It is one thing to start a business, but it is something else entirely to actually grow that business. These days – with all of the advantages that technology affords each of us – it is relatively easy to get up and running with your own business idea. Depending on your idea, you may not even need much money to get started. Growing that business, however, is going to take plenty of time and effort.
Three Basic Concepts
In general, you can break down the process of growing your business into three categories. Those categories are as follows –
- Increasing your number of customers
- Increasing the average customer purchase
- Increase frequency of customer purchase
Below, we will highlight each of these three methods of business growth, along with some ideas for how to pursue each channel.
Increasing Your Number of Customers
When you think about business growth, this is probably the first thing you think about. After all, if you have more customers, you are going to make more money, right? Well, yes, in most cases. Acquiring more customers is always desirable, although the cost of doing so can be prohibitive in some cases.
To gain customers for your business, advertising is going to be the channel which is most likely to yield results. By purchasing advertising space in any number of different areas, you can put a marketing message in front of your target audience. One of the easiest and most-controlled ways of delivering an ad message today is through the use of Google AdWords.
AdWords is a marketing channel that allows you to display paid search results on Google when potential customers search for terms related to your business. The advantage of AdWords is the incredible amount of control that you have over targeting your market. As long as you know your market and you know what your potential customers are searching for, you can display ads to that population without wasting money showing ads to those who aren’t interested. Also, you can tightly control your spending on AdWords, so going over budget should not be an issue.
Increasing the Average Customer Purchase
Another way to grow your business is simply to get your current customers to spend more money. This is a desirable path because you don’t have to invest money in acquiring new customers – you can simply work toward extracting more money from those who you have already acquired. A popular, and successful, way to add to your average receipt is through the use of quality shopping cart software on your website.
When a customer goes through the process of making a purchase on your site, you want to make sure they are offered the opportunity to add on to their purchase before checking out. For instance, a quality shopping cart software program will make it possible for you to present buyers with products related to their purchase at the last moment before checkout. You can think of this in the same way as a grocery store putting things like candy bars and gum right up next to the check stand. These last-minute purchases are a great way for grocery stores to earn extra income from existing customers, and you can do the same on your website.
Increase Frequency of Customer Purchases
The last option on our list for business growth is adding to the frequency of your customer purchases. This is another desirable method because, just like with the previous point, you don’t have to track down new customers. Once someone has made a purchase from your business, they are far more likely to do so again in the future – as long as you give them the opportunity. So, to target increased purchase frequency as a method of growth, you are going to need to market to your previous customers.
In today’s world, this kind of marketing usually comes through the use of an email list. If you build a database of email address from your previous customers, you can use that list to send out promotional material on a periodic basis. By reminding your customers that you have plenty of goods available, and that you have great prices and sales, you are likely to improve your purchase frequency. Even without adding a single new customer, you can make your business more profitable simply by selling more often to the same people.
Make no mistake – it is hard to grow a business. However, the fact that it is hard does not mean it is impossible. Think about your current marketing efforts and how they could be used together with the strategies listed above in order to grow sales and profits well into the future. Good luck!