Business Growth Strategies

7 Business Growth Strategies You Need to Know

Aug 28, 2017

Can you think of any business that has never had a problem?

Even the most successful companies have at struggled at one time or another.

Early this year, Wal-Mart Stores have been described as having more problems than the Trump Tariff. There’s also Apple, said to be facing declining sales in China, its second-largest market. Another example is Ford, recalling almost half a million vehicles for safety and compliance issues.

For small and medium-sized enterprises, a common struggle has to do with growing pains. Let’s take a closer look at business growth strategies you can implement that can help you address those growing pains and take your business to the next level. 

1. Stay True to Your Vision

Why did you start your own company? There must be a compelling reason for you to do so, especially if you made that huge leap from employee to business owner.

To be more specific, there must be a vision in your head about how you want your company to be and where it will be years from now. That vision is the reason why you and your employees do what you do. If you do things that don’t align with the company’s purpose, how can you expect to grow your company?

Sustainable success depends on making sure everyone in your organization is working towards a common goal. A strong sense of purpose allows a business to stay laser-focused on achieving its objectives. It’s also the driving force for innovation and ensuring that products and services offered are of value to customers.

2. Build and Maintain Strong Partnerships

One of the best business growth strategies you can implement is to establish and cultivate strong partnerships. As I’ve said before, being a solopreneur is filled with challenges. The right connections can help you take on some or even all of those challenges so you can reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and of course, help your company grow.

Let’s say you’re a cosmetics manufacturer. Think about how expensive everything is going to be if you have to source all the raw materials by yourself. Partnering with reliable suppliers can help cut down costs and ensure that the products you’re manufacturing are up to standards.

You can also enter into partnerships with businesses to develop new technologies or to share distribution and increase each other’s market share. If you’re a start-up with start-up woes, maybe a co-founder can help solve those issues.

3. Strengthen Your Brand Identity

The more your company grows, the more you’ll have to build brand equity. You don’t want to be the “other guys,” the one customers go to when their preferred company can’t temporarily fulfill their wants or needs.

You want to be top of mind among your target customers. And to do that you have to connect with them on an emotional level. Customers have to have an attachment to your products or services so they’ll keep patronizing your business.

As one of the most important business growth strategies there is, brand building isn’t a one-time thing. You have to keep doing it if you want to scale up your business.

But don’t just do things to please everybody. It’s an impossible task. Keep your eyes on your target customers and find ways to satisfy and inspire them.

4. Track Results

Can you improve things you can’t measure?

If you know which areas of your business are contributing to profitability, then you know which ones to allocate more resources to. Likewise, if you know which areas are hindering the growth of your company, you can either work to optimize them or do away with them altogether.

Don’t be scared of data. Cliche as it may sound, knowledge is power. The more information you have, the easier it is to implement changes and see which ones are delivering results.

This also applies to adding revenue streams. If you’ve identified new ones, you have to make sure they’re sustainable in the long-term.

5. Keep Customers for Life

Most people think of business growth as acquiring new customers. It’s not wrong but it also doesn’t present the whole picture.

You see, new customers could be one-time buyers. And while that’s not exactly a bad thing, they obviously aren’t as valuable as your loyal customers. This is why as far as business growth strategies are concerned, customer retention is one of those things business owners have to pay close attention to.

According to Harvard Business Review, customer acquisition is 5 to 25 times more expensive than customer retention. It goes on to say that just by improving customer retention rates by 5%, you can increase profits by 25 to 95%.

95%! Can you imagine just how profitable your business could be if you just work hard at keeping your customers happy for a long, long time?

6. Learn from Your Competitors

You know your company’s strengths and weaknesses. But what about your competitors?

If your customers are flocking to your competitors because they are offering better prices, you should consider your pricing strategy. Now, that doesn’t mean just drastically reducing your products’ prices.

