Founder Notes
5 Ways to Incrementally Grow Your Business
Every business owner wants to see his or her business expand and grow. Sometimes the unexpected happens, and a business blossoms from a startup to a household name seemingly overnight. For the most part, though, business growth is the reward of slow and steady effort. This article looks at five ways to grow your business over time.

Improve Your Marketing

Your business starts with a great idea for a product or service, but it will only grow when you share that idea with the world. Marketing takes time and effort. If your product is geared to an older audience, an email campaign may not be as effective as direct mailing. On the other hand, millennials may only pay attention to what arrives via smartphone. Every market is different, and you may have to experiment with different marketing techniques before finding what works for your particular enterprise.

Garner Reviews

A review or rating is way to get instant feedback about your business. Anonymous reviews will give you a sense of how your business is seen by customers. Reviews that allow for contact give you a chance to interact with those customers. A note of gratitude for a positive review will inspire positive feelings about your company. A note of apology for a critical review can act as damage control. Managing reviews allows you to improve your reputation as a great business to work with.

Enhance Your Online Presence

In the modern business world, it is critical to have an online presence. For many people, your website is the first place that they will connect with your business. Make sure that it looks professional and that the information contained within it is easy to find. Be certain that all contact information is up to date and there are no dead links on the page. Another important online arena is social media. This is an area that can eat up a great deal of time and effort, but it is also a critical place for interacting with potential customers. Posting regularly and responding to comments will keep your business in your customers' thoughts.

Outsource to an Expert

When you start a business, you are often going it alone or working with a skeleton crew for a staff. As your business grows, it is important to delegate responsibility, especially for parts of the business that take your focus away from the big picture. If you cannot afford to hire a designated professional to work for your business, you can outsource tasks such as financial administration, social media outreach and marketing. Although there is a financial investment, you will gain more time to spend developing and expanding your organizational structure.

Study Your Market

One of the important ways to expand your business is to spend time learning about your market. For a store in a physical neighborhood, this will involve learning about the changing makeup of the area. What is the average age of the people who live there? Are new residents moving in? What are the needs that are not being met? For an online business, you will need to spend time looking at trends for your type of product. Paying attention to your market allows you to make decisions about whether to expand your product line to address unmet needs or focus on improving your current product line. Market knowledge also helps you to expand your market logically, responding to needs rather than guessing at trends. The business world is unpredictable. Fads will come and go. Some startups will explode onto the scene and quickly disappear. By aiming for logical, incremental growth, you can keep your business thriving for years to come.

If you're looking for help in your business strategy or plan, improving your leadership ability, analysis and reviewing of your current business, and more, then let Morgan Hill Partners help!
Follow Jim Barnish on Twitter.