Presented by Kerry Carron on 01/24/2019 12:00pm
Business growth is moving our business from wherever it is, closer to where we really want it to be.
Regardless of the size or the age of a business, it’s never too early, or too late, for a freelancer to start growing their business.
However, business growth can all seem quite overwhelming. And, with so many different moving pieces to our business’ where do we start?
6 Actionable Adjustments to Get Your Business Growth Started
An organized and systematic approach is best to overcome the business growth overwhelm.
But, before we start considering new investments or adding marketing strategies, it is imperative to realize that we already have a really valuable asset that can be the foundation for our immediate growth: our current existing customers.
1. Pinpoint Your Business’ Strong Points
In order for our business to grow, we need to understand our business’ strengths. It can be really difficult to make an objective assessment evaluating our own business’ – all by all ourselves. By talking to our customers and getting their feedback, we can find out why they like us – and why they like doing business with us in the first place.
Business strengths come in all shapes and sizes. It might be something like a wide product range. It could be careful attention to detail or speed in dealing with customer support and service issues. The fact that real-time responses to inquiries through chat or email might be the aspect of a business that sets it apart from others – and the one aspect of the business that the clients love the most.
There’s a pretty good chance that our customers know things about our business that we haven’t even thought about. Assumptions about our business’ strengths and challenges may not be accurate. Approaching this discovery process with an open mind will yield the most useful information to be able to leverage to our advantage later.
There are an unlimited amount of options for us to use to obtain client feedback. One example is to conduct an online survey. We can even collect pertinent data while conducting business as usual – working it into our usual sales process with an automated email at a key point. Reaching out personally, a little more often and with a few easily added personal touch points, to our biggest buyers or brand advocates may reveal a gold mine of information. Keeping in regular communication and asking simple questions with our market will certainly increase the probability of finding out how our clients feel about us.
Once you know your business’ strong points, it is time to leverage them to grow.
- Choose three key methods for seeking feedback from your customers.
- Reach out to your customers and look for patterns in the feedback they give you.
- Identify three key strengths that you can play to in order to grow your business.
2. Generate New Product and Service Ideas
As we grow, we find that we need to develop new, laterally aligned products and services. Our existing customers, who know our business’ well, can help us come up with ideas. Oftentimes they will need a new problem solved or ask us about things they’d like to use, do, or see.
A great way to entice this type of engagement from our clients could be to set up a group on social media where customers can discuss ideas, and even problems, with us and with each other. We can even use some of the other methods mentioned in the Discover Your Business Strengths & Assets for getting feedback on our business’ strengths. A simple solution is asking clients directly as to what they’d like to see us offer.
One of the most popular social media platforms is Facebook. The Facebook social media platform allows easy group set up and invitations available for current followers. One advantage of Facebook is that it has millions of users worldwide. It’s pretty likely that our customers are already there. We should also consider any other social media platforms that we know our customers are using. B2B companies often have an audience on professional social media networking platforms like LinkedIn.
Thanks to the Internet, we can set up focus groups and hold discussions with our whoever our audience is and wherever they are. While discussing ideas, we can also ask for feedback on changes we could make that would improve our services. We may learn that our clients would like to see us on Instagram, or that they wish we could offer a faster shipping time for physical products.
Once we collect and compile our data, we’ll likely have a number of ideas to investigate. We can take our list of ideas back to our team and discuss what we can or can’t do, and what might want, or not want, to do with our new information that will lead us to business growth and/or increased profits.
- Create a social media group for your customers
- Set up groups where you can discuss future products or services
3. Go Above and Beyond
Apply extra torque to business growth by adding additional personal touch points with clients. Customer service improvements increase the likelihood of retaining clients, getting referrals, and overall client satisfaction. There are always ways to make improvements.
Pick up Speed. Responding to client requests even slightly faster helps improve customer experience – even without an immediate solution. “Let me check and I’ll get back to you,” expresses care, concern, and a willingness to solve problems. Response delivery options like real-time chats can alert instantly.
Take an Individual Approach. Using automation moderately while interacting with customers and responding to issues personally develops a relationship. Learning about customers on a personal level, chatting with them on social media creates a better experience for the client and helps freelancers understand how to make and keep clients happy and satisfied.
Win People Back. Freelancers and clients are human – we all make mistakes, we can all get angry. Addressing problems, sticking to the facts, providing “extra,” and assuring satisfaction may sway emotions and turn a disgruntled client into a brand advocate.
Know Your Customers Well. Learning about clients and customers through personal interactions can help freelancers to tailor our customer service to our clients and customers’ tastes and preferences.
