How To Grow A Small Business
The Ultimate Guide On How To Grow A Small Company
Hey, I’m Evan, and I’m the founder of Caffeine Marketing. We’re a digital marketing agency in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in growing small companies in maturity and revenue. If at any point you’ve got questions or would like coaching, reach out!
If you’re like most business owners, your biggest fear at this point is not growing or going out of business. No matter where you land on that spectrum, we’ve got some helpful tips you can implement today to ensure those don't happen and instead efficiently scale your business.
Holistic thinking is the key to unlocking meaningful growth. Think of everything as branding. Every phone call, every email, every blog, handshake, smile, etc. it’s all branding. One of our clients is a Mexican restaurant with locations all across the Atlanta metro area, and we’ve begun to implement this idea with them. Their food is incredible because they use the freshest ingredients and we’d like to think we’re crushing their marketing and branding, but they are still not growing. So what’s the issue?
It turns out their customer service was pretty poor. The past few weeks they’ve put a heavy emphasis on this and are implementing new training programs as well as trying to change the current culture. You might think, "well, of course, it’s a restaurant, and it makes sense that customer service would turn people away." But think for a minute about yourself and your business. How long do you take to respond to emails and messages? How do your clients feel while working with you? Do you stand behind your product? What is the experience like when people receive your product and how does your client onboarding process feel? Are you providing your customers more value than you’re asking for in return? Do you give your clients confidence and increase their overall well being? How well do your treat you contractors and employees?
Everything you do factors into growing your business. It may not be your primary product (like food), but it’s something people expect (excellent service). Increase your customer lifetime value by seeing every angle of your business as branding and a key to growth.
One of the hardest things to do when you work for or run a business is working on the company itself. We get that, but to go further faster, you need to look at what you've already got. Most times it’s beneficial to have an objective view of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. If you want that, we can help. Just reach out.
In the meantime, I’m going to give you some practical questions to ask yourself to get started.
Are you running the business or is it running you?
One of the common traps of owning a business is letting it run you. The key to reaching the next level is trusting other people to do what you are currently doing. You can not scale if you don’t empower other people to do jobs for you. Trust more to your employees or outsource certain activities that you shouldn’t be doing anymore. Often with the entrepreneurs we work with, we train them to do Social Media marketing because they can’t afford our services yet. Once they grow, they will hire us to do the work we taught them to do so they can focus on their business.
Can you reduce costs?
Once a quarter, look at your expenses. Are you spending money anywhere you don’t need to be?
Can you automate?
Take a day or two and focus on your company and your personal activities. Is there anywhere that you’re doing tasks that someone else, or a computer, can do?
Can you improve timing?
Can you decrease your turn around time. Pursing lean manufacturing, or just merely improving team communication and project management are good places to start.
Refining your message and upgrading your branding
The primary reason people buy anything is due to the words they read and hear. Do you struggle in explaining what you do? If you struggle telling people what you do and why it would benefit them, can you imagine what it feels like for potential clients or customers who aren't in your line of business? If you need help clarifying your message, we’d love to help. Imagine how many people come in contact with your company, and give up on understanding it within seconds because you aren’t clear on what you do and why it benefits them.
To get even more practical, the way you present your message should not be about you. It should be about your customer and helping them get what they want. You can send everyone in the world to your website, but if they don’t understand what you do and how it helps them within seconds, you’ve lost.
Second, your products and services could be amazing, but your branding can make people think otherwise. Great branding will increase the perceived value of your product as well as customer lifetime value.
Beyond seeing everything as branding, it might be time to invest in better photos, videos, website, and design. If you need help with that, we’d love to take you to the next level.
Increase your customer LTV
There are some straightforward ways to do this. “Why does this help?” you might ask. It’s simple; you can have the same amount of customers/clients and make more money.
Offer different products/services with the existing ones.
Create retargeting ads.
Send a monthly email newsletter providing people value.
Make your branding better.
Improve retention rates for clients.
Increase the return rate of customers by offering quality products.
Provide better service.
Improve your social media content.
Upgrade your marketing
What are you currently using for marketing? Most times TV, radio, and print are bad investments for small businesses. The price is too high and it isn’t easy for a customer to move from that medium to working with you. The only case where these marketing investments might be a good option is if you are a larger company that’s tapped out digital marketing and would like to increase your brand awareness. It’s simply about getting your brand in front of people, but don’t expect to drive many conversion.
If you’ve got a pretty small budget, I would suggest you stick with Facebook/Instagram marking. I’m not suggesting boosting/promoting a post because those are about as effective as a radio ad. I would recommend running strategically targeted advertisements with an excellent strategy for paid marketing. Doing so will deliver the highest return for your investment. If you're not sure how to do that, we’d love to do it for you or teach you how.
If you have a high margin product, it might be a good idea to explore Google Keywords at this point. After that, I would suggest YouTube Pre-Roll and continue with keyword searches. Pursuing this should only happen if you’re already tapping out your social media advertising.
Also, all of this can be ineffective if you do not have great messaging and creative. Chances are if people do not understand or are not compelled visually to see what you offer, you’ve lost. Also, keep in mind that the majority of people have quite a short attention span.