If you’re selling top of the line products, slashing prices isn’t the way to level the playing field. What you should do is stick to your premium pricing but highlight your customer service and emphasize high-quality marketing.

Remember, what works for your competitors may not work for you. Or they might work for you but you could be doing it in a way that increases your USP or unique selling proposition. The key here is to understand their failures and successes, so you can take advantage of them in a way that benefits your company.

7. Stay Flexible

All the business growth strategies in the world cannot help you if you don’t know how to be a good leader to your people. That means knowing how to evolve at every stage of your company’s growth, which is easier said than done.

Being a good leader stems from being self-aware. It’s definitely not “I’m better than you, that’s why I’m the boss.” Self-awareness can guide you to invest in the right talent, build relationships with the right people, and use the right insights to innovate and lead.

Need More Advice on Business Growth Strategies?

Feel free to browse my blog. I regularly write about business, management, startups, and other topics that are of interest to entrepreneurs and business executives.

You can also leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

brand strategy

How Brand Strategy Affects Organic Search Metrics

Aug 1, 2017

What’s the power of your brand?

Is it like a magnet drawing in more clicks, more engagement, more mentions and — most importantly — more sales?

Your brand strategy determines how the world sees you. But does it affect organic search metrics? Is its impact tangible? Or are you dealing with yet another unmeasurable in your marketing campaign?

Let’s take a look at how brand strategy impacts your organic traffic and how very measurable that impact can be.

Brand Awareness Through Brand Strategy

Ah, the power of familiarity.

People are drawn to what they know. They don’t even have to know much about you in the early stages of brand awareness.

Simply by recognizing you, they’re more likely to click. They’re more likely to check out your new offerings. They’re more likely listen to what you have to say because they know you.

The exact number is questionable. But research shows that it takes somewhere between 7 and 12 touches with your brand before a potential customer becomes an actual one. Each of these new clicks gets you that much closer to achieving marketing goals.

What does this mean for your organic search metrics? If they’ve entered a keyword and your brand’s name comes up, rather than click on a competitor, they click on the name they know.

Click through rate (CTR) is a known search engine ranking factor. This, therefore, contributes to your search engine ranking. CTR will have a positive effect on ranking as long as you’re providing the right user and customers experiences, which we’ll discuss next.

User Experience

Your user experience encompasses elements like:

  • Site speed
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Layout of your site
  • Easy to use navigation

User experience is an important part of your brand strategy. Your focus — or lack thereof — on your visitor’s experience says a lot about your brand.

If people are confused or frustrated by the experience on your website, they will flee.

Fleeing visitors would mean an increased bounce rate. Bounce rate is a term used to describe people leaving your site without interacting with it.

This is a known factor in search engine rankings. So it will affect your organic traffic.

Customer Experience

Through your brand strategy, you not only attract new visits; you engage them, keeping them on your site longer and increasing their click through to additional website pages.

You do this by:

  • Making compelling offers
  • Telling your story
  • Appealing to emotions
  • Offering valuable information
  • And so on

Creating the right experience for your customers is an important brand strategy that:

  • Helps new customers connect with your brand on a deeper level
  • Helps new customers connect faster
  • Increases brand loyalty
  • Increases promoter activity (sharing, liking, 5-star reviewing, recommending)

The impact on your organic search metrics is multi-faceted.

1st, visitors keep coming back because you’re creating a great customer experience = increased CTR = improved organic rankings

2nd, you’re keeping people on your site longer = decreased bounce rate = improved organic rankings

3rd, you’re increasing referral traffic from promoter activity = more traffic = improved organic rankings

Improving Branded Searches

Because of additional promoter activity caused through your brand strategy, you’ll see an increase in people asking for your website by name.

Instead of typing in a keyword, they’ll enter the name of your company or the website address into the search box.

This may either take them directly to your site. Or it may take them to search results that include you — and all of the websites who wish they were you.

Regardless, they’ll go to your website, increasing the organic and direct traffic to your site.

