By U.S. government definition standards, you may always be the proud owner of a small business. It’s a title you should wear proudly — small businesses are integral to the vitality and growth of the U.S. economy, creating a continuity of employment in many areas of the country and fueling business growth and innovation.
Being considered “small,” however, doesn’t limit your growth strategies. After all, depending on your industry, the U.S. Census Bureau defines a small business as one having revenue between $1 and $40 million, with 100 to 1,500 employees. That leaves a lot of room for growth!
At KTC Digital, we enjoy being a tool in the small business owner’s toolbox to help their business thrive in their space. As you prepare your roadmap of business strategies, consider how your digital presence can lift your business out of stagnation and help fuel your big ideas for growth.
Take the basics and modernize them.
The basics of business growth strategies are fairly traditional and revolve around your markets and your products or services. However, you need to eye them with what changes are occurring in the business and cultural landscape in which you operate.
Here are basic examples with a few modernization twists on some of them.
- Market penetration. This means you try to sell more in the market you are in, or what is commonly referred to as gaining market share. You likely encounter this every day in your own buying habits: a weekly sale offering lower prices, for example. Or “deals” like buy one, get the second at half price. These are all tactics that drive a market penetration strategy.
- Developing a new market. If you used to only sell in Cleveland and you are creating a sales office for Tallahassee, you are trying to develop a new market.
- Using alternative channels. This is definitely an evolving strategy, and one recently cemented by the pandemic. If you are solely a brick-and-mortar storefront, for example, you are likely seeing an increased demand for an online presence and shopping experience. This requires an appealing and highly functional website, maybe some email marketing, and probably a social media presence.
- Product expansion. Customer feedback is important to the product expansion strategy. If you’re hearing things like, “love your product, I just wish it was waterproof,” you were just given an idea for another product version. It may also make sense to create a complementary product.
- Market segmentation. This strategy requires some research legwork and comprehension of demographics, as well as messaging. At its core, it’s categorizing your customers by various demographics, and finding out what resonates with them. For example, perhaps your 20-something customers like your product because it makes them look like an early adapter, while the working mom likes it because she can more easily communicate with her children. Both are valid touchpoints, but the way you appeal to each of those customer types requires different messaging, or wording, in your marketing materials, and developing tailored SEO strategies.
- Partnerships. Forging relationships that make sense can benefit all involved. You can create formal legal partnerships, such as with an acquisition of a startup that just can’t get any farther with its promising technology, or you can create an informal alliance with another small business owner in which you do no more than share the cost of a booth at a trade show.
Growth won’t happen without a solid operations framework.
The framework in which you develop and execute your growth strategies has to be solid. Central to that is your team. You may have started your business with your best friend, but are either of you really the right person to oversee personalized content development for all of your market niches? Proper employee vetting, training, and setting realistic expectations are also important.
Then, you have to make sure your team has the right tools to implement your growth strategies. When looking at strategies such as market penetration, consider how a customer relationship management system (CRM), like Salesforce, for example, can be instrumental in executing that strategy. There is no better way to generate repeat sales than by tending to your current customer base, which can also stoke the flame for new customer referrals.
Also, consider going back to school to wrap up your business education with an online master’s degree (think MBA). Getting an advanced and thorough understanding of concepts like management, entrepreneurship, leadership, and details like accounting processes will equip you with a deeper working knowledge you can use to optimize your skillset. Completing coursework is more convenient and affordable than ever, especially with remote learning that allows you to continue work while you study on your own schedule wherever you choose.
Technology has created a new playing field.
Today’s small businesses are able to compete with many larger companies, thanks in large part to technology. For many, the consumer has no idea whether they are buying from a company with 200 employees or 2,000. That is why now, more than ever, it’s important to have a professionally designed and operational digital strategy as part of your business growth schematic. From e-commerce websites to SEO strategies, work with KTC Digital to see how we can help your small business grow.
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KTC Digital has provided digital marketing strategy, website design and development and consulting services since 1999. Just as the Internet continues to change, so do our business offerings. Reach out to us today for a FREE consultation!