Every entrepreneur starts with a great idea. Next comes raising capital, followed by the business set up and (ideally) a steady flow of customers. Present this time line to entrepreneurs, and they’ll take it in a heartbeat.
Of course, even success brings work. As new customers begin to flow in, you begin to realize that you can no longer operate as you did initially, with manual processes that require individual labor and attention. To stay successful and effective, you have to ensure your customers will be just as happy when you grow as they were when you were just starting out. So without further ado, here are 3 best practices that help scale your small business successfully and in a lasting way.
1) Keep Your Core
Make no mistake: this point is the single most important to make about your endeavor. Every successful business starts out with a core value proposition, an idea of how a new product or service may satisfy customer needs that were previously unmet. As you grow, you may develop new products that go beyond your initial offering or even target a new audience. But the one thing you should never do is give up on your core value proposition.
Whether or not you’re scaling your business, your existing customers are your greatest asset in spreading the word and bringing in revenue. Advertisements and market expansions can certainly help in the process, but without your loyal base, you likely won’t get far. That’s why scaling your business cannot be successful without preserving your core audience and value proposition.
2) Outbound to Inbound
Something else you’ll notice rather quickly when scaling your business is that advertising methods that previously seemed rather easy will become time-consuming and expensive. Print ads in local papers are simply not as effective when targeting a larger audience, as is direct mail. Instead of pursuing these traditional “outbound” methods, consider going with a more affordable alternative: inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is based on the philosophy that if you build and promote an online presence that is relevant and interesting enough to your audience, they will come to you. It relies primarily on free attention-getting methods, from blogging and search engine optimization to social media and email marketing.
The basics are simple: you create great content, hide it behind a sign up form that entices visitors to give you their contact information, and begin collecting these “leads” in a centralized database. Now, you can engage in targeted promotional messages with a high chance of success. As you scale your business, you will notice that inbound marketing is not only more cost-effective, but also much easier to organize your potential customers than its alternatives.
3) Automate Processes
Inbound marketing also offers a perfect example for another crucial aspect of scaling your business: automating your processes. When you only have a customer base of less than 100, it makes sense to engage with each customer on a personal base to increase loyalty and build relationships. But as that customer base grows into the 1,000s, you can’t possibly keep up using manual processes. How do you automate your messaging without losing the personal core that made your business so successful?
Marketing automation software is one solution. Customer Relationship Management software can collect your contacts using above inbound marketing techniques, then take over to send personalized emails based on your leads’ recorded information on a regular basis.
These emails may be triggered by specific actions on your website, or simply sent out for date-based promotions – whichever you prefer. Either way, marketing automation allows you to scale your marketing efforts efficiently, and without losing your core value.
Has your business grown to the point of scaling? Are you looking for effective ways to expand your company without losing touch with your current and future customers? If so, contact us! We’d love to tell you more about our CRM software, and how it can help you grow to new heights.