How to grow your business
DURBAN - Respected writers in the field of business growth agree that there are three main ways for a business to grow.
These are: get more customers, sell more products to existing customers, and increase back-end sales. When you consider business growth, answer questions such as: why should customers buy from you?
Allow me to discuss some of the principles of how to grow your business:
Attract more customers
There are many different approaches to attracting more customers. The one thing all the different approaches have in common is that they must either satisfy an existing demand or create a new one. Supply and demand are key considerations when it comes to attracting customers. One of the greatest marketing mistakes businesses make is to fail to focus on the needs of their prospects or customers. Your customers are those people who buy from you at least once. That said, one of the ways you can extend your business is to get more and more people to buy from you or use your services at least once.
Develop a marketing plan
The spray and pray approach does not reap rewards in this age of intelligent consumers. Creating or satisfying a demand involves more than a trial and error method. With consideration for the product or service you have to offer, you need to meticulously plan how to satisfy an existing need or how to create one.
The plan need not be complicated. A simple, straightforward marketing plan can achieve this objective. However, the plan must be specific enough to provide the necessary focus and yet be flexible enough to adapt to the fast-changing environment. If marketing planning is not your area of strength, it might be wise to consult with external marketing experts. Remember that no person can know your business better than you do. In consulting marketing gurus, look for practical solutions and not just academic pie in the sky.
Sell customers more products
Customers who buy more products from you are more profitable than those who buy just one product. It is considered to be five times easier and much less expensive to sell to existing customers rather than to find new ones. It is a sound strategy to focus your energies and time on creatively finding new ways to sell more products to existing customers.
Existing customers respond positively when asked for additional business or even referrals to new customers. Have you noticed how big business has found and continues to find ways of selling new products and services to their existing customers? Some of the products and services were previously not even considered to be the core business for those big businesses. Selling new products and services to existing customers really works. What additional products and services can you sell to your customers today?
Focus on adding value
I know this has become a cliché. Just what is adding value in this context? Adding value occurs when the service provider suggests additional products or services that dovetail with the selection already made. What add-on services do you have that enhance customer experience? At its simplest form, adding value could even be about making doing business with you convenient and easy, thereby giving your busy customer the precious gift of time.
Train, train and train some more
Staff training is vital in order for value-adding opportunities to be recognised and exploited. Selling customers additional products or services will require staff who can bring those products and services to the attention of the customers with a great deal of knowledge and excitement.
Some argue that training is time-consuming and too expensive. Recent research studies indicate that it is six times more expensive not to train than to train. Costs associated with training are almost outweighed by the benefits of well trained and skilled staff. Training makes people feel confident and good about themselves. People who feel good about themselves are more productive than people who don’t.
Increase back-end sales
As your customer base increases and your relationship and trust with those customers improves, you will start to recognise other services that might not be directly associated with your business, which your customers would value and be prepared to pay for through you. Often when this happens, your main task is to advertise this additional service or product and then act as the go-between, linking customer and supplier. That product or service, although provided by another party, would benefit your customers and you. Through increased customer loyalty and commissions paid to you by the third-party provider your revenue grows and you have retained your customers.
Put your customers first. Customer centricity goes beyond just giving your customer the best experience at the front. It is about the entire experience, pre-sale, during sale and post-sale. Look at what you sell from the perspective of the customer. Business is too competitive to allow your attention to lapse. More than 90 percent of small business failures stem directly from managerial weaknesses. Your business will stand or fall on your strength.
Futhi Cabe, WesBank Head of SME Segment
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE