How does your small business generate more sales? Marketing initiatives? Sales incentives? Referrals? Cold calls? All of the above? While each of those tactics play an important role in any business growth model, as a small business owner, there are some other not-so-obvious ways to increase your sales and expand your market. Check out these five catalysts for business growth – creative ways to grow your market presence in your local community and ultimately increase your sales. Don’t overlook the value in stepping outside of your office and into your back yard. As a small business owner, it can be any one of these unique approaches that might ignite the fire that blasts your business into the marketplace.
1. Engage: Join local small business groups. Whether it’s your local Chamber of Commerce or a more casual setting, actively participate in your community by facilitating relationships with like-minded folks. Developing a “tribe” of supporters in your back yard can serve many purposes. They can help spread awareness by word of mouth, offer pointed advice and experiences, and empathize with the struggles of small business. Stay motivated with the help of others and show genuine interest in their endeavors and they’ll be sure to return the favor.
2. Research: Pay attention to your local market. What are other business owners doing? Are they successful? Any recent failures that you could learn from? Acknowledging your competition is healthy and can help you gauge where you might be missing the mark. Read local newspapers and business blogs. See how your community reacts to certain strategies by watching and learning from established business owners.
3. Learn: Attend local conferences or seminars. Stay up to date with regional events and explore leadership programs. Any opportunity to hear words of wisdom from those who have gone before you is a sure-fire way to be sure you are always challenging yourself in new ways. You can also make great connections with other attendees. Be sure to follow up on new introductions with a proactive phone call or email. Don’t let the opportunity die when the conference is over.
4. Volunteer: Showing value for your community and marketplace by giving back is a wonderful way to establish your presence as a company that cares. Making an effort to serve others instead of selling others shows your client base that you know it’s not “all about you” and you general care and want to meet their needs. Beyond meeting local people in need, other volunteers and the good feeling that comes from helping others, you are developing respect and admiration for yourself and your business.
5. Socialize: Make an effort to make friends everywhere you go. Whether they are in your target market or not, you never know when a friendship will pay off in a referral or positive recommendation. Develop genuine relationships, be approachable, smile and laugh. If your market consists of business owners who love to kick back and hit the golf course on their free time, make it a point to play a round with new people once a week. Chat people up in the doctor’s office, coffee shop, supermarket. Be happy and share that happiness with others. A social business owner is a successful business owner. Engage people because they are human, not because they are prospects. Wait for them to ask about your business. Treat them with genuine interest and authentic interest.
These simple catalysts for business growth often go overlooked, especially in the frenzy of trying to get a business off the ground. Be diligent about setting aside time to slow down and focus outward. After all, your small business isn’t about you. You’re providing some service or meeting some need for someone else. Take the time to look outside your door and engage what’s right in your back yard. Your key to success might be right there and you don’t even know them yet!