Three Most Important Tactics to Grow Your Business

RichRich Las Vegas, NVadministrator Posts: 582 Site Admin
edited April 2006 in Marketing
Many of you are startup entrepreneurs. But many among you already operate businesses and you`ve dealt with the challenge of growth.
Always on the lookout for fundamental strategies and tactics we can share with fellow entrepreneurs, I`d like to ask you "growing businesses" what has worked for you - if you can distill it down to the top three tactics to grow your business.
For example, I would vote for:
1) Measure & Analyze ... your current status (so you can make smart decisions about what needs attention and where opportunity is being left on the table)
2) Develop Customer Focus ... so that most of your energy is applied to the bread and butter of your business - your existing customers 
3) Optimize for Search ... so that people who are interested in your kind of offering actually find you.
Your turn!

Comments

  • keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    Rich,
    Good discussion topic.

    Plan the work and work the plan. I know of nothing that kills small business (or any business for that matter) startups faster than not having a business plan, a guide. Keep in mind, it is NOT written in stone. It is a living document. Keep going back to it, change, modify - it is a road map to success.
    Feel a sense of urgency on any matter related to your customers. Own problems and always be responsive. Be customer-driven.
    Definiteness of Purpose. Make up your mind what it is you want and then go for it full-tilt.
    [email protected]
  • RichRich Las Vegas, NVadministrator Posts: 582 Site Admin
    love these contributions, guys!!!
    there are other things to consider, too. what about very direct and specific tactics like creating incentives for customers and/or employees? Partnering with other complementary and aligned businesses? Optimizing your company web presence for search engines?
    would love to hear from you (and MORE of you!) on this. it`s really important!
    rich
  • BundlesBundles subscriber Posts: 2
    Here`s what`s keeping me afloat (not necessarily in the order listed):

    Don`t go it alone.  Seek mentors.  When you find someone that you would like to be your mentor, tell them that that is what you want.  Don`t be afraid to ask for help and advice.  When someone offers advice, be sure to stop talking and listen carefully.  It`s not personal, it`s business;
    Be ready to give and to share. Give your product or service as a thank you to a customer or as an incentive to someone you want to be a customer. As your business grows and you gain experience, share your knowledge with others - your customers, your competitors, even those not in your industry. If you want business like the big guys, then do business like the big guys. They`re always giving - a percentage off, a free gift, probono work, sharing their experiences at trade shows, fairs and seminars.  This keeps their name in the public eye. Which leads to number 3;
    Establish a professional image and keep your name in their face. Email marketing, networking, asking for referrals, surveying current customers as to their customer experience;
    Be an expert at what you do and hire the experts for what they do - SEO marketing, web design, printing, etc.; and
    Give yourself time to grow and never stop learning along the way.
    I`m sorry, did you say three tactics?
  • JIOTJIOT subscriber Posts: 0

    there are other things to consider, too. what about very direct and specific tactics like......Partnering with other complementary and aligned businesses?

    We have done this in various ways and it has proved to be extrememly beneficial.  Fortunately, shortly after our inital launch we discovered an online community of like businesses - women owned, small independant businesses. 
    Many of us have banded together in various networking/promotional efforts such as:

