Founders Guide to Growth: 7 Considerations for Growing Your Business
It’s an often-repeated statistic that 20% of businesses fail in the first year of their existence, while half falter by the end of the fifth year. But what about the businesses that make it past five years and plateau? There are plenty of businesses that aren’t failing but have also stopped meaningfully growing, and pushing past that plateau is tricky.
If you own a successful business and are looking to take the next step, how do you reignite growth in your business while simultaneously sticking to the principles that made you successful? With careful analysis and judicious spending. Here’s what you should think about.
1. Prioritize Your Website
You need a user-friendly website that’s up to date, informative, quick-loading, and modern. To bring in new customers, you’ll need marketing, and all of your marketing will lead back to your website, so it’s absolutely essential that it be as helpful as possible.
A website is more than simply a marketing hub — it’s the face of your company. Visitors will make snap judgements based on the usability and speed of your website, not to mention whether it contains the information they need. According to Entrepreneur, an optimized site can provide a 30 percent or better boost to conversions.
2. Know Your Customers
Every business has an ideal customer in mind who’s likely to need their product or service, can afford it, and is ready to buy. This is referred to as a “buyer persona” or “ideal client profile” and is vital for your marketing and growth efforts.
Start with the data you’ve already collected from your current customers — their job titles, budgets, locations, and anything else that seems relevant — then go after similar people in your marketing. You can even dive deeper, conducting surveys among your customers to find out why they chose you and how you can find like-minded people.
3. Focus on the Right Channels
It’s tempting to market on as many channels as possible to attract a larger audience, but some marketing channels and social media platforms aren’t worth the effort. Conduct the research to find out which channels your customers are most likely to use, then focus your promotions on those.
4. Pay Attention to Your Competition
While it’s undoubtedly important to know your customers and your marketing channels, the approach you take might vary depending on what your competition is doing. There may be certain demographics or marketing channels that your competitors are targeting especially vigorously, pouring so much money into those efforts that you can’t keep up.
In that case, it might make sense to take a different approach. Think about the secondary markets and gaps where your competition aren’t spending so much money and effort, and consider focusing on expanding in those areas. Many businesses get stuck trying to compete with much bigger players and never see new growth — don’t fall into that trap.
5. Customer Success
Customer success is not the same as customer service (though both are vital to continued growth). Customer success is the effort you put into ensuring that your customers are able to use your product, integrate them into their everyday workflow, and renew their subscriptions or make repeat purchases. Focus on improving your onboarding resources and support documentation to make the transition as seamless as possible for new customers.
6. Cultivate Relationships
Your communications with your customers don’t end after they complete a purchase — they’re just beginning. Make an effort to keep in touch with your customers, anticipate their needs, and show them that you have a vested interest in their goals and problems.
7. Adoption and Churn
Look for patterns in your customer behavior to identify warning signs that a customer is about to cancel their subscription or end their business relationship with you. Over time, you’ll build a clearer picture of the warning signs for customer churn so that you can make moves to mitigate it.
Always Be Adapting
Consistent business growth is a moving target, and it’s impossible to offer one solution that will work for every business. What’s important is that you keep close track of what you’re doing, analyze the results, and adapt to what works and what doesn’t in order to craft a more nuanced approach going forward.