Business growth doesn’t happen by accident, it’s usually the result of careful planning and strategic thinking. There is no easy solution to scaling, however, if you want to give your business a boost in 2020, give these hacks a try.
Explore investment and grant opportunities
In today’s economic climate, small business owners have ample experience bootstrapping their endeavours but it doesn’t have to be this way. Businesses wanting to get ahead should consider exploring investment and grant opportunities to get a funding boost they might need to expand.
In recent years the government has increased its focus on providing small business owners with access to funds to help them grow. From the establishment of the Business Growth Fund last year to a plethora of federal and state-funded grants, business owners can get assistance to accelerate their commercial opportunities, test and refine product before exporting, or the opportunity to research and create new products or processes.
Aside from government support, small business owners with ideas for their existing business should also consider entering pitch competitions like the St.George Kick Start to be in for a chance to win a share of its $100,000 grant pool. As well as receiving a cash injection, pitch events provide a valuable opportunity to gain exposure to potential investors and showcase your business idea.
In 2019 Jo Palmer founder of Pointer Remote Roles won one of the divisions in the St.George Kick Start competition. She told Kochie’s Business Builders the win allowed her to scale her business and employ her first full-time employee.
“Winning the $40,000 grant allowed me to scale my business, which I’d never thought was possible. Thanks to the St.George Kick Start program we’ve been able to help more companies connect with the talent they need in their business, remotely. An increase in jobs has meant talented professionals who live in rural Australia have been able to access the same jobs as those in the city. This has created incredible opportunities for those in rural areas impacted by the ongoing drought and the recent bushfires,” Palmer said.
Leverage your existing customers
Chasing down and attracting new customers is no easy feat, so it’s worthwhile leveraging your existing customer base as an effective way to build sales and retention. Incentivising their loyalty is a good place to start, after all, who doesn’t like to be rewarded?
If you are already running a loyalty program then you are on the path to increasing customer engagement. And that’s great news: LinkedIn reports engaged customers will spend 97 per cent more than other customers.
“Loyalty programs are a win-win for businesses and customers,” says small business expert David Koch. “On the business side, they provide a wealth of data, allowing small business owners to track customers spending habits, monitor the effectiveness of campaigns and help them to deliver more of what their customers want. For a customer, they provide a more personalised experience with a brand and usually offer incentives and discounts. This can lead to repeat business or larger purchases.”
Pursue new market opportunities
As a small business owner, it’s essential that you stay abreast of the latest trends in order to capitalise on new market opportunities. Small businesses have the ability to be far more agile in the market than their big corporate counterparts. This agility allows them to adapt to market trends and pursue market opportunities.
The trick is to identify what market opportunities there are in order to grow your existing product or service. Identify when, where and how people buy your products and look for gaps in the market. Scope out your competitors’ offerings and analyse complementary products or services. For example, if you own a café you should be across the latest ‘milk’ trends. It’s also a good idea to consider overall consumer trends too such as the rise of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options and the importance of sustainability to customers. Once you identify a trend, consider how you can take advantage to facilitate business growth.
If you’re considering scaling your business in 2020, why not apply for St.George’s Kick Start and be in for the chance to win part of their $100,000 grant pool? Applications are now open to businesses across NSW, QLD and ACT and will close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (ADST) on Monday 23 March 2020.