Here are 5 different ways to grow your business. Reality is you only need the first one.
Before I get started I just want to let you know that “cutting costs” is never one of the ways to Grow your Business.
Many years ago when I was still employed in a large Corporation we would hear from our CEO or CFO “everyone needs to work together to “cut costs”” and we knew this was code for “no more birthday cakes” or “the pot plants have to go.” Neither of these are strategies to Grow any Business! and technically they are tactics, not really strategies.
Let’s get on with to the Business of Growing your Business.
First strategy: and if you get this right, you don’t really need the other 4 strategies
Spend all your time and energy and money taking really good care of your existing customers and clients
Do things for your existing customers that they do not expect. Turn your existing customers into Raving Fans! Small things, send them a card for their birthday, Christmas, before they go on holidays, when they get back from holidays. Give them small, thoughtful gifts. Ask them “What more can we do to help you? to serve you?” and then take action on what they tell you. It’s actually really simple!
Whatever you do, this is all about making them feel special and is about giving them some thing without expecting anything in return.
Recently, I was at the hairdresser and I’ve been buying from him a particular product that helps make my hair more curly. While he was cutting my hair we discussed the curly product and he mentioned they make a shampoo as well. As I was leaving he gave me a sample of the matching shampoo, not a measly little one application sample, he gave me a decent sample; “Here you go Ingrid, this will give you about 4 or 5 washes” Do I feel special? You bet. Does it cost him much? Not really and it does cost!
Be really clear that the “cost” of this type of gift often takes more effort then $$. What do I mean?
· Know your customer and know what is going on with them
· Think of some thing that will be meaningful to them
· Give them the gift/ card/ whatever you decide
· Make a note in their file, you may or may not want to repeat the gift
· Plan your follow up
One of the really powerful gifts may not even be a “thing” it might be a gesture, an anticipation, a warm welcome. Many of your customers and clients will appreciate the “things” that are completely intangible.
Just last week I was ordering breakfast and I said to the waitress “I always like an extra piece of toast” and she said “I’ll try and remember for next time you are in.” Now whether she does or not almost doesn’t matter, the fact that she offered increases my sense of feeling cared for by this breakfast café.
Many businesses have built their Growth from this strategy alone ; of taking really great care of existing customers.
Now onto the traditional growth strategies……
2. Increase the number of customers (of the type you want)
Key to this is to know who are your customers. Having a clearly defined “Persona” or “Avatar” sets the foundation for business growth.
So often when I ask new StartUps “Who are your ideal customers?” they answer “everyone” Seriously “everyone” is not you Ideal Customer. How can you possibly find more of your Perfect or Ideal customer of you are not clear who they are?
A really fabulous way to find more customers or clients is to ask your existing customers if they have any friends or family they can recommend. Or you could just ask your clients to “please tell others about us” This takes us right back to the first point, if your
3. Increase transaction frequency
What exactly does this mean? What it means is, how do you help your customer/ client buy from you more often?
Some one comes to you once a quarter, would it benefit your customer/ client if they booked to see you once every second month? Or every month? What would be the benefit to them? And how would you communicate that to them?
There are some great monthly membership models that really assist both the business and the client/ customer. Helps the business by creating regular income and helps the client by evening out the payments, a smaller monthly charge vs more expensive less frequent payments.
4. To increase transaction value, or ‘average sale’
This is the territory of “cross sell” and “up sell”
How could this work in your business? Often Business StartUps tell me this feels “Salesy” and it might for some people.
Up Sell is when we offer some thing in addition
Cross Sell is when we offer a complimentary product or service.
What if we always think about it from our customers point of view? In your business you sell BBQs, outdoor kitchens. You customer buys one of these fabulous BBQs and you didn’t feel like “up selling” all the other “BBQ bits and pieces”. Your customer arrives home and fires up the BBQ and invites friends or family or neighbours and discovers there is just that some thing they need – gloves, a dish, tongs…. And they wish you had offered it to them!
When we think about what the customer needs and we ask questions from a position of “I want to make your experience of my/ our product the very best it can be” this is called helping our customers, not being “Salesy”
5. Increase the effectiveness your business processes
This is an internal strategy that actually doesn’t directly involve your customers. Each point of contact between your business and your customer or client is part of your overall business processes.
Most businesses do not map out the points of contact their customers’ experience. My clients find it extremely helpful to map out client journeys. Helps understand all the touch points for every client.
If you take the time to map out the point by point, step by step, experience that your customer goes through then you can start to look for efficiencies; you can look for ways to enhance the experience and to minimize difficulties or bottle necks that you customers might experience.
Just this morning I was making a purchase and the point of sale was held up by another customer with a credit card issue – 3 in front of me. It felt like I would be there for longer than I wanted and I started to weigh up the importance of my discretionary purchase vs the time I was going to have to wait to pay for my items. An astute customer service “floater” came by and suggested there were available Point of Sale points “just over here “ if we wanted to speed up our purchase.
In some ways this gesture sounds like where we started – take really great care of your existing customers ….
As you can see there are many ways to Grow your Business. Each has it’s own place in any Businesses’ Growth strategy. I personally am a huge fan of the first one … and then the rest just follow
I’m Ingrid Thompson and thank you for reading this post.
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