Research isn’t conclusive because you can’t create branded traffic in a vacuum, eliminating other ranking factors. But it’s strongly suspected by experts that these types of searches have a great impact on search rankings.

You’ll see increases in branded searches in the form of direct traffic in Google Analytics.

Measuring Brand Awareness ROI

Measuring how brand awareness is impacting your organic metrics allows to see the fruits of your labor and know you’re on the right track.

You need these measures called “micro-conversions” because sometimes financial rewards are delayed due to that 7-12 touches rule stated earlier.

Let’s look at several measures to gauge the impact of our brand strategy on organic metrics.

CTR

Your click through rate applies to both organic searches and your paid searches through FaceBook, Adwords, etc.

In both cases, because there’s greater brand awareness, you should see your CTR increase.

Direct Traffic

In Google Analytics (GA), you can view the sources of your website traffic. Among them, you’ll find direct traffic. Direct traffic is generated by users who type in your website’s URL and go straight to your website. You should see an increase in direct traffic.

Mentions

With greater promoter activity, your mentions will increase. That’s more reviews as well as mentions in social, blogs, forums and all over the web. You can track mentions with paid tracking tools like Mention or track social mentions through social media sites.

Social Referral Traffic

The number of visitors who arrive from social media will also increase. You can view these social referrals in GA.

Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate will decrease because visitors care what you have to say, care about what you offer and you provide the right experience.

Natural Backlinks

You can use tools like AHrefs or Serps to check the number of backlinks on your website. More people are linking to you because of your brand strategy.

Organic Traffic

All of the above contributes to increased organic traffic.

Increased Conversion of Leads to Customers

Your ultimate goal in a brand strategy is typically to increase sales while reducing acquisition costs. Here as well you’ll see a measurable impact of your strategy.

More Strategy Solutions

Measuring how your strategy impacts organic metrics will help you improve the return on your branding efforts and achieve your branding goals.

If you’d like to learn more about branding strategy, social media, PR and marketing, visit my blog and contact me, Rafferty Pendery, Tech Entrepreneur, VC and International Speaker.

types of organizational culture

3 Types of Organizational Culture (Plus 1 to Avoid)

Jul 31, 2017

For business owners, decision makers, and stakeholders in any company there has never been a more important time to focus on culture. Recognized as a key to retaining top talent, solidifying your brand, and presenting a positive image to the market, culture has the power to make or break your company.

Linking your culture to your brand may seem a little risky, but it is important. Without a strategy to create and build on culture in connection to your goals you may find that your efforts go nowhere.

There are different types of organizational culture. Most of them can help your business thrive, with a few exceptions.

Wondering which culture fits your business best? Here are the 3 top types, and one to avoid:

1. Make It A Mission

For some organizations, the health of the business comes second to an overall cause. Of course, this can be intimidating to some business leaders who see their bottom line at risk.

But giving your organization a larger mission or cause can work to motivate the entire company. Experts say that after approximately $75,000 employees value culture over money.

What better way to make employees feel valued than to give them an important mission to accomplish every day?

2. Baseball Team Culture

One of the most employee-centric types of organizational culture is a baseball team or team approach. In these organizations, the customer comes second to the overall health of the team.

In addition, roles are clearly defined as with baseball. But in a baseball team keeping the players happy is paramount– so long as they perform.

Rather than work around the needs of the client, these organizations work to keep their employees happy. They know that happy employees mean innovation and happy clients in the long run.

3. The Customer Always Wins

Rather than an employee focus, or a mission focus, there are organizations whose sole preoccupation is with the customer. The customer is always right in these organizations.

And while these types of organizational culture models are effective for creating client loyalty, they aren’t always the best fit for everyone. For cutting edge companies that are trying to stay ahead of the trends this culture may not work.

The simple reason is that many innovators believe that customers don’t know what they want yet. Their job is to make it happen.

