Are you resisting your entrepreneurial dream because you have been told that business is for people with deep pockets? Then here is your chance to break all such misleading notions. Know that you can not only start a small business, but you can make it thrive and grow if you can master the art of making your customers happy.
In business, there is no concept of stagnation. If you stop growing, you put yourself in reverse gear. Growth is essential and uncompromisable. And yes, it requires money. Money makes the execution of your business expansion plans easy. But, what if you don’t have a lot of money? In this article, we will give you ten ways to do that. These are all action steps from successful businesses that you can implement right away without delay.
1. Offer your services for free
When you are just getting started and don’t have a lot of credibilities, what you need to show clients is proof of your capabilities. You should be able to go to potential clients and show them your portfolio of good work. Let them know that they can expect the same results from you.
This is important for you to build up your case in the beginning. Then, for other gigs in the future, you can charge, but you need to build that track record ASAP. So, offer to work for free for a limited time, till you get on your feet. to,
The traditional route to business growth through organic acquisition or expansion means building up assets. But, asset building is very risky-you have to pay upfront, and the returns come much later. Leveraging involves using strategies to get more things accomplished without spending extra money. It can be seen in terms of economic trade-offs such as buy versus make, or rent versus own.
As a small business, you might find it easier to buy goods from a manufacturer, rather than make them yourselves. You can sell them under your brand name. It will allow you to save on costs and concentrate on a limited product line.
3. Trim your budget
You may think that your budget is already lean, but if you go through it carefully, you will be surprised to see many unnecessary things add up over time. Cutting costs will give you more money to spend on marketing, tools, or other growth projects to expand business.
Go to each department, and find out their monthly, quarterly, and yearly budgets. See if they are contributing significantly to your company’s bottom line. Otherwise, you can re-allocate the amount in any growth areas.
While cutting costs, it is important to see that they don’t impact your revenue pipelines.
4. Bill faster
Your accounts receivables can be as much as 40 to 50 percent of your actual assets. When payments are delayed, you can face serious cash problems that can threaten your survival, let alone grow your business. So, get your customers to pay on time.
Send invoices ASAP, because the client will have no obligation to pay till he or she gets the invoices. Don’t send invoices with just the amount, but explain every charge. Give details of all items sold, and highlight any discounts given.
When all other methods fail, consider taking legal action to recover your funds.
5. Joint venture with other people
Forming joint ventures is a great expansion strategy for your business. Figure in your marketplace who already has access to the customers whom you want. There are already companies out there who have spent time and money accumulating that customer base. Try to convince them to do a joint venture with you, so that you can market to their customer base.
You can offer them some commission or maybe an exchange of service. In return, they will allow you to market to their list. This way, you reduce the amount of risk and you don’t need to spend any money.
6. Simplify your business
As an entrepreneur, if you are bogged down by day-to-day processes, when will you think about business expansion? Learn to focus and simplify to streamline your operations and grow your business. Find out what are the hard-to-sell products and the unprofitable areas in your business. Take the use of data to cut back on things that cost too much.
Sometimes, the numerous software and tools instead of helping us, bog us down. Try to merge your apps and tools to combine several functions. This will help you save valuable time.
Instead of individual computers, you can use your server to help with documentation. It is much more reliable and makes it easy to back up all your important documents daily.
7. Rethink your sales process
If you want to improve sales and scale-up, shift your focus from acquiring new customers to those who have already tried and tested your products-your old customers. They are a better sales prospect than a total stranger.
Try to be more creative in your sales process. Talk with your sales team and find out their feedback about the leads. Maybe, it is time to change your strategy; perhaps a passive approach will help rather than an aggressive sales pitch.
Learn about the competition’s marketing tactics. Try to play on their weaknesses, and maximise your strengths.
Try to sell the benefits of your product, not the features. Whether you are selling via email or social selling, explain to the customers what they will gain by buying your product.
Small businesses don’t have a large budget for marketing. One free method of communicating with your customers is by building an email list. Give them value-added content by sending them a weekly newsletter. It will encourage them to visit your website, browse through your products, and maybe buy.
Influence drives the value of your product; so, try influencer marketing. Try to persuade your target audience by appealing to their emotions. People trust influential people and heed their recommendations. Engage somebody like that to sell your products.
Know your customers and understand their needs. Develop products and services that meet those needs.
9. Content Marketing
If you can’t spend money, why not spend some time? The best way to create a loyal customer base is to educate them through content marketing. Create content like a company blog, a podcast, or a video. In the beginning, you need volume to make yourself heard in the marketplace. It is a long game, but you would get better at it if you get started today.
Research by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) says that 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. So, this is an untapped territory, and you should take advantage of it. It is the most cost-effective strategy with the biggest return.
Explore investment opportunities to generate income for your small business. For example, you may have extra cash which you don’t require currently. So, instead of keeping it idle in a bank, you can invest it in stocks and bonds. You can use the income from that in growing your business.
Capital plays an important role in the success of any business. The faster you can get your hands on funds, the quicker you can kick-start your company. One of the ways to get funds and grow your business is through investors. It is the quickest way of getting access to money. Most investors are seasoned veterans of the industry; they will offer you valuable guidance.
Perhaps you are a small business owner, who has not been able to expand further due to a lack of investments. But remember, you don’t need deep pockets to scale up; you just need to be creative.
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Q. How can I raise customer trust for my products?
Ans. One of the ways to do that is by showing testimonials of other customers. You can also try online marketing and social proof.
Q. Investments come with substantial risks. How can I mitigate that?
Ans. You can take the help of financial experts. They use algorithms to find out which investments will appreciate the most over time.
Q. What are the overheads in my business that I must examine to reduce expenses?
Ans. You can look into the rent, utilities and salaries, and try to reduce costs without compromising on efficiency.
Q. Is renting equipment a better option than buying them?
Ans. If you have limited financial resources, then renting equipment will save you from incurring the high expenses of owning them. Otherwise, you will have to borrow money to purchase them.
Q. Why is it important for businesses to be seen as socially responsible?
Ans. Most Millennials and Gen Z, make buying decisions from their heart and not from their heads. So, it makes sense for brands to emotionally connect with them.