Even while we all want to start 2022 off on the right foot, many small companies (SMBs) still face significant challenges. You’re not alone if you’re having trouble with poor business performance. On multiple fronts, start-ups and entrepreneurs of all kinds have been feeling the pinch, but important growth methods can help you re-energize sales and drive growth.
To begin, let’s look at some of the current issues facing small businesses. For one thing, widely known hiccups in the global supply chain have disproportionately impacted small enterprises. As larger companies purchase up available supplies of just about everything from cardboard to food containers, many businesses are scrambling to locate new suppliers.
In addition, the fast-expanding labor shortage has had a significant impact on small firms. More than half of small firms (51%) claimed they couldn’t fill all of their job opportunities in Q4 2021. A staggering 92 percent of those surveyed indicated they received few if any, competent applications to fill job openings. And, as the pandemic stretches on into a new year, it’s easy to become frustrated by the world’s uncertainties.
However, it’s critical to keep focused on your long-term business goals for all of these reasons and more. Here are six ways to jump-start your business growth strategy during the next 12 months, whether your firm is new or well-established.
- Market penetration: Increase your market share
One of the most effective small business growth techniques is to increase market share, often known as market penetration. Essentially, the goal is to sell more of your present products or to advertise a new product successfully. There are numerous approaches to achieving this goal. For instance, you may provide existing customers with a free trial or a discount on new services. You can also give discounts on larger purchases or lower the price to compete with a similar service from a competitor.
Although it may seem undesirable at first, decreasing costs can be a useful short-term expansion strategy for businesses that sell similar products to their competitors. This market penetration strategy, for example, can help enterprises with somewhat generic products (such as household cleaning supplies).
If you are unable to expand or develop your product line and must continue to promote existing products, you may need to make them more appealing by offering free incentives or discounts on future purchases.
Should provide existing clients with a free trial or discounted pricing for new services. You can also give discounts on larger purchases or lower the price to compete with a similar service from a competitor.
- Market development: Attract new customers (and retain existing ones)
You may be an expert at keeping current clients, but how about gaining new ones? You could be missing out on a lucrative market if you don’t have a market development strategy in place to reach out to new clients. This is especially critical if existing product sales have plateaued or if you want to expand your market to a new location or demographic.
Unless a company develops new markets for its products and services, sales and earnings are likely to decrease. This is especially true during the Covid era when many old methods of selling and purchasing items have changed as a result of safety procedures and supply chain disruptions.
Consider a local gym that was compelled to close its doors at the start of the pandemic. The gym rapidly switched its lessons online to keep its existing membership. To compete with lower-cost fitness apps, it has built a vast collection of on-demand workout videos. However, the gym needed to recruit more members to boost revenue, so it devised several “pandemic bonuses” to entice people to join. A gift card to the gym’s wellness shop was included (with the added benefit of enhancing the shop’s sales). New members received discounts on socially distanced personal training and small, in-person group programs, which were not available through generic fitness apps.
As a result, rather than losing members as a result of Covid, the gym boosted its client base by competing against impersonal fitness apps by utilizing its local facilities and specialized resources.
- Alternative channels: Expand your online footprint
One of the most effective ways to expand a business is to use alternate channels. Many business owners already use prominent social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to market their firms. However, you should think about how different channels can help you reach a new target market by delivering a consistent brand experience.
Some marketing channels are unavoidable for any company. Email marketing, social media, and your company’s website and blog are the top three. It’s worth noting that more than a quarter of small firms (28 percent) don’t have a website. Those that do frequently struggle to keep it up. Customers want more than “brochure-ware,” even though template-based web design tools have made it much easier to build a new website. They want to be able to make safe purchases, communicate with customer service, and complete other transactions without having to visit different websites.
This is where the concept of omnichannel marketing comes into play. This strategy goes well beyond having a website and a few social media accounts. Companies can contact customers wherever they are and deliver what they want via any channel, platform, or device thanks to omnichannel marketing. Instead of relying just on the corporate website, your organization might provide service via Facebook Messenger, email, live chat, and phone. Customers can make direct purchases without leaving your website if your Amazon store is directly linked to it.
Best of all, by appealing to the behaviors of multichannel buyers, this strategy can help you improve sales. This is a rapidly expanding segment of the population that conducts thorough research across numerous media before purchasing something. According to certain research, omnichannel consumers spend an average of 13% more than other customers, which is why this key demographic should be included in your target audience.
While most business owners recognize the value of having several marketing channels, it might appear to be a difficult process. The good news is that integrated marketing automation technologies can help many time-strapped small business owners simplify management. These technologies make it simple to acquire qualified leads automatically, send highly targeted email campaigns, track results, and improve future campaigns.
- Product expansion: Refresh or renew your offerings
If sales are down, it may be time to review your product development lifecycle to evaluate how your features and prices stack up against those of your competitors.
You can always profit from a product evaluation, even if your product line has been on the market for months or even years. Here are some crucial things to consider to figure out why your product isn’t selling and how to make necessary changes to increase sales in new and existing markets:
- Have you recently examined new market research? Have any market factors surfaced that might have an impact on demand for your current products or services?
- When was the last time you reviewed your product marketing strategy? Perhaps the value proposition and key messaging of the product are no longer relevant to your current market.
- How does your product stack up against the competition? At the same price, do they provide more features or better quality?
- Are you paying attention to client comments and reviews? How frequently do you assess customer service inquiries to see which product or service features cause the most problems? On review sites like Yelp and Google, what do customers have to say about your services?
You can then decide how to proceed by doing a forensic assessment of your product line, which includes features, quality, market changes, and competitive issues. This could mean retiring or upgrading old products, offering new products, or developing a new market strategy that appeals to current and potential customers.
- Market segmentation: Target customers with laser-like precision
Another small business growth method is market segmentation. Rather than lumping all of your consumers into one big group, you may segment and market to them based on specific aspects like customer preferences, purchase history, interests, geographic region, and other attributes. These segments enable you to design highly targeted and customized campaigns with a substantially greater success rate.
Market segmentation can also be used to compete more successfully in a huge market with a congested playing field. Rather than casting a wide net, you may employ specialized market research to determine the most important buyer personas for your products and services. Email surveys, website analytics, and purchase histories may be used in this research to elicit unique consumer attributes and preferences that may be used to inform your email and social media marketing efforts.
Although this process may appear to be complex and time-consuming, sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) technologies can help you automate most of the hard lifting. The correct CRM platform can assist you in developing a robust data strategy for segmenting your customer base using visual, simple KPIs. To verify that your diversification plan is reaching your objectives, you can track results and adapt marketing strategies.
- Partnerships: Join forces with complementary businesses
Let’s face it: small firms don’t often develop through large-scale acquisitions and mergers like large corporations do. So, how can a tiny business develop in a scalable, revenue-generating manner?
Sometimes the most practical avenue for small business growth is to join forces with another company. Partnerships may give additional resources in terms of labor, skill sets, knowledge, equipment, or technology, depending on your business type. Alternatively, it may just allow both companies to develop into new markets without directly competing with one another.
Plumbers and electricians, for example, might create a partnership to help each other gain a larger portion of the market by offering complimentary construction services as a package. By removing the need to discover and contract with numerous providers, customers save time, money, and potential building delays.
Give your company a new lease on life.
You may quickly increase your small business growth in the months ahead by adopting some or all of these six methods. Even if a pandemic is ongoing, you can still grow your market share, generate income, and remain ahead of the competition – all while satisfying customers with exceptional products and services.
A well-executed market growth strategy can give the outcomes you want regardless of the type of organization you manage. The possibilities are infinite when combined with a fully integrated CRM and marketing automation platform.