But in today’s social media and live video culture, many companies could benefit from a more customer-focused philosophy. In the digital age, customers who win reward businesses again and again.

Avoid These Types Of Organizational Culture

The cover your ass or the finger pointing culture can be one of the worst things to happen to your company. When employees are only motivated by avoiding the negative they are discouraged from implementing process improvement.

In addition, it’s nearly impossible to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in this atmosphere. This is the company where no one wants to stick their neck out– in case it gets chopped off!

Unfortunately, each of these cultures needs to be managed and fostered. They are not a stagnant thing.

I can help you create and maintain a culture that works for you! Contact me today for more information on my services and how they can spell success for your business.

5 Ways Backlogs Can Be the Death Of Your Company

Apr 12, 2017

Tech entrepreneurs are busy. However, you do not want to fall behind on your work. You want to make sure you are not getting backlogged. Tech entrepreneurs are already busy. Having a backlog of work will create more stress and make you even busier. This could very well be fatal to you and your company.

  1. Backlogs will burn you out.

You getting stressed out is the worse thing for your company. You need to be able to keep your company energetic and enthusiastic to get the work done. If you are stressed out, then you won’t be able to do the work properly, creating more backlog. You will not be able to achieve your short-term goals or meet your deadlines if you have a backlog. You’ll be running late to everything and stressing out, making you unfit for the job you created.

2. Backlogs will burn out your employees.

You do not want your employees getting tired and stressed out. Late nights happen, but having them all the time because you are constantly trying to catch up on work is not acceptable. Take care of those who work for you. Make sure they are getting breaks at reasonable intervals, and rotate your employees so that the same people are not working all the time. If your employees can’t work properly, then the company isn’t working. You may have started it, but the employees keep it running. Don’t let them get stuck with backlog. Keep up on your deadlines and short-term goals, and celebrate accomplishments with them.

3. Backlogs burn out your resources.

Backlogs create a rush. Rushing around uses up all of your current resources, not giving you time in between each project to replenish them. There is a lot of work that goes into what you do. Whether that is ink and paper for printing, venues to host events or finances, it will all eventually run out if you are constantly using them without allowing for breaks. Without the proper resources, your company will not be able to function or complete its projects properly.

4. Backlogs burn out your clients.

If you are a business that takes clients, then backlogs will destroy your company. You don’t ever want to have deadlines pass without having completed and turned in the work. Your clients only have so much patience, and they will only give so much grace. Eventually, it will get to the point when your client will leave you and go to someone else. A decrease in clients is a decrease in income. Lower income means a lower pay.

5. Backlogs burn out your ideas. 

When you have a backlog of projects, you, your coworkers and your employees will run through ideas to try to catch up and get them done. It will only stress you out, make you tired and give you no desire to complete your job. Do not let backlogs build up or you will lose motivation and inspiration. These two things are vital for any company to stay on its feet.

Do not let backlogs build up. They will only damage your company and lower your morale. If you honor your customers and respect your employees, then a backlogs should never happen. Keep up to date on your work, and, if you can, get ahead. Never let yourself fall behind because that will lead to a chain of disasters that can be avoided. Stay organized, and keep your tasks written down. It is possible to run a business without building a backlog.

4 Reasons Every Business Should Hire From the Top Down

Apr 9, 2017

If you own a small business, and you’re looking to expand, then you must be looking to hire some people. As a tech entrepreneur, this is a great opportunity to look for people who have the potential to grow within the company and to help make the company grow. That is exactly how you should choose who to hire. You don’t want to hire people when you are in a rush or panicked. Take your time, and look at each individual candidate for hire. Analyze their potential within the company, and if they have the skills you are looking for, hire from the top down.

1. Hiring from the top down helps you hire people with similar goals.

Hiring people with similar goals is important. If they do not have similar goals, then it will create confusion within the company. Hiring someone who is like-minded will help build up and improve the company rather than create confusion. You will want to hire someone who can encourage you toward and help you achieve those goals.

