How to grow your small business or startup

Good traction is one of the priorities that a small business or startup focuses on and hopes to achieve. If you do not know what traction is, it is basically the customers that your product or service is attracting. Traction and growth go hand in hand, and that is what we are going to be talking about today. This is, How to grow your small business or startup, with PACE Business.

Initial Growth

Growing your customers, retaining them, and having them bring in more customers, is what defines a successful company. However, all of this is quite hard while you are still in the early stages of your business or startup. In fact, it’s difficult to have any customers at all.

green plant in clear glass cup

When you first start out, you need to realize that your growth will be directly tied to your product. And the fact is, your product will be far from perfect. So, at this stage, you need to focus on improving your product and taking feedback, and NOT really on marketing services. Do not assume, that if you hire a marketing agency at this stage, it will lead to conversions. Avoid making that mistake. In the initial stages, you should be figuring out growth yourselves. And that is the first tip on how to grow your small business or startup.

Be prepared to “spend”

In order to grow, you need to be ready to pay for marketing. Social media is a really competitive space, and the content you put out reaches 1% of your audience only. So you can not solely rely on organic reach. You need to double down on it with paid advertising.

Now I know you might be thinking why should you bear this expense at the start. Well, do not think of growth as an expense, or that you are spending money. Instead, see it as an investment, and aim for maximum ROI (return on investment). Your goal with marketing should be to recoup the money spent and make profits as well. So you should be prepared to “spend” money on marketing strategies. Paid marketing is a trial and error process. You need to experiment a lot before you finally settle in on a strategy that works.

Growth Tactics

There are a total of 19 channels available to acquire customers. You need to tap into the ones you think are the most suitable for your business or startup in terms of growth. Following is a list of these channels.

stock market
  1. Viral Marketing: your ability to grow from customers referring to other customers.
  2. Public Relations: the art of getting your name in blogs, newspapers, TV or press publications.
  3. Unconventional PR: publicity stunts.
  4. Search Engine Marketing: ads on search engines like Google, Bing or even Youtube.
  5. Social & Display Ads: Instagram/Facebook/Twitter type of ads- based on a user’s interests.
  6. Offline Ads: TV spots, radio commercials, billboards, infomercials, newspaper and magazine ads.
  7. Search Engine Optimization: the very complex art of Google ranking your website. We’ll cover some of this on part II of this video.
  8. Content Marketing: if you are watching this video, you’ve witnessed our content marketing campaigns.
  9. Email Marketing: not a lot to explain here.
  10. Engineering as Marketing: using apps and tech products for growth.
  11. Targeting Blogs: which you could even translate to ‘influencer marketing’.
  12. Business Development
  13. Sales
  14. Affiliate Programs: offering rewards in exchange for referrals.
  15. Existing Platforms: leveraging your presence and relevance in existing platforms, such as figuring out how to be promoted on the App Store, or on the Chrome Store.
  16. Trade Shows
  17. Offline Events- Meetups and such.
  18. Speaking Engagements
  19. Community Building

Source: Slidebean

Once you figure out the right channel for your marketing endeavors, it is time for growth hacking. Create amazing campaigns for these channels, measure your unit economics, and then evaluate the data to make necessary decisions. As a result, you are able to maximize your conversions and make better product decisions. At the end of the day, your Lifetime Value (LTV) should be greater than your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).

Use Social Media

black samsung android smartphone on brown wooden table

Social Media is one of the most effective channels to acquire customers, and ultimately lead to growth. In an increasingly digital era, if your business or startup has no social media presence, then it is unlikely to grow. Moreover, by using social media you can gain valuable insight through ‘social listening’. What this means is that you can find out what your customers are saying about you, their behavior, and the current trends of the market. You can then use this information to improve your customer service. Social media allows you to attract new customers, as well as serve the existing ones in a better way.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is another great way to attract and obtain customers. It is one of the most critical growth channels out there. Why? Because when you are searching for a product that you want to buy, an ad that shows that very product is likely to pull you in. And, there is a great chance that you might end up buying that product.

Google logo screengrab

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This channel might compliment SEM, but is definitely not the same. Search Engine Optimization is a really effective means to grow your business or startup. This is for 2 reasons:

  1. It allows you to rank your business or startup better in search engines like Google. This leads to more conversions.
  2. The results are totally organic, and you do not pay for them. So good SEO, won’t cost you anything and has the potential to bring in great numbers.

SEO does take a lot of time to show results, 3-6 months on average. However, once that period has passed, the results that pour in are unparalleled to any other.

Build Relationships

One of the first things I tell people when they ask me how to grow a small business or startup is to build relationships. People take business relationships for granted or disregard, without fully realizing the importance of it.

If you want to grow, you need to make sure that you have good relationships with everyone. The customers, the partners, and especially the community. When you build relationships, automatically you are also creating brand awareness and attracting customers as well. These relationships only will get your referrals, shout outs, recommendations, and free promotion.

I hope after reading this post you have some clarity on how to grow a small business or startup. Feel free to drop down your questions below if you have any. You can also email us at PACE Business, for any queries. We will be glad to help you out.

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Sarim Siddiqui
Sarim is the founder of PACE enterprises currently comprised of two divisions, PACE events and PACE Business. He is a certified Digital Marketer and works as a Digital Consultant, Content Strategist, and Search Engine Optimization specialist. He is passionate about educating on business and startups, as well as helping small businesses achieve their digital goals. You can find him on Instagram @sarim112 or LinkedIn, or reach out to him at [email protected].

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