So you have successfully launched your own small business and now you are prepared to move on the next level. Growing a business can be compared to growing a garden of flowers. You can’t expect your flowers to bloom beautifully if you do not take the time to water it and attend to it every day. In the same way, growing a small business takes time. It will not happen overnight.
Just as you need to water your plants and take the weeds out regularly, growing a business requires careful planning and preparation. You need to make sure that you’re ready for the next phase before you take the leap.
Let’s take a look at 8 strategic steps that you must do to expand your business:
1. Generate qualified leads. At this point, you may already know who your target market is but simply identifying your niche is not enough. You need to be able to generate qualified leads before you can proceed to the next step.
Qualified leads are prospects who have the strongest potential to buy your product or avail of your service. These are the people who may have inquired about your product or service, either via email, telephone or by visiting your store; people who have responded to one of your marketing campaigns; people who not only can afford to buy your product or service but who wants to make the purchase.
2. Focus on your target market. Once you have generated qualified leads, you can launch a marketing campaign that is most suited for your audience.
Keep in mind that not all your prospects may respond positively with online marketing techniques. Some of your prospects may not spend that much time over the internet. On the other hand, it might just be the opposite. Most of your qualified leads might be people who prefer to do their shopping online.
3. Make it attractive. Marketing campaigns will not work unless they are attractive. One proven strategy to encourage people to buy is to offer something for free. This can free information (e-book or report), free item, or a discount.
4. Spread the word. Never underestimate the power of the word of mouth. Ask your friends, relatives and acquaintances to recommend your brand to their personal contacts. Ask your customers to refer your company if they are happy with your service.
5. Follow-up on your leads. Doing follow-ups is essential if you want to reap the best result from your marketing campaigns. Even if a prospect does not respond to your first invitation, it does not mean that the opportunity to make a sale is lost.
6. Organize your database. It is very important to make sure that you keep your customer information (name, age, profession, location, date of purchase, item bought, etc) in a secure database. It helps to use an accounting software application like Quickbooks for Small Business where you can store and access customer information quickly and conveniently.
7. Pay attention to quality. All your marketing researches and campaigns will be wasted if your customers are not happy with your service. Ensure that your products are of high quality and that you provide excellent service at all times.
8. Keep track of your progress. Business owners must learn how to constantly keep track of their improvement. This way, you can make decisions based on facts and you can learn from each experience.
In case, one of your marketing campaigns fail, you can take something valuable out of it. There is no need to repeat the same mistakes just because you don’t keep a record of the steps you did.
Do you have other tips to add to the list? Please feel free to share your views by leaving a comment.
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About the Author:
Melanie James has spent the last 14 years working with businesses to implement quick, effective and inexpensive changes to their businesses to increase productivity and their bottom line.