This article originally appeared on Money254. Money254 helps consumers and business owners to search, compare and apply for financial products in Kenya.
Running a business is as rewarding as it is challenging. Every day is an opportunity to grow. But lately, the business environment hasn't been all rosy.
With the threat of looming recession and economic slowdown, entrepreneurs will likely suffer the most. So how can you ensure that you meet your business goals?
There are various strategies that businesses can adopt to ensure their growth. This starts by identifying where you could improve and what actions and activities to focus on.
This article will explore ten strategies you can adopt to help you grow your business.
Offer top-notch customer service
You might have a great product or offer great service, but if your customer service is bad, you will likely struggle to retain customers and grow your business. Great customer service involves meeting basic standards like being polite and helpful and exceeding customer expectations by being resourceful, efficient, and friendly.
In the competitive business world, offering top-notch customer service is essential to keeping your customers happy, satisfied, and loyal. You can achieve this by combining different practices such as:
- having a deep understanding of your product/service and guiding customers effectively
- providing solutions to customers' problems promptly and staying in touch with them
- being responsive and timely in addressing their concerns, feedback, or complaints
- training your staff on effective communication and problem-solving skills to enhance your overall customer service experience.
Hire the right people
Your employees are your first brand ambassadors; therefore, your business will only be as good as your employees are. Hiring the wrong person can cost you more than just money; it can put your reputation on the line and hinder your growth.
To ensure you are bringing on board the right people, you need to have a plan in place. This means knowing exactly what you're looking for before you start the hiring process.
When it comes to the interview process, communication is key. Be open and honest about what you're looking for and expect in an employee. This not only helps you to screen applicants effectively, but it also lets prospective hires know that their time and efforts are valued.
As a business, you also need to maintain an active public presence. This can include various things such as social media accounts, street teams, or other roles in the community you serve. Doing so increases the likelihood that the right people will be aware of your business and interested in working for you.
Lastly, take the time to interview potential employees and ask the right questions thoroughly. Ensure they share your goals and fit well within your company culture.
Keep up with trends in your industry
Staying informed about your industry's latest trends and developments will help you remain competitive and grow. You can do this by closely monitoring industry news and staying attuned to changing consumer behaviours. This will ensure you can quickly identify new opportunities and adapt your business strategy accordingly.
To stay on top of industry trends, it's important to stay plugged into various information sources. This can include trade publications and websites. Following industry thought leaders could also be valuable sources of insights and ideas.
But it's not enough to stay informed; you also need to get actively involved in your industry. This means joining industry associations, attending events and conferences, and participating in online communities. Doing so can build relationships, learn from others, and stay at the forefront of your field.
For instance, if you are in the Mtumba business, you can join a market association or other groups with traders in the same sectors.
Invest in digital marketing
In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is paramount to business success. As more and more consumers turn to the internet to gather information about businesses before making purchasing decisions, it's essential to have a solid digital marketing strategy in place.
One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is its cost-effectiveness. Unlike traditional marketing methods, digital marketing allows you to target your audience with laser precision. This ensures your message is delivered to those most likely interested in your products or services. This not only helps you save money on advertising, but it also helps you get the most out of your marketing budget.
Another major benefit of digital marketing is the ability to collect data that you can use to understand your customers better. With the right tools and analytics, you can gather valuable insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and interests, allowing you to tailor your marketing messages and strategies to meet their needs better.
Digital marketing can also help you build stronger relationships with customers. By engaging with your customers on social media, for example, you can foster a sense of community and loyalty around your brand.
Staying innovative is crucial for the growth and success of any business. The business world constantly evolves, and companies that fail to innovate risk being left behind. Innovation will help you stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge.
Innovation can take many forms, from introducing new products and services to improving existing ones. It can also involve finding new, more efficient ways to streamline processes or use the latest technology to enhance productivity.
You need to stay informed about your industry and industry trends to stay innovative. This means investing time and resources in education and staying up-to-date with the latest developments.
Another key factor in staying innovative is empowering employees. By investing in your team and providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed, you can encourage them to develop new ideas and ways of doing things.
Finally, listening to customers is also critical in staying innovative. Collecting feedback and using it to improve products and services can help you stay relevant and meet the evolving needs of your customers.
Set long-term goals and vision for your business
Setting long-term goals and vision for your business allows you to envision where you want your business to be. It enables you to set a clear direction for your company. Without a clear vision and long-term goals, your business won't be able to stay ahead of competitors or be innovative.
Setting goals for your business offers a lot of benefits. Firstly, it helps you stay focused and motivated to achieve your objectives. Secondly, it enables you to improve your business operations and maintain your company's mission.
When setting goals, ensure they are "SMART" – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
By setting "SMART" goals, you can outline a clear vision with an actionable plan that is more likely to be achieved. Your goals should challenge you and be achievable and relevant to your industry. They should tie into your business mission, vision, and foundation and have a specific deadline for when you want to achieve them.
Keep an eye on your competitors
In today's competitive marketplace, it's essential to know what your rivals are up to because they're also trying to woo your customers away from you.
By monitoring their activities, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses and learn from them. You can leverage their strengths to improve your business while addressing your weaknesses. Recognising their weaknesses can help you capitalise on those areas and stand out.
Healthy competition is essential, not only for your business but for the growth of the industry as a whole. It keeps you on your toes, drives innovation, and motivates you to improve. It helps you stay aware of market trends and changes in customer needs, which can help you make better products or provide better services to your customers.
However, avoid unhealthy competition practices, such as directly copying your competitors' strategies or products. Such practices can backfire on you and show your customers that you lack innovation, which is not sustainable in the long run.
Expand your network and build business relationships
Expanding your network and building business relationships are vital to achieving success in the business world. Making meaningful connections with employees, clients, suppliers, competitors, and other entrepreneurs can offer many benefits that enhance your business opportunities.
When you stay in touch with your customers, you build loyalty and create better opportunities for your business. And networking with competitors and other entrepreneurs can enhance your confidence while gaining visibility for your business.
Networking allows you to establish yourself as an expert within your industry. Building relationships and sharing knowledge can position you as a thought leader and gain credibility. This can lead to more business opportunities and growth.
When you engage with other like-minded professionals, you can exchange ideas and best practices. This can help you, and your team develop new skills and approaches to problem-solving.
Ask for help whenever you feel stuck
As a business person, it's important to recognise that you can't do everything alone. Sometimes, you'll encounter problems that require more than just your expertise. When this happens, don't be afraid to ask for help when stuck.
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It can be a learning process that helps you avoid costly mistakes.
However, you should be careful about who you ask for help. Building a network of trusted and knowledgeable individuals you can turn to whenever you're stuck is crucial. This network can include mentors, industry experts, and other successful business owners.
In addition to building a network, consider investing in a business coach or financial expert to help you run your day-to-day operations.
Take time off to rest
As an entrepreneur, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of running a business. However, taking time off to rest and recharge is important to avoid burnout. Burnout can lead to stress, affecting your performance and business. You need to know when to take a break.
To start, prioritise getting better sleep every night. Ensure you have a schedule that allows you to listen to your body and make time for your personal and work life.
Next, you should have boundaries. Create a buffer between your personal and professional life to prevent work from taking over every part of your life. This can be achieved by working only during set hours and having days off.
Business success requires constant learning, adaptation, and hard work. With the right mindset, you can create a plan to help you grow and deal with challenges as they arise.
There’s no single rule on how to grow a business, and your products, marketplace, and the economy will all have a significant impact on the best course of action for your company. However, focusing on developing relationships with customers, challenging yourself by setting new goals and constantly learning can help grow your business.