    link exchanges
    promotional material (bus. cards, postcards, magnets, coupons, etc.) swaps to be included in our/their orders
    contests and giveaways sponsored by one another to help build traffic/customer base
    formed a cooperative in order to increase awareness of like businesses (indies shops) by doing such things as `group advertising` - giving us the visibility we might not yet be able to do on our own financially.
    All of these avenues have enabled us to grow our business in ways that we either wouldn`t have been able to do on our own, or, at the very least have helped us get there faster.  Never underestimate the power in numbers and networking!
  • RichRich Las Vegas, NVadministrator Posts: 582 Site Admin
    great question, kim.
    i`d draw the lines as follows:
    a strategy is a bigger concept that`s created to get you a result and a tactic is a specific action item.
    example:
    strategy = build a vibrant community where valuable ideas and resources are exchanged. 
    tactic = launch an online forum for people to post ideas and resources.
  • OfficeSpaceJeffOfficeSpaceJeff subscriber Posts: 0
    Peter Drucker, the management guru, said that the only purpose of a business is to create a customer.
    He went on to say that there are only 2 ways to create a customer:
    1 - Marketing
    2 - Innovation
    Every other activity according to Drucker is an expense.
    I think for the most part that is true.  Certain things such as good customer service & treating your employees well are givens that you really don`t need to dwell on.  It`s like saying - Thou shall not steal and Thou shall not murder.  Most of us know not to steal & murder & most of us business folks also know that we should treat our customers & employees well if we intend to remain in business.
    Treating your customers better than anyone else or creating an experience for your customers unlike anyone else probably comes under the Innovation category - think Amazon`s one click method of buying online.
    For our business, (helping small businesses find office space)the most important strategy is marketing, especially innovative marketing.  How do we acquire customers at the least possible cost?  Since most of our clients rent office space very infrequently, most of our deals are one shot opportunities.  That means we have very few repeat customers and we contantly need to find new customers.
    Because the lifetime value of each customer is fairly low, we cannot spend a huge amounts of money to acquire each customer.
    That has forced us to become very innovative in our marketing, which is a good thing.
    Therefore we are constantly striving to come up with new & inexpensive guerilla marketing concepts to acquire more and more clients.  This is the only way our business can continue to grow and succeed, but it is probably a good way for many businesses to expand their own core of customers.
     
  • watergalwatergal subscriber Posts: 10 Bronze Level Member
    Even though I havent start up yet, I do plan to offer clients a deeply
    discounted service for purchase of multiple services. It will be a
    service (that I don`t think anyone would buy off the bat) so that will
    be good marketing I think to introduce a needed service to a client at
    a discounted price and also advertise  other services I offer.
    I do plan (when it`s time to hire my first employee) to pay a good
    rate. I don`t want to work for minimum pay and I don`t think anyone
    else would want to either. I want someone that will feel good about
    working for me. Whoever I hire will be my spokesperson too and will
    either advertise for me in a good way or a bad way. So the extra money
    I can chalk up to advertising. Plus a well paid employee is happy and
    will work hard and be loyal! - I think --am I right on this guys jo

    jo
  • MelissaMelissa subscriber Posts: 7
    Plus a well paid employee is happy and will work hard and be loyal!
    I think this is definitely a misperception.  I`m a well-paid employee right now, but I`m obviously not happy or I wouldn`t be trying to start my own business so I can quit my job!    I think it`s important to remember that no matter how well you pay your employees, they still see you as "the boss" unless, of course, you can find some way to make their success dependent upon your/the business`s success.
    Just my "well-paid but definitely not happy employee who has to motivate herself to earn her paycheck" two cents. 
  • OfficeSpaceJeffOfficeSpaceJeff subscriber Posts: 0
    Partnering with complimentary sites is very important and those types of "joint ventures" have been very successful for us.
    I completely agree with Ken in his prior comment that people are tired of being sold.  There`s just too much advertising and most people just ignore it at this point.  However, I don`t like the concept of trying to compete on price.  Ultimately you end up turning your service or product into a commodity and that`s a disaster for any business.
    In order to combat that advertising fatigue, we are now moving in the direction of "edu-marketing".  We are in the process of setting up our own blog, writing columns and articles for different online & offline media, giving speeches & conducting seminars, writing a book, etc., all with the single purpose of educating and providing useful and helpful information to our potential customers - almost all of it for free.
    This is the ultimate in the "soft" sell.  If you help people learn how they can solve a problem, without a sales pitch, they will probably be more inclined to use you when they need the type of service or product that you offer.
    Your aim is to become the recognized expert in your field.  Once that happens the business is sure to follow.
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