Small business growth

Small business growth in 2018 – Grow your top line

How to Create a Life Plan that Helps with Small Business Growth

Mall Business Growth – we all want it – don’t we?  The why do many business owners spend countless hours working on their companies, seeking and serving clients, trying to find referral partners, creating content, and doing dozens of other tasks… only to find that they’re moving toward their goals slowly, if at all.

Some don’t even know if they ARE making progress, or if they’re just spinning their wheels.  They also know that the small business growth that they want is elusive.

Often, this is because they don’t have a clear objective and a specific plan to reach it. Without that, they have no way of knowing which tasks are necessary and which are just busywork, or how to do those tasks in the way that has the best chance of moving them toward their goals.

This tendency costs them a great deal of income because customers end up slipping through the cracks in their business and disappearing instead of becoming loyal repeat clients.

In BNI, our members recently set their goals for the BNI year, which starts in October and runs through September.

These goals and the plans we create around them help members to stay on track, focus on the tasks that get results and accomplish more each year.

In this article, I’ll explain how to create a life plan that helps you to get more customers, make more money from each customer while giving them better results, and reach your business’ goals much faster than you would otherwise.

Start creating your life plan by focusing on the right things.

When business owners start to plan their growth, the first focus is usually “to get new customers”.

The trouble is, this is actually the LEAST efficient way to grow your business.

To get a new customer to make a purchase, you need to bring them through their customer journey from square one, unless they were referred to you.

Then, once they’ve put all that effort into getting the client to make one purchase, many businesses neglect that client, so that single purchase is all they get for their trouble.

This neglect dampens the customer’s experience with the company, which makes them less inclined to buy from that company again or recommend it to their friends.

Right now, you probably have a large pool of warm leads with whom you’ve already built up plenty of “know, like and trust”, and who have already shown that they’re interested in your products – but are you tapping into it?

If you want to get the best return on your marketing investment and to have thrilled clients recommend you to their family and friends, it’s time to stop focusing exclusively on getting new clients and to start finding ways to get your previous or current clients to buy again.

How can you reconnect with your current customers and grow your business in 2018?

Here are a few questions that will help you create a plan to get more revenue from your existing customers:

What additional sales can I make to them?

Do your products run out and need to be refilled, or wear out and need to be replaced?

Does the use of one product necessitate another? For example, if they bought a fishing rod from you, they might also need lures, a fishing license, a filleting knife and a cooler, if they don’t already have those.

Does one product prepare them for another? For instance, if your ebook helped someone to start getting dates, your seminar could help them to grow the relationship and turn it into a lasting, healthy and passionately loving marriage.

Can they give your product or service as a gift? If your ebook changed their life, they’ll probably want to share it with as many people as they can, so make it easy for them to do so.

Ask yourself what result your clients are looking to get, and whether the product you sold to them will help them get that result.

If it doesn’t provide the whole solution, or if there’s a bigger and better outcome that they’d love but haven’t even thought of yet, what more could you offer them in order to give them that result?

How can you get referrals from your current or previous customers?

Even if your customers already have everything they need from you, you can still use those connections to help more people and increase your revenue by getting those customers to recommend you to their families, peers, and friends.

Ways to do this include:

  • Giving them a coupon code for a discount that they can give their friends, as a “thank you” for their past patronage.
  • Giving them free samples they can give to their friends as gifts.
  • Sending them emails, texts or social media messages they can copy, paste and send to anyone they can think of who needs you.

Getting online reviews to foster small business growth.

Even if your customers don’t know anyone who needs you, they can still help you by leaving a positive review on your website and directory files.

90% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, and websites with more positive reviews rank higher in search engines, so this is a vital component in your business’ web presence.

Which numbers do you need to track when you’re making and refining your life plan?

Now that you know that retaining your existing customers and getting them to give you referrals and reviews are some of the best strategies you can use, it’s time to get a more specific and concrete idea of how to use those strategies.

Here’s what you need to determine:

  1. How much revenue you want to make. Choose a specific dollar amount, not a vague goal like “lots”.
  2. How much money you make per sale.
  3. How many sales you need to make in order to reach your revenue goals. You can calculate this by dividing the number of dollars you want to make by the number of dollars per sale.
  4. How many one-on-one sales conversations you need to have with your potential clients, if applicable. For example, if you make one sale for every ten conversations, and you want ten sales, then you need to have a hundred conversations.
  5. How many leads you need to get in order to make a sale, or to get into a sales conversation if the latter needs to happen first. If the sales conversation is necessary, calculate how many leads you need on average in order to get one conversation, then multiply that by the number of conversations you need to have per sale.
  6. Use that same calculation strategy for any other marketing strategies you’re using. For instance, if you need ten sales to reach your goal, you need a hundred conversations. If it takes three hundred referrals to get those hundred conversations, and a thousand emails or phone calls to get those referrals, then by working backward from your goal, you’ve discovered how much you need to put into your marketing in order to get your desired result.
  7. The number of referrals and other leads you already receive in an average month. This enables you to see the difference between where you are and where you want to be.
  8. The rate of retention, or repeat sales. How many of your customers come back to buy again?
  9. How many sales and referrals you expect this year, given your current marketing efforts and the results you’ve previously gotten from those efforts.

By tracking all of this, you’ll get a clear idea of how much money you want, how many leads or referrals you need in order to make enough sales, what you need to do in order to get those leads and referrals, and whether or not your customer retention needs improvement.

These strategies will help you to create a life plan that grows your business, so you can spend more time serving clients instead of chasing after them.

Ready to get more referrals and clients?

Now that you know how many referrals you need, and how to get the clients you receive from those referrals to keep coming back, your next step is to get more referral partners.

In BNI, we focus on helping people to form strategic partnerships that empower both members to grow their businesses and give their clients a more complete and effective solution.

We also help you and your referral partners to consistently send clients to each other, instead of wasting time forming partnerships that never bear fruit.

If you want to help more people, make a bigger difference, and reach your financial goals for the upcoming year, we’d love to see you at our next BNI meeting. Click here to find a BNI chapter near you!

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