The ultimate goal for most businesses is growth. Even small businesses aim to grow in one-way or another. However, growth won’t occur without taking the proper strategic measures that take advantage of the market and your customers. Here are some tips for growth that we recommend to small businesses:
You’ve heard of a ‘positioning statement,’ where the key benefit of the brand (in the eyes of the consumers) is expressed in one sentence. The strategy behind the positioning statement (or simply ‘positioning’) is to provide a specific guideline for future branding and business decisions. As long as everything is in line with the positioning statement, then the business is moving closer to affecting it’s target audience.
However, things can change quickly in the market and the business’s positioning strategy can become obsolete. Suddenly what was previously the thing that was “going to sell the business best” is not longer the “thing” and your business is now moving in the wrong direction.
Repositioning is the process of changing the ‘position’ of the business in the market. This can involve rebranding, new business goals and new business philosophies. The goal of repositioning is to find out what your customers now need, and then reposition your strategies to cater to that need (and let your customers know that you now cater to that need).
2) Market Segmentation
Market Segmentation is similar to Repositioning, but has some distinct differences. Market Segmentation is the process of discovering a corner of the market that your business can call its own and focus its efforts around that “corner.” Repositioning refers to finding out what the customers want and changing your business practices to focus on that. Market Segmentation requires Repositioning (but not always extensively), but Repositioning doesn’t necessarily require Market Segmentation.
For example, say you wanted to start a new burger business. You know that you don’t have the ability to compete with McDonalds or Hungry Jacks because of your size. However, you notice that there is a demand for vegetarian burgers in your city. This segment of the market is untouched by any business, so if you formed your business around making vegetarian burgers, you would have almost no competition. This is an example of how you can take advantage of gaps in the market through Market Segmentation.
3) New Product/Service Development
Sometimes it isn’t always necessary to completely change the entire strategic focus of your business to ensure future growth. Your business may be performing successfully and not require being repositioned in order to take advantage of a new opportunity in the market. Sometimes all that is required is to develop a new product or service for your business.
When McDonald’s were left out of the ‘gourmet’ market in terms of their menu selections, they decided to introduce new meals to their repertoire. New product ranges such as the “M Selections” and “McCafe” were added without removing the classic menu items. McDonalds was able to attract new customers to their franchise without alienating the current ones.
4) Utilising Partnerships
In some cases it can be that you have a brilliant product but have no way of distributing, manufacturing or marketing it. Owning a small business means that you could struggle to compete with larger companies, even if your product is superior. A way to combat this and grow your business is to form partnerships with other business owners.
You can offset your business’s flaws to other businesses and provide them with a portion of the profits as compensation. For example, a distribution company would take care of the distribution of your goods and could also provide advice for future ventures due to their expertise in the field.
5) Advertise more or Advertise better
It is undeniable that advertising is necessary to business growth and you would be hard pushed to find any businesses that do little advertising and are successful. However, the volume and quality of your advertising may not be enough.
Mobile marketing, loyalty campaigns, SEO optimization and social media marketing are all but many of examples of potential advertising channels that can be taken advantage of. If your business is currently advertising, but neglecting other avenues, it might be time to introduce some new mediums into your campaign. Research what other competitors in your field are doing and re-evaluate if you need to change what you are doing.
However, you may be involved in a variety of different campaigns in different advertising mediums and still aren’t getting responses. If this is the case, assess whether your strategies in these mediums are effective and if you really know what you are doing. There is no value in using ‘social media marketing’ if you have no idea how to utilise it effectively. Research how to use these mediums properly before you lose faith in their capabilities.
In summary, the key to small business growth is finding out what your customers need and then creating a strategy to address that need. Don’t be afraid to take risks in growing your business, because without doing so, you risk stagnation.