No matter the industry, no business can remain static for an extended period. Those who don't pay attention to the direction in which their company is moving are unlikely to experience lasting success. The problem, though, is that expanding and growing your business can be a difficult task to accomplish.
Many people allow themselves to get so caught up in the stress of running and managing their day-to-day businesses that they start to lose sight of what is truly important: their customers, their team and their systems. Here are five free ways to grow your business:
Build Quality Relationships
Nothing can exist in isolation, so cultivating quality relationships is a great place to start if your goal is to grow and expand your business. Without quality business contacts, you will always be on the lookout for new staff and customers, which is much more costly than retaining the ones you have. Success in the business world requires you to be networking and reaching out to others as often as you can.
But once you have established a few business relationships, treat them as though the survival of your business depends on them. Every new person you meet is a potential life-long relationship. When done properly, many of the relationships that you create will withstand the test of time, resulting in a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Be a Valuable Resource
Too many businesses approach each interaction with the goal of gaining something from the other side, which is a critical mistake. It's essential you remember that each person with whom you interact is also looking to benefit in one way or another. If you treat others like they are simply a means to an end, then you will put them on guard, making them lose interest in working with you.
On the other hand, always finding new ways to offer value to your prospects will inspire them to like and trust you.
Think Out Loud
Some people decide to keep most of their thoughts and ideas to themselves, but it's vital to allow your voice to be heard by others in your market, which will give you more exposure. Becoming a thought leader and expressing your insights will also give your customers a better idea of who you are and the principles for which you stand.
You can stay current on industry publications and offer valuable feedback on content that you find compelling or inspiring. If you can provide a publisher will an interesting and unique perspective, then you will have a good chance of getting your article published in their magazine. Starting a blog is another important aspect of establishing yourself as an expert in your industry.
Give Something Free
Offering free samples is a great way to attract attention and to increase your profitability. Almost everyone has paid for a product or service that did not deliver the results that they had expected, so consumers are naturally skeptical when it comes to dealing with new businesses.
You can combat their resistance by letting them try something for free. For example, offer new customers a trial version of your software or a free consultation, but you have to do it properly. The key is to offer a free product or service that will benefit people even if they don't make a purchase. Their time is valuable too. If you impress your prospects with the quality of your free sample or service, then it will significantly increase your conversion rate.
Keep Financial Metrics
Rather than being random, success is predictable when you know the proper formula; however, the same answer does not work for every business. When you want to take your business to the next level, start tracking key financial metrics for your business and use them to create a system that will all but guarantee your success. The truth is in the numbers – identify what drives your metrics north or south – and implement a system that can consistently measure the results in real time.
If you submitted a blog post that performed better than you thought it would, find out why and document it. Learning which days of the week that your prospects are most likely to make a buying decision will enable you to increase the efficiency of your marketing efforts. Can increasing the prices of your products actually encourage more sales? Can a new supplier improve margins? You can only know the answer to that question when you experiment and track your results.
Although people tend to over complicate it, business is an exchange of resources. Your goal as a business owner is to provide so much value to others that they are willing to give you some money in return for your contributions. But before you can propose such an exchange, it's vital to cultivate and maintain healthy business relationships.
Gaining the respect of others is a long-term process, and those who attempt to find shortcuts rarely succeed; they will not invest the time and energy that is needed to establish mutually beneficial business relationships. So, with each choice that you make, consider how it will impact your team, your business and your reputation in the future. If you help your customers find solutions to their problems, they will help you meet your financial goals in return, and your business will start to grow faster than you once thought possible.
Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in one day. Although you can utilize different methods to reach your goal, real success does not happen overnight.
About Cindy Brinker
Cindy Brinker, founder & CEO of Brinker+Co, is a leading provider of cloud-based accounting and financial management solutions. Headquartered at The InNEVation Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Brinker+Co is strategically leveraging Intacct’s Cloud ERP solutions to drive significant value and greater agility and scalability for growing companies. For more information, please visit brinkerco.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.