Congratulations – you have took the leap and started your own business. After the challenges of the initial start-up phase, you are reaching the next level – deciding on how to help your business grow. It is an exciting time!
Every company needs a great growth strategy. Here, we have put together six helpful strategies useful small businesses operating in the South African market.
1. Participate in trade shows and expos
Every year, several trade shows and expos run in cities across South Africa. No matter what industry you’re in, there’s sure to be one that’s a great fit.
You can always simply visit as an attendee, but why not book yourself a stand? Expos are a great way to showcase your products and services to your customers. Have some flyers and business cards printed for the day as well as eye-catching banners and adverts. Be ready to talk to and engage with customers and have a quick way to explain what you do and why it’s great. A friendly attitude goes a long way towards getting you your next sale.
As an added benefit, expos also allow you the chance to check out the competition and see if there’s any way you can improve your products or services to help them stand out from the crowd.
2. Attend business networking events
There are a number of benefits of business networking but meeting new potential clients or generating referrals which you can then follow up on are some of the most important.
Networking can also help you identify opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures, or new areas of expansion for your business with companies in the same industry as you.
Networking events can also be a great motivation booster. It’s very refreshing for many small business owners to meet others who are facing, and overcoming, the same struggles.
Check online to see if there are any business networking events taking place near you.
Meetup is a great place to look for networking events like these. You can also check out Facebook or simply browse online.
3. Improve your online reputation
In the digital age, a company’s online reputation can make it – or break it. Take a moment to assess how your customers feel about your company online. Checking out Google reviews and HelloPeter is a good place to start. How many stars do you have? Are there any glowing compliments, or complaints?
By boosting your online reputation, you help boost confidence in your brand and attract new customers.
Think about customers you know well and ask if they wouldn’t mind posting a great review of your business online. You can also add any glowing testimonials to your company website.
4. Make an intelligent business pivot
Some companies start out in one area of business and then branch out into another. If you feel that you’ve explored all the options in your particular niche, why not try to think of some clever and interesting new ways you can offer new services or products that build on the know-how you already have?
For example, a beauty salon might release a new treatment range or unique product line.
It’s also possible to think about ways to sell your products and services differently. For example, if you’re an online biltong vendor, why not think about selling your product directly, at flea markets?
Coming up with new ways to explore your market is an important way of expanding your business.
5. Market intelligently
People are bombarded with hundreds of advertisements and other forms of advertising during the day. So much so that many people no longer pay attention to most of them.
Yet, businesses still continue to need to market themselves, and even the best-established brands still harness the value of great marketing. The key is marketing intelligently and to the right people.
You’ve likely already got a marketing strategy in place. But when you’re considering how to grow, why not take a step back and revise how you advertise your business?
For example, you may want to consider some or all of the following suggestions:
Moving from digital to physical ads. If you’re primarily advertising online, why not think about moving into some physical ads, too? These could be flyers handed out at traffic lights, street pole ads, billboards or anything else.
Encourage word of mouth advertising. The only free advertising out there! Encourage happy customers to talk about your brand to family and friends.
Tweak who you’re talking to. You may have missed out some key customer segments when you first came up with your marketing strategy. Think if there are any other people you should be marketing to, then come up with ways to get your products in front of them.
6. Make sure you’re not bogged down with admin
Many new business owners find themselves performing a lot of manual administrative tasks. For example, you might be using spreadsheets to manage inventory, record payments or manage your payroll – a system that is time-intensive, error-prone, and inefficient.
If you find that you are spending a lot of time on manual processes or on capturing data, you have an opportunity to outsource this task to your bookkeeper or accountant.