Growing a business isn’t as simple as putting the pedal to the metal and working as hard as you can anymore. Sure, hard work is important when it comes to execution, but you’ll also need business savvy and an effective strategy to expand your business successfully. Regardless of whether you want to grow your business by offering a new service, expanding into new territories, or simply getting more customers to buy your product, there are steps you can take to make the growth process easier.
These days, the key to making the difficult process of business growth easier is to maximize your ability to connect with potential customers and to automate tasks that don’t need your full attention, so you can focus on the ones that do. Follow these eight steps to better reach potential customers and to learn what tasks you should be automating:
1. Double down on your online presence.
More than half of consumers — 59 percent to be exact — use Google in the hopes of finding a reliable, local business. Even if you’re running a one-person business, using a 5-year-old website and your personal network isn’t good enough anymore. Update your website so your landing page is up-to-date, and make sure that your website functions well on mobile devices too. If you don’t have the skills necessary to revamp your own website and lack the funds to hire someone to do it for you, you could start with do-it-yourself tools like Wix or Squarespace. While these tools won’t provide as original a result as a totally custom site would, drag-and-drop design tools will let you create an attractive website that relates the information your customers need to know.
2. Measure your online success.
If you truly want to grow your business, you need to find out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your website. Luckily, there are many analytics tools out there that can tell you how consumers interact with your website. A good place to start is with Google Analytics, a free, easy-to-use tool that offers robust functions. Google Analytics lets you track traffic, see how users behave and pinpoint any problems in your conversion funnel.
3. Take advantage of the freelance economy.
As you’re expanding your home business, there are many tasks that need to be done but might not justify a whole new hire. Thankfully, in today’s world, the freelance economy is growing, and hiring someone on a project basis is easier than ever. Even if you want to do something complicated like create an app or convert your old business website into one that is mobile-responsive, platforms like Toptal can connect you with freelancers for that task. Once the job is done, you don’t have to keep them on the payroll, ensuring that your business isn’t paying for idle hands.
4. Automate your marketing campaign.
Email is a powerful tool for converting new customers and keeping previous customers loyal to your business, but sending emails to your entire client or consumer list is a time-consuming process. MailChimp is a service that automates your entire email campaign system, offering easy-to-use drag and drop design tools and helpful analytics to boot. Using an automation tool for your email marketing needs will save you time and make your campaigns more efficient.
5. Ramp up your customer service.
In today’s world, consumers expect great products with great service. In fact, 66 percent of customers will take their business to a competitor if they experience poor customer service at a company. To build brand loyalty and a great reputation, start using cloud-based based customer support tools like Freshdesk, which provides a single place to track all customer queries as well as automation for many steps of customer interaction. This will help you quickly respond to all customer questions while again saving you time.
6. Grow your presence on social media.
The average internet user spends 1.72 hours every day on social media, making social media platforms valuable places for your business to attract new customers. Services like Hootsuite allow you to manage all of your social media accounts on a single dashboard, automate posts, and track the success of all of your engagements. Not only does Hootsuite reduce the amount of time you need to spend on handling social media, it will also help you develop stronger insight on your audience’s behaviors.
7. Track your time.
When you’re running a business by yourself or with just one or two coworkers, time management is paramount to success. With so many different roles to fill within your business, juggling multiple responsibilities is difficult. Time trackers like Toggl help you structure your day and make sure you don’t spend too much time on one task. If you want to track time for an entire time, Harvest is a great option to coordinate everyone at your business and delegate time and responsibilities properly.
8. Streamline your payroll.
If your business has reached the point where you are expanding your team, congratulations. It’s a big step forward, but handling payroll can be a time consuming pain when you’re too small to have an HR employee to handle it for your business. Tools like Zenefits and Gusto provide software to take care of payroll, employee benefits, and taxes. With these services, you’ll find software that provides a neat and organized solution to onboarding and documentation, and you won’t need to hire anyone in HR until your business gets significantly larger.
Many people have great business ideas, but it takes a great entrepreneur to execute that idea and turn it into a successful, growing business. Use these tips to grow your consumer base, and focus your energies on the big problems that no list of tips can solve.
Drew Hendricks is a freelance writer that has worked on SEO and content marketing for a variety of startups. He is also a tech, business and environmental addict that has written for the National Wildlife Federation and many…