Growing your business from scratch is the first challenge facing any entrepreneur.
Growing a business usually involves getting more customers, no matter what phase of the business you are in, from not having customers to having the first to going from 1,000 customers to 10,000.
There are two options to grow your business: either you get more customers or you get customers to hire more services with you.
The way to achieve both is, in some cases, very similar and there is no single way. But certain points are common to all types of companies:
Make sure your idea is a good one
Most companies fail. But there are thousands of companies that work. The difference between creating a company that probably works or leaving everything in the hands of your impression and intuition is to have a market study.
There are thousands of ways to do this that exceed the intent of this article, but we want to point out Sean Ellis‘ 40% rule. Sean Ellis says that, if at least 40% of respondents say they would be disappointed if they lose access to a product or service, it is likely for the product to succeed. If you have many customers, it is clear that your idea is good, but if they do not hire more services with you (or if they leave), perhaps your idea can improve to grow your business.
Create your company
When you have a business idea, what you need is to know if it works, if you are going to attract customers, you do not need to get tangled in paperwork to create a company. Begin is never easy and you wouldn’t be the first entrepreneur to start selling without having his own company.
At first, it may seem that it is not necessary: a payment with some PayPal-like service to your bank account directly can make it easy and without your customers acknowledging your way of operating.
But there’s going to be a moment when your customers would need invoices, or payment histories, or…
You can sell without a company, but the problems are not few.
And how do we solve this? Well, in Spain you have to register as a self-employed person and do a lot of other paperwork. yet, some companies, like Stripe, that charge you to become a company in a short time, but with a certain trick: the company is incorporated in the U.S.
This presents us with two problems:
The first problem is that it is expensive (500$, about 450€), as opposed to becoming self-employed in Spain, which costs 280€. In return, you have the company in 10 days instead of having to wait. What better way to grow your business than to start today?
The second problem is that Stripe offers you a company in the US. There is a lot of ethical debate about paying taxes in a country that is not yours and we don’t want to get into it. This solution does not avoid paying taxes, far from it, only that they are paid in another country. As we say, we do not want to get involved in the ethical debate.
Know your business
It may seem that knowing what your business is like is not related to growing your business, but just as you wouldn’t drive with your eyes closed or without ever looking at the vehicle’s information panels, you shouldn’t run your business without writing down everything: expenses, income, your inventory, the number of customers, what they have paid, how far or near you are from your goal, etc. All this data is useful to know how to act and what to expect. This information will allow you to predict the following months and know what you can boost and what you can wait.
It seems that this article on growing your business could be summed up in the two words of this title. This point is so clear that it’s obvious. The difficulty lies in how.
To get customers you will first need visitors to your site: a customer needs to know your product before they want to buy it.
There are thousands of ways to get customers and there are thousands of ways to measure when the customers you have got are valuable.
Two of the most useful ways is to register your product on pages like ProductHunt or Appsumo, but there are a thousand other ways: from word of mouth to inbound marketing, to hiring an online marketing agency, all options are valid if they work.
Given the importance of all this for your company, we would bet on the third option: an online marketing company is dedicated exclusively to growing your business, in the short term with advertising and in the long term with an inbound marketing strategy. But of course, we recommend this can be professional deformation :p
What do Amazon or Trader Joe agree on? Maybe they can be criticized for some things, but never for their customer service, which is beyond doubt.
The cost of acquiring a new customer is much higher than the cost of keeping them and any customer we lose is much more likely to speak badly of us than a new customer to speak well.
Keeping a customer is not only useful for direct economic reasons (if we keep him he keeps paying us). Keeping a client is useful for time and effort reasons (because he is already our client) and for image reasons.
One of the best ways to get clients is to write down everything you know about each client. You never know what piece of data you might use to keep a customer. There are many tools for this called CRM that collect basic data such as the name of your client, his company or position and other much more interesting as their business or personal objectives. Probably the most famous is Hubspot.
Optimize your page
Your website is your company’s portfolio. An online marketing agency is mainly dedicated to this, but if you don’t have one, you have to do it:
How many visits to your site become customers? How many people leave you their email so that you can contact them again?
Every step a user takes on your page, every time you contact someone through your website, every contact is an opportunity to turn a visitor into a lead and a lead into a client and a client into a promoter of your page. Every e-mail you send, registration, etc. Every contact has to be taken care of up to the last detail if you want to grow your business.
Another purpose of optimization is to automate: everything a computer can do, you save it. It may take a hundred times longer to automate something than to do it by hand the first few times, but if you expect to repeat a task more than a hundred times -and if you expect to grow your business you do- it’s worth spending that time doing a task just once.
Create content for your page
Why do so many companies have a blog? They have it because it ranks in search engines. One entry a week, about 600 pages, is going to make a big change in your website in less than a year.
Create relevant content, think about what your client can look for and what will get to your page, whether from Google, YouTube, a social network, or wherever your client is.
Google can’t find you if it doesn’t have something to search. Help Google help you.
Here is something that spends time every week, something that has to be made with specific rules: bold, tags, snippet, etc. – and can be done by an online marketing agency.
In four of these seven steps to grow your business (the last four) an online marketing agency can help you. In the other three, we can’t. But four are more than three. If you can’t do it, let us help you.