Growing any business is a challenge. For small businesses, especially those that are just starting out, learning how to deliver successful results in terms of profit and growth can be even more difficult.
Let’s face it: There’s a lot to consider when it comes to growing your small business. If you’re at a standstill in growing your leads and revenue, sometimes making small changes – especially those that improve marketing and digital processes – can have the biggest impact.
From my decade-long experience as a branding and marketing consultant, I’ve identified a few quick operational and strategic changes (easily implemented with technology-backed processes and easy-to-use SaaS tools) that help SMBs turn profitable and accelerate their pace of growth. If you’re already profitable and looking to scale up, these strategies will help you to shift your focus to effective strategies that consistently deliver bigger, better results.
Four Small Changes for Your Small Business That Lead to Big Results
- Focus on customer needs
- Increase employee engagement
- Create thought leadership content
- Make brand messaging more effective
1. Focus on Customer Needs
Understanding why a customer purchases from you is key to increasing revenue and growing your business. Customer needs may include price, convenience, functionality, performance, transparency, support, and more.
To solve your customer’s pain points, put yourself in their shoes. Do you understand their problem? Are you solving for the correct needs? Is the purchasing process easy?
If you operate in the B2B space, where sales cycles are longer and transaction sizes are bigger, you need to remove as much friction as you can in your prospecting and customer acquisition processes. Technology can help streamline things.
Using a platform such as ContractZen to manage your team’s sales meetings, you can easily set up secure ad-hoc meeting portal pages, where stakeholders can access everything they need, including key documents such as contracts and financial statements, participants’ contact details, a map of where the meeting is taking place, and spaces for taking and sharing notes. Modules for scheduling, e-signatures and post-meeting task management are built in as well.
Although most companies focus on customer needs at the time of acquisition, it is common knowledge that focusing on customer retention is far more profitable across verticals and industries. Therefore, the question that businesses (especially B2B and enterprise) need to be asking is, “Are your post-purchase orientation and support processes simple and effective?”
Businesses with digital products or app-based services can offer customers a knowledge base, onboarding guides, use-case webinars, and live demos to make product adoption and use easier for your customers.
2. Increase Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is crucial to business growth in multiple ways. A Gallup study found that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by a whopping 202%.
Further, multiple studies have found that engaged employees are more productive, which in turn leads to increase in revenue. That’s not all — engaged employees also:
- Actively support company initiatives and transformation efforts and are more open to change
- Work in the same jobs or even same roles for longer
- Recommend the company as a good place to work to suitable candidates
- Find it easier to maintain work-life balance
- Are more effective in managerial and leadership roles
- Form better connections with customers, resulting in better customer satisfaction rates
Increasing employee engagement doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Understanding how to engage your employees, however, will help drive business growth.
One effective way to increase employee engagement is by building your entire business strategy around your employees. Spend an ample amount of time figuring out what they want through interviews and surveys and then develop a strategy that will engage them.
There are a variety of integrated collaboration and employee management tools that can help SMBs implement an effective employee engagement program.
For instance, Deputy’s scheduling app turns engagement into a daily function by simplifying management of employee schedules across different departments.
Deputy uses AI to keep track of employees’ routine activities and help team leaders figure out how to use their strengths in content creation by deriving insights from the projects they’re working on.
3. Create Thought Leadership Content
In-depth and authoritative content is an essential part of any successful content marketing strategy. Being a thought leader is more than just creating a sense of trust between your business and audience.
In order to increase leads and drive business growth consistently, your content should be 10x better than anything your competition can come up with. At its basic level, it needs to be contextual, relatable, informative, and actionable. It should also establish a distinct voice to help your audience distinguish, identify, and recall your brand.
The biggest differentiating factor of thought leadership content is the amount of value it offers to readers or viewers. Take HubSpot, for example. Its blog uses expert industry knowledge to provide high-value content to readers. Each post attempts to speak to a target persona, understands their pain points, and provide effective, actionable solutions.
You can’t stop at great content, however. Engaging and unambiguous headlines that pique curiosity are essential for drawing in viewers. A title creator or headline analyzer tool such as CoSchedule will help you create irresistible (but not clickbait) headlines to draw in visitors.
You need a good headline to get readers to your content.
Don’t forget to further enhance blog content with images, videos, data-based infographics, and interactive elements that hold viewers longer on the page and keep bringing them back later.
4. Make Brand Messaging More Effective
The goal of every brand message is differentiation – standing out from competitors by creating something memorable and meaningful at every touchpoint of customer interaction. Consistent branding helps your customers understand your company values and vision.
A Lucidpress study found that consistency has a huge impact on the perception of a brand, and, ultimately, its profitability. Businesses that created a more consistent message through their branding efforts and content actually reported 23% higher revenues than their competitors. On the other hand, when companies do not follow a pattern or portray a unified message, it can lead to confusion and even distrust.
Effective brand messaging requires you to understand who you’re marketing to. What language do your customers speak? What demographics are they? What do they care about?
Try incorporating a story into your brand messaging. How did your business start? Why are you passionate about offering your products? A personal story can help your customers connect emotionally with your business.
For example, UK-based juice brand Innocent Smoothies uses child-themed brand messaging (true to their brand name) to connect with their customers.
Your brand messaging should be consistent across traditional and digital channels, but be careful — being repetitive can make your message seem stale. Innocent pitches its natural beverages and recycling mission to a youthful audience via its website, social media, and even product packaging.
With carefully crafted brand messaging, you enhance your value proposition and communicate its value to potential customers.
Small Changes Can Bring Big Results
Although small adjustments to your strategy have the potential for great success, every business and its circumstances are different. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of resources that enable them to experiment or slug it out with competitors.
Data and patience are your best friends in this situation. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day — it takes time to see results, especially if you need to build new organizational capabilities, implement new marketing strategies, or create thought-leadership content.
Making the changes we discussed here consistently will doubtless drive growth. It’s up to you to track key metrics and make continuous improvements if you want to survive and thrive in the long run.