It’s no fun running a business in survival mode. After a while the sleepless nights, lack of a social life and the feeling that every decision is a massive gamble are no longer justified by the buzz of bringing your brilliant concept to the world. Finding a way to get your company to the point where you’re not only comfortable, but flourishing, is the holy grail for many small business owners. Is there a secret trick that guarantees success? Probably not – but asking those who have already been there is almost certainly a useful place to start.
So, how many business growth experts do you have in your phone book? Right, thought so. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up several individuals who have successfully grown their companies, and asked them to give us their best advice for other business owners. Byron Rawlings, founder of The Blogger Programme, reckons that tapping into your own internal resources and existing contacts is an effective way to reach a wider audience. As he explains, he put this idea to good use when starting out with his platform, which now has more than 30,000 registered bloggers and sees 1,000 new registrations per month…
Watch the full interview here:
Watch the full Growth Hacking Videos Series.
Know where your target audience is
This might sound pretty basic, but all too often small companies miss the mark when trying to reach new customers. There are two things that can cause this – not correctly identifying who’ll be interested in your offering, and failing to find them through the channels that they’re using. You’ll get nowhere if you’re sending the right message to the wrong people, so it’s vital that you do this part well.
The Blogger Programme is a platform that puts brands in direct contact with bloggers and influencers who have a similar customer base. Companies can use the platform to create campaigns and promote their products and services through these influencers. When setting up his business, Byron identified these groups and found a brilliantly creative way to connect them with a minimal budget, while simultaneously promoting his own business and demonstrating how effective the concept can be. In his own words, “we had to think outside of the box, and use the resources we had to try and create marketing campaigns to get out into the communities and the networks we wanted to reach.”
Having drafted two influencers into his team, Byron used their connections to create a relationship with other bloggers and influencers, who were an important part of his target audience. He did this by sending beautiful hampers for YouTube influencers to unbox. They were so pleased with these gifts that they took to their public platforms to talk about The Blogger Programme; of course it helped that they liked the concept, which is a win-win solution for all concerned. Byron now had instant access to the other side of his customer base – the brands who would be using the service – who had just received an endorsement from a trusted third party.
If you want to take advantage of your existing resources, it’s important that you’re aware of what they are and have the ability to find new and effective ways of using them. This is not always easy, and not everyone will have a brainwave like Byron’s. Coming up with great ideas on your own is not always easy, so it’s advisable that you work with your team to do this. Creativity should be encouraged and nurtured, which means that people shouldn’t feel that they’ll come under criticism if they express their ideas – as the adage goes, the only bad idea is the one you kept to yourself; even a so-called bad idea can be the seed for a good one in someone else.
It might not be new and exciting, but brainstorming is still a highly useful technique for developing creativity within a team. It’s more effective to start with the most crazy, impractical and unrealistic solutions and then whittle them down to what’s really possible than to err on the side of caution and remain within the box, which can lead to good, implementable ideas being missed.
Use what you’ve got
Aside from applying a bit of initiative to take advantage of existing strengths, The Blogger Programme’s story is also a great example of how a business can create connections with new customers through influencer marketing. Perhaps none of your contacts have a positive and trusted relationship with your target audience, but you probably have something of value if you stop and take stock – whether that be skills, connections, resources or something else.
A good starting point is to sit down, take the time to really figure out what you have, and brainstorm creative ways to use this to best effect. It’s important that you’re not afraid to try something bold or different from how you do things now – in fact, that might just be exactly what you need.