t currently operate in, then you will be much more confident with expansion. Understanding your market makes innovation easy.
Knowing your competitors is also vital to business growth. Seeing the success and failures of other companies can provide great inspiration on what you should and shouldn’t do. Competitor analysis is helpful to understand your weaknesses when compared to other businesses, which can help you counter their competitive advantage and drive your own growth.
Build customer loyalty
If you want your business to grow, you need customers. Building a core of loyal consumers is essential if you want to take your company to the next level.
One way of doing this is to provide them with exceptional customer service. If you go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to customers using your products, then there’s no doubt they will give you return business. It also just makes good marketing sense, because they will no doubt tell their friends or leave good reviews online.
Another way to build customer loyalty is to make a product they can’t live without. Apple are the kings of this. People know what they are getting when they buy their products. They pride themselves on customer satisfaction and technological innovation. The tech industry often refers to Apple’s ecosystem as a ‘walled garden’, where every one of their products works symbiotically, thus making it harder for users to choose something else.
This is what you have to do if you want to keep loyal customers. Make it infeasible for them to choose any other product, whether that’s because of cost, quality or a certain special characteristic that your products have. In-depth understanding