So, you have launched your remote business. You have landed a few customers — you might even say you are seeing a steady stream of business. But now you have hit a plateau, and it is time for the next step: You need some actual growth.
Before You Plan to Expand, Get Back to Basics
One of the most difficult challenges a business can face is too much growth, too quickly, without the infrastructure to support the increased strain on your current systems and processes. So, before you start planning the expansion of your empire, get your own (proverbial) house in order.
Use Business Data to Identify Your Pain Points
Are you a solopreneur spending half of your day dealing with admin tasks that an assistant could be handling? If so, the easiest path to growth might be hiring someone. But for other businesses, figuring out what is holding you back might not be so easy.
This is why business data is so crucial. Every business is unique, so your job is to figure out which metrics matter most. For an eCommerce business, what is the rate of cart abandonment? For service businesses, how many clients are repeat customers versus one-time customers? Looking at these numbers can help you figure out why your business is struggling to grow and inform the strategies you use moving forward.
Check Your Cash Flow & Budgeting
Realistically, how much extra money do you have to invest in a solution? How stable is your cash flow? If your business is closer to failing than hitting a plateau, should you consider a business credit card or a line of credit to help offset those expenses? Be mindful of your cash flow and the amount of debt you can take on. You should also have a timeline of when you expect to see your investment pay off.
Depending on how you choose to invest your money, those expenses may be tax-deductible. Small business owners can write off operational costs such as marketing, research & development, home office space, and employee or contractor wages.
Set Your Goals
By now you have examined the data. You have looked at your finances. Hopefully, you have at least an inkling of what you might be holding you back. Now it is time to set some goals to work toward. Make sure that you choose an achievable goal and indicate how you will measure success — and in what time frame. “Grow my business” is incredibly vague. “Boost client retention by 30% in 6 months” is a lot more specific.
Specific tactics you can use to achieve those goals
You have got ideas. You have got goals. Time to dig down into specific tactics you can use to achieve those goals. Try one (or more) of these tips to kick-start your business, attract new customers, keep current clients, and see that longed-for growth!
Revamp Your Internet Presence
A professional web presence is essential to any business, but for remote businesses without a storefront, it is especially important. If you know your site is lackluster but aren’t sure what to do about it, it might be worthwhile to consider hiring an SEO expert to consult with you and create some strategies to improve your site, revitalize your content strategy, and even identify some new opportunities.
You might think of yourself as a company that offers a particular good or service, but to your customers, you are probably more than that — your business is part of a lifestyle, a solution to a problem. And that means your content marketing cannot just be sales pitches. Promote content on social media that doesn’t lead people to sales but does make them feel a deeper connection to the brand.”
Ramp Up Your Email Marketing
Do you have an email marketing list? If you do, you are already on the right track. If you do not, there are plenty of free and low-cost email marketing options out there. You should definitely get one started because there are a lot of powerful content marketing initiatives you can implement with email!
Learning to use segmentation is the key to successful email marketing. With it, you can send targeted offers and reminders to your regular customers, or you can recommend a particular product or service to customers who have bought something else that is related. You can even keep a list of subscribers who have not bought from you yet and send the right offer when it is the time!
Implement a Referral Program
Loyal customers are essential for any business. You can tap into that loyalty to acquire new clients by implementing a referral program. There are many ways to go about it, but the important thing for a business owner is to make sure that your program is trackable — you should be able to measure just how effective the referrals have been. How many new customers have you acquired through those referrals? How many became repeat customers? Was one particular customer giving you more referrals than others?
Fight Back Against Cart Abandonment
If you run an eCommerce business, specifically, cart abandonment might be a major reason for stalled growth. The exact damage depends on which study you look at, but the overall consensus is that recapturing even a portion of those sales can result in a noteworthy uptick in sales. Check with the shopping cart provider you currently use to see what cart abandonment tools are available. If there are not any, it is probably time to switch providers.
Introduce New Products or Services
One potential way to expand your business is just to expand the line of products and services you offer. You should tread carefully and do your research before deciding what, if any, products or services to add to your lineup. Talk to your clients. What do they have a need for? What gaps exist in the market?
Consider secondary uses of your products and services, as well. You might think your business does one thing, but your customers may have found workarounds and novel solutions to their business problems with your offerings. Talking to them and identifying those uses could attract more customers and sales.
Test Pricing Strategies
Pricing might seem straightforward. You set a rate that is (hopefully) enough to cover your overhead and pay you a wage. If people buy, you have set the correct price, right? Unfortunately, no.
Psychological pricing is the term used to describe setting prices in a way that will appeal to customers. It encompasses everything from the actual dollars and cents to techniques such as offering comparison pricing or multiple service tiers or plans. It is a topic that requires some careful research, but it is potentially a way to increase sales.
Is It Time to Hire Some Help
Maybe your remote business is just a one-person operation. Maybe it is a small team spread all over the world. But in either case, you’re going to reach a point at which you need to add another person to the mix, whether it’s to deal with customer service, manage admin tasks, or create content that’s going to attract and keep customers coming back to you.
It is a big decision to make, and potentially a costly one. A bad hire (or a series of bad hires) can cost a business a lot more money in the long run. But you also need to consider whether your budget allows for new hires and whether their contributions would ultimately have a positive impact on your bottom line.
There is no single path to expanding a business. The right choice requires a careful look at your business data to find pain points and opportunities for improvement, and then you can evaluate what you can afford to invest in to achieve your goals. As long as you move ahead with data and a plan to monitor and measure the effectiveness of your tactics, you will be on the right track!
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