This year could be the right time to re-focus your efforts on growing your business. Up until now, you may feel you’ve just been ticking over for the last few years or maybe the growth you have experienced has happened naturally. 
But you’re now ready to go to the next level so you need to focus your thinking on the right areas of your business to deliver on your ambitions.  
Let’s start with the different growth strategies you can use: 
Increase share of your market – make more sales of your existing products or services within your market, you can start by encouraging your customers to buy more from you. Maybe expand your base by taking more customers from your competitors. 
Develop your market – explore attracting new target customers, move into new regions of the country or countries. You can do this by expanding your offering and proposition so it appeals to new people or businesses. 
Diversify – develop new income streams for your business, attract more customers, identify untapped markets. It’s a good way to spread the risk to your business by offering different but related products or services. 
Develop your products – conduct research with your existing customers and find out how you could improve or expand what you offer to them. Maybe white label products offered by another company or look at joint ventures where you can share a customer base. 
Adopting any of these strategies will require more work for you, it’s what you need to do if you want to successfully grow your business. But it’s always good to focus your efforts, so here are some of the key areas to consider. 
How to develop customer relationships 
Your most valuable asset in the business is your existing customer base. They know you, have bought from you, experienced your service offering. This means they are the best people to open a dialogue with to find out what you could be doing more of or better. Many companies forget to do this but communicating with your customers is the easiest thing for you to do. 
If they’ve had a good experience they will naturally tell other people about you, spread the message through word of mouth. But why not start to explore what else you can do for them. Maybe look at additional product features or new services that would appeal. Consider attracting like-minded customers who would also be interested in what you’re offering. 
By deepening the relationship you have with your customers they are less likely to move over to a competitor. That is unless your service delivery slips and they feel less than valued at any stage. Simply by understanding more about your customers you’ll deliver what they want. 
Employing the right people to do the job 
That sounds a bit obvious but if you know your customers you’ll know what and how to deliver what they need. It’s really important to get the right people delivering your product or service, they are the face of your company but as your business grows you will inevitably need more people. 
Make sure you have the right processes in place to make this happen. Think about the qualities you want in an individual that will support your business then seek to attract those individuals. If you don’t’ get this right it can spiral out of control very quickly and you could lose customers. 
Build your company profile 
If customers don’t know you exist it’s hard for them to consider doing business with you. Have a look at what your competitors are doing, where they are present, what’s on offer, how are they positioning themselves. 
Then think about your company profile and how easy you are to find across different media. How visible are you currently and what do you need to change, maybe think about some of the following: 
Build your online presence through your website 
Provide regular content that answers your customers’ questions 
Host events and seminars either directly or through sponsorship 
Be active and responsive on social media 
Increase local visibility by supporting community activities 
Networking to build quality business relationships is also a good activity that can deliver longer-term benefits. A great way to make connections you can nurture over time and work to support each other. 
Measure your activity 
If you’re spending money on sales and marketing you need to make sure you measure the results. Don’t be afraid to test and learn your activity it’s a powerful way to understand what works and what doesn’t work. Assess what you expect to happen as a result of the activity, measure how it performed then analyze the impact. 
This is a great way to stop doing those activities that deliver poor returns to the business. It might also feel like a very brave approach but if the numbers don’t stack up, stop doing what isn’t working and do more of what does work. 
Create an actionable business plan 
Taking all these elements together you can build a robust and actionable business plan. Working with an accountant or bookkeeper will help you get close to the numbers to understand what they are telling you. 
Work with them to build an overall growth plan for your business based on the journey you have made so far. They can help you identify where you need to invest back into the business and how best to do this. It will also give you a focus you can deliver to the rest of the business, so everyone knows what they need to do and understands why it’s important. 
What do you find most challenging about building a business plan? 
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