Preparing to Grow Your Small Business

Preparing to grow your business part 2 video
 
Our last article, “How to Grow Your Small Business,” gave you a broad view of growing your business. In this follow-up blog, “Preparing to Grow Your Small Business,” we will begin to look at the steps needed to ensure your growth plan is successful.

Step 1: Review Your Ideal Customer Profile

You probably have an idea of what your ideal customer looks like. However, we want and need to get the clearest possible view of this customer.

Now that you are growing your business, it is essential to know if your current customer is the same one you will be selling to in the future.

Analyze Your Customers of Today

Identifying your current customers is the best place to start when you want to grow your small business. They have demonstrated that they are the ones who like your products and who trust you.

They will want to be the first people you reach out to, and they will help you grow.

Use your systems to review the following.

  • Review all sales data that you have and see exactly who is buying your products and services
  • Use your customer base to provide you with information
  • Look at your prospects and discover those that convert into sales

This may be a step where you already claim to know and understand. While that may be true, please do not pass on doing these steps again, as it will give you concrete information to work with.

Your goal here is to discover what your current customers may have in common so you can use your tools to help grow your small business.

Review Your Avatar

You probably have created an original Ideal Customer Avatar, so going back and revisiting it may seem redundant.

However, because you want to grow your business, you must repeatedly look at your customer Avatar.

The business world is moving ever so quickly, and marketplaces are changing, so you want your avatar to be as current as possible.

When reviewing your data on your avatar, remember that there are two essential graphics to look at.

  • Demographics (sex, age, location, and profession)
  • Psychographics (emotions, interests, and needs)

Analyze Where Your Ideal Customers Spend Their Time

Now that you have an updated customer avatar, you can find exactly who to market and sell to.

You want to discover those people who are look-alikes to your current avatar.

Take a complete look at social media in your efforts to grow your customer list.

In the past few years, this world has exploded and is doing so daily. Business needs have expanded, and digital marketing is here to stay.

Here are the leading social media platforms to consider.

  • Facebook,
  • LinkedIn,
  • Twitter,
  • Instagram,

You will discover absolute value concerning information for future marketing and product development.

Don’t stop there. Visit other places such as:

  • Online conferences,
  • Exhibitions,
  • Trade shows,
  • Fairs and Markets.

All the above provide an opportunity to speak with potential customers, asking them to reveal what challenges they face, their needs, and what they are looking to achieve.

Step 2: Clarify Your Financial Picture

Numbers are essential when planning to grow your business and help you keep ahead of your competition.

Expansion often calls for investment, either by yourself or new investors.

However, before you reach into your pocket, you should clearly understand your financial well-being.

You have to look closely at all the money flowing through your current business.

Knowing figures on precisely what is coming into and going out of your business and where your business stands today is so important. Having those types of analytics available can only help manage and grow your business faster.

Regardless of your reasons for growing a business, you will need a clear and transparent view of your current financial status.

Find out just where your profits are made. Don’t make assumptions here.

Look at your current offerings and ask the following questions.

  • What are the prices for your products?
  • What are the costs of each product?
  • What profit comes from each product offering?

Other Things to Consider

As a small business owner, you naturally have a close relationship with your products and customers.

Surviving in business is always dependent on sales and profit.

There is a point where you also have a satisfaction level attached to the products you offer as you create them.

Successful products are like your children. You created and watched them sell, providing a memory of your time in their creation.

The time is here to review this satisfaction.

The bottom line is crucial, as we know. However, so is the satisfaction level you get from creating and selling your products and services.

Now is the time to look at the following.

  • What you like doing or providing in your current offerings – you will want to keep these elements.
  • What stresses you out, and what products or services take too long to create for little or no return? You will want to change or delete these products or services from your product offerings.

Step 3: Undertake a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a handy template designed to examine the push and pull factors for future growth.

A SWOT analysis is a method where four quadrants make up the matrix:

  • Strengths,
  • Weaknesses,
  • Opportunities,

“SWOT Analysis is a tool that can help you to analyze what your company does best now, and to devise a successful strategy for the future. SWOT can also uncover areas of the business that are holding you back, or that your competitors could exploit if you don’t protect yourself.

A SWOT analysis examines both internal and external factors – that is, what’s going on inside and outside your organization. So some of these factors will be within your control and some will not. In either case, the wisest action you can take in response will become clearer once you’ve discovered, recorded and analyzed as many factors as you can.” (https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_05.htm)

Recognize Your Strengths

Strengths in this specific model are the good things that are happening in your business and include:

  • The things that your business does well,
  • Unique internal assets you have available such as knowledge, experience, reputation, etc.,
  • External assets such as a solid customer base and customer referrals,
  • Other aspects that give your business a competitive advantage.

Recognize your strengths by looking back at your business successes. If you have garnered industry awards in your business, make them well known. Don’t be shy.

If your customer base is strong, shout it out! Encourage and broadcast all the testimonials that you receive from customers. Let everyone know just how your products and services have changed people’s lives for the better. But understand that not all small business owners can say what you can.

How to Identify Your Strengths.

  • Survey your customers and ask them why they value you and your products and services. Ask if you can contact them directly and call those who give permission. One-on-one conversations provide the best quality feedback.
  • Use your social media groups to post a discussion topic and review the comments.
  • Monitor the feedback and testimonials received and pinpoint your best assets.

Identify Your Weaknesses

In this model,” weaknesses” refer to areas of your business that are not as healthy as they could be. For example:

  • Your marketing has a shotgun approach instead of a strategic sniper approach where you focus on your target market.
  • Your lead generation is ineffective and you are not attracting enough customers into your sales pipeline.

The purpose of identifying your weaknesses is to ascertain where improvements are possible or alternative strategies need to be implemented, as these will impact the growth of your business.

It is usually easy to find your weaknesses as they show up as:

  • Sectors of your business that are struggling,
  • Products or services where you are losing money,
  • Problems with making sales,
  • Problems in meeting customer expectations concerning product delivery and support.

How to Identify Your Weaknesses.

Here are some questions to help identify weaknesses:

  1. What is limiting your business growth?
  2. What additional resources are required?
  3. What sectors of your business are not showing a profit?
  4. Where is more knowledge required?
  5. What areas take up too much time?

Opportunities and Threats

The other two quadrants in the SWOT matrix are opportunities and threats. You may have recognized that strengths and weaknesses are all internal to the business and under your control. On the other hand, opportunities and threats are external factors out of your control, such as changes in consumer behavior, government regulation, and policies or new technology. As they are not under your control, we are not going to comment on them further at this time.

Conclusion

The road to business growth has many curves and bumps that you will experience. The steps we have identified relate to gathering information. You can flag areas for improvement but don’t get bogged down with trying to find solutions at this stage.

We will continue our “How to Grow Your Business” series next week so check back for the next part of the process.

 


 
Uncover Your Business Growth Potential
Business Growth: Your Team and Tools
Creating your Business Growth Plan

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