If you’ve gone through the process of setting up a business and getting it running successfully, you’ll know that this is no mean feat. It doesn’t stop there though, because the next step – achieving sustainable growth – can often be even tougher.
To help you on your way, we’ve put together a collection of top tips from five successful business owners, based on their personal experiences of growing their own companies.
Watch the full video at the bottom of the article’
Tip 1: Ask yourself tough questions
Peter Czapp, Co-founder of The Wow Company
Because his accountancy firm’s clients are all small businesses, Peter has developed a fascination with how companies grow – so it’s no wonder that he’s got a thing or two to say about this process.
According to Peter, the companies that see the most impressive growth are those who ask the right questions; this may require you to change your thinking. The kinds of questions Peter suggests you ask yourself are:
- If you had to achieve your five-year plans in just one year, what would you do?
- If money were no object, what would you do to grow your business?
- If you had no money at all, what would you do?
- What single thing will make the biggest difference to you achieving your growth plans?
Peter believes that asking these questions will be the best way to accelerate your growth, because it will force you to be creative and focus on the things that matter.
Tip 2: Keep your focus
Paul Halliwell, Founding MD of TalkTalk
Paul believes that the most important requirement for expanding a business is focus – it’s very easy to get caught up in things that are of little importance while neglecting aspects that are crucial to your success.
For example, are the most important individuals in your company doing tasks that play to their strengths, or are their talents being wasted on little jobs that someone else could do? Of course, making changes in this area could leave some important tasks undone – but if you bring someone in to do these jobs, you’ll be giving your key people the freedom to really boost the value of your business in the longer term.
Read more: How keeping focus can boost your business
Tip 3: Be fanatical about the data you collect
Alex Farrell, Founder of Gift Wink
Alex says that online, data is everything, so being particular about what data you collect and how you use it is key to optimising sales. Her advice is to be obsessive about how you collect, categorise and use customer data
Alex gives the example of her former company, The IT Job Board, where she was able to profile mailing list subscribers by inserting a selection of keyword-based links into promotional emails. Based on the links recipients clicked on, they would then receive a new email that fit with their preferences and included a new selection of keyword links to filter them further. As this process unfolded, Alex was able to create an increasingly detailed idea of each subscribers’ preferences, which allowed her to send them targeted emails that had a much higher chance of converting them to paying customers.
Tip 4: Be creative when interacting with your customers
Matt Martin, Founder of Retro Mountain
Using publicity stunts to gain awareness is not a new concept, but getting it right can be a challenge. Matt Martin of Retro Mountain paraded a mannequin called ‘Fist-bump Freddie’ around London to get people talking about his company’s brand of retro ski wear – and it worked, with web traffic and social media mentions going through the roof.
Matt acknowledges that this approach isn’t guaranteed to work, but he maintains that with a combination of creativity and boldness, success can be achieved. His advice is to try everything once, as you’ve got nothing to lose.
Tip 5: Use your internal resources
Byron Rawlings, Founder of The Blogger Programme
Byron suggests that owners of small companies look at what they already have and use it creatively to reach out to customers. When he started out with The Blogger Programme, he had a very small budget, so he had to get creative in order to make an impact on his target audience of bloggers, influencers, and the brands who wanted to use them to promote themselves.
The way he did this with was to send hampers to bloggers with YouTube channels, with a note about The Blogger Programme. This clever trick left a positive impression on the bloggers, who then promoted the company through their channels, thus also reaching out to the brands who might be interested in connecting with them.
Find an approach that works for you
These growth hacks should help you get started when it comes to figuring out how to grow your business. However, you should be aware that every company is different – what these individuals have in common is that they found an approach that worked for them and fit in with their way of doing things.
The tips above are laced with gold dust, but remember that in order to achieve the growth you desire, it simply isn’t enough to blindly copy what others have done. You’ll certainly benefit from using the tips as a starting point, but ultimately you’ll need to find a way to achieve your goals that’s appropriate for you, your customers and your circumstances.
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