2. Hiring from the top down will help you find people are committed.

If the people you hire are not committed, then your projects will take longer to complete. You will want to hire enthusiastic people. People who are enthusiastic will remind you of why you’re doing what your doing and will encourage you to keep going. Committed people will help keep up the moral of the team and  negativity out of the work space.

3. Hiring from the top down helps you find specific people to fill your need.

Look for people with specific skill sets. Know who you want and what you want them to do. If you aren’t specific, then you’ll go through a long training process. Training isn’t bad, but if you have a short term goal coming up, then you will need to be specific. You need to find people who can jump right into the project without holding the company back.

4. Hiring from the top down will help you create a team with the same mindset.

You want a team with the same beliefs and core values. If the people you hire do not hold to the same core values that you do or that the company does, then it will create dissension within the team. A group of people working together need to see eye to eye. If they don’t, then it is much easier for arguments to break out. If the team is arguing, then work isn’t getting done, and the project is being delayed. Know your core values, and hire people who agree with them.

If you’re looking to expand your company, go for it. As a tech entrepreneur, you should keep in mind the hiring process and be specific. Hiring from the top down may take a little longer than just hiring the first people who apply. However, hiring from the top down helps you find people who are fit for the job and take little to no training. Know your coworkers and employees. They represent the company, so you want to make sure you are hiring people who can do so well.

5 Situations When You Should Fire Your Client

Feb 20, 2017

There is lots of material out there written about how to maintain a healthy client relationship, but very little written on when to let go of a stubborn or uncooperative client. Of course, the first thing you want to do is try and resolve any issue that might be steering you towards terminating your client relationship. However, when your client’s demands or habits go from occasionally being difficult to interfering with you or your employee’s health and wealth, it’s time to really look and see if they are a perfect fit.Continue Reading

The Difference Between a Business Owner And An Employee

Jan 13, 2017

Starting a business is a lucrative option more and more people are choosing to explore as a career path. The potential benefits are outstanding, but people often misunderstand all of the responsibilities that come with owning a business. Earning potential and flexible schedules are the main benefits generally associated with entrepreneurship. However, a business owner’s money and time are subject to risk and fluctuation, a departure from the stability and security of being an employee. The rewards of entrepreneurship often outweigh the risks, but it is a lifestyle that will require a certain mindset and skill set to do successfully.

Continue Reading

5 Simple Tricks to Keep your Staff Happy and Productive

Dec 30, 2016

The performance of your staff is essential to the success of your business. Dealing with a diverse group of people, with different skill sets and roles can be challenging. I have always felt that a productive staff is a happy staff, and a valued staff is a loyal staff. Here are some things I have implemented to increase the effectiveness of my staff, as well as their well being in the workplace.

Continue Reading

Secrets to Staying Focused on Your Business

Dec 12, 2016

Distractions can be the death of your entrepreneurial endeavors. The digital age has opened countless opportunities to grow and expand your business, but it has also opened a huge number of possible distractions. Looking beyond the screens in your life, there are also numerous aspects of your life that can negatively affect your focus on your business, and some of them may surprise you.
Continue Reading

What to Do if You Want to End a Business Partnership

Sep 5, 2016

If you aren’t sure it’s time to end your business venture, I wrote another post that can help you out: 6 Signs It’s Time to Cut Business Ties.

First off, I’m not an advocate for ending business relationships if they can, and should be salvaged. But I also know first hand what it’s like to drag and partnership on and on that should have been ended earlier. It’s no fun for anyone.

So you have decided to end the business partnership, what do you do now?
Continue Reading

6 Signs It’s Time to Cut Business Ties

Aug 5, 2016

I get opportunities to speak to business owners all over the world. My focus is how you can build a business you aren’t trapped in, that enable you to have the life you want. It’s about life and business transformation. One common problem people have is partners who make life difficult. This is no fun for anyone. So what do you do?
Continue Reading