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As an entrepreneur, successfully growing your business is arguably one of your most important milestones and business goals. However, when the financial cost of that business growth is too high to bear without risking financial ruin, it may be time to rethink your approach. Here are 8 cost-effective ways of growing your business:
1. Become an expert in your industry
Information is one of the most precious commodities in the business world. Customers often rely on, and are therefore loyal to, businesses that answer any questions that they may have quickly and well. If, for example, your customers frequent particular forums, make your presence known in them. Share your knowledge and expertise with them by answering their questions. Becoming a trusted expert in your industry may engender their loyalty to your product.
2. Make your business your #1 priority
Although this may seem straightforward, it is worth emphasising. Customer service is a crucial part of a business, however, it is not the only measure of business health and success. It is equally important to ensure your product(s) or service(s) is the best it can be (consider iterative cycles of innovation, testing, evaluation for new products or services and re-evaluation for existing ones), and that you achieve healthy profit margins, for example.
3. Make your invoicing more efficient
Without a well-operated and efficient invoicing system, you risk not receiving payment or receiving late payments. To avoid this, ensure your invoicing system is as efficient as it can be, and runs smoothly. The most efficient invoicing system not only adapts to and feeds a growing business, it is also a mark of your professionalism as an entrepreneur. Customers will come to trust in and value your approach to conducting business.
4. List your business in Business Directories
If you are not yet making use of them, you may not realise the value of listing your business in local business directories. Customers often consult these directories when looking for particular types of business in a given geographical location. Membership in these directories also often comes with opportunities for you to network with other entrepreneurs and, through the relationships you foster, grow your business further. Lists of business directories can be found easily online.
5. Make your business more efficient
Again although, this tip may seem obvious, and something you have already considered, it is vital to incorporate lean thinking and lean processes in your business to make it more efficient. This will help you grow your business because the time you save by automating or streamlining processes may allow you to take on more clients and customers.
6. Offer a freebie
It is no secret that people enjoy receiving free products. Use this as an opportunity to get customers interested in your offering or to get them to commit to one of your services. For example, you may offer a freebie (discounts or perks included) to customers who sign up for your newsletter, or buy your product during a promotional period. The aim of freebies is not to give away all your stock, but rather to make your business more enticing to new customers.
7. Unbundle your product offering
While providing product packages to customers may be an shrewd way of doing business and an effective sales tactic, it can also be discouraging to customers. For customers who are only interested in one product in a given package, it is often easier to look to another business rather than spend money on products they have no need of or intention of using. By also selling products as separate entities, you're giving customers the choice to purchase what they want, potentially earning you more sales that you would have otherwise lost through packages.
It is also a good idea to consider allowing your customers to create packages of their own. If you find a trend in the packages being created (i.e. different customers buy the same combination of product), this can act as an invaluable opportunity for you to create a product package that is proven as being popular and likely to sell.
8. Highlight all offerings and promotions
Make sure you take every given opportunity to highlight your product or service offerings and promotions. You can do this by taking further advantage of the marketing channels you already utilize. For example, you can include the promotions in your customer newsletter, or advertise them as a prominent banner at the top of your website. Doing so will draw the customer's attention where you want it, and might encourage them to pursue the promotion on offer.
The content in this article was adapted from The Small Business Site.