Be Consistent. Creating checklists or standard operating procedures to address and handle issues consistently establishes protocols and sets boundaries making clients comfortable while setting expectations. Freelance teams will know how to handle any potential issues that arise.
Put Customers First. Business changes in processes, products, or services are inevitable, however, keeping everyone’s best interest is mind will make decisions easier. Considering how any business changes will affect customers and clients also increases the possibility of developing win-win and long-term business relationships.
- Which of the “above and beyond” methods are plausible for you?
- Choose and implement at least one “above and beyond” method.
4. Build Long-lasting Relationships
Great customer service isn’t enough. A successful business warrants building strong, long-lasting – engaging and interacting relationships with your customers.
Email Marketing. Email marketing directly interacts with recipients. Freelancers can expose their business personality and attract engagement by building an email list and sending subscribers regular, helpful, and exclusive content.
Social Media. Creating a challenge on social media can be a fun and creative way to engage clients. Contests may include an incentive to participate, a system of rewards, prizes for the best entry, and even letting other audience members determine the winner.
Webinars and Online Events. Freelancers can engage with clients and allow clients to interact with each other through events that include Q&A sessions, presentations, tutorials, focus groups, or even brainstorming sessions.
Entertainment. Although a main purpose of online content is to solve problems, building relationships with clients can also be accomplished with entertainment. Freelancers who know clients well understand what their clients like and what they find interesting. Sometimes it’s OK to share content just for fun.
Develop an App. Creating an app that solves a simple problem or helps customers accomplish something is a great way to build relationships. An app provides interaction through mobile devices.
Create a VIP List. Identifying and building a strong connection with clients who are the most engaged or have the greatest influence over others can help to build relationships with others. Offer VIPs special promotions or a special type of membership to keep connections tight.
In-person Event. Hosting or joining a local community offline event adds another level of personal touch. Offline event interactions are often more authentic and personal by nature because of the human interaction where emotions, touch, and feel are often primary components.
- Choose and implement three relationship methods to get your audience engaged.
5. Offer Rewards for Referrals
Word of mouth referrals is always great for business because they nearly always result in acquiring a new client. But, putting a system, like a customer referral program, into place to ensure referrals occur can be more effective.
The key to a successful referral program is finding the best time to ask for a referral or have them tell others when they are happy with our service. Here are some examples of when successful referral programs often work best:
- Right after a customer makes a purchase
- When someone sends a personal thank you
- When a client voices praise.
- At the conclusion of helping someone solve a problem.
Offering a small incentive or reward for referrals can also work well. Rewards can be something that doesn’t cost your business anything, like exclusive high-value content or free access to a premium service.
It is important to publicize referral programs so people learn about it. Featuring it prominently in marketing materials, on websites, and within social media platforms will make it easy for people to see and use.
Other types of referral avenues might be through interviews, podcasts, reviewers, or bloggers. Consider “partnering” with those who may have a large enough audience and a willingness to share information about you with others, offering them an incentive or doing something for them in return.
- Create and a referral program
- Track referral program metrics
- Evaluate referral program results.
6. Recognize New Client Opportunities
Freelancers should always be looking for opportunities to bring in new prospects.
Getting into the routine of regularly attending networking events, talking to as many people as possible, and consistently adding customers and contacts in an organized database helps businesses grow.
Using an “elevator speech” can quickly deliver an explanation of unique business benefits and pitching ideas can help clients solve minor problems.
Creating an organized calendar system works best for following up, as well as scheduling appointments to tell people about our business’, and reminders for offers of ways to help.
- Find networking events to attend.
- Prepare an elevator speech for the people you meet.
- Create a system for bringing new people onboard.
These 6 actionable adjustments should give you a great starting point and kick-start your business growth. But there’s more you’ll need to do in order to take your business to the next level.
Do you want to learn even more about growing your business?
If you’re ready to get started, Building Your Business Growth Blueprint is a course that teaches you how to determine exactly what you need to do to consistently grow your business… so that you can achieve your long-term goals – and it’s included with an OwnWP membership.
Presenter Bio: Kerry Carron
Kerry Carron is a loving wife and mother of three grown boys. As a freelancer, Kerry has built hundreds of WordPress websites and assisted other freelancers and small agencies with WordPress support and business development. She is the founder of OwnWP, a production of Ultimate Solution, LLC.
Kerry specializes in processes and creating systems. She is passionate about helping others find their path to success and her aspiration with OwnWP is to encourage other freelancers in finding and using the right combination of tools and skills they need to do more than merely survive!