By: Aspen Grams, Marketing Strategist
Until the sale of your business is finalized, your focus as a business owner should be sustainable sales growth. Not only is it a good feeling to have a thriving bank account, but a business with steady sales growth is extremely appealing to potential buyers. It’s much easier to convince a buyer that your company is worth investing in if your business review shows healthy financials than if it’s showing stagnant or declining revenue trends. Whether you’re in the early stages of business ownership or heading toward the final stretch, utilize the following tips to keep your business healthy and appealing to future buyers.
DIFFERENTIATE YOUR BUSINESS
You can’t be everything to everyone, so stop trying! In a world of mass consumption, it can seem like the best course of action is to spin your business to fit into as many different-shaped holes as possible. Recent data across various industries is showing otherwise, highlighting the importance of brand differentiation.
One great example is Trader Joe’s, a quirky grocery store that carved out a niche market with private-label products, low price points instead of coupons, and a small, rotating number of offerings (think 3,000 SKUs vs 35,000 that fill the shelves of standard supermarkets). Trader Joe’s decided early on who it wanted its target market to be, and then dove into pulling those people in. Do they appeal to the masses? No. However, they generate industry-leading sales per square foot, beating out Costco, Whole Foods, Walmart and the like. They are proof that bigger doesn’t always mean better.
BUILD A NETWORK
When you think about your network, segment it into three areas: support, mentors, and referral partners. Each area plays a key role in the overall growth of your business.
Your support group consists of people who will both motivate you and talk you down from the ledge. They are your confidants- the ones you share company visions, milestones, and failures with. This segment has your back regardless, and that’s extremely important to keep you on track when things get hard.
Your mentors are people you want to learn from- people who have gotten to where you want to be and are willing to help you get there too. Find leaders in your field and then take inspiration from their keynote speeches, listen to their podcasts, read their books, and sign up for their business development courses.
Your referral partners are trusted individuals who know you, trust you, and speak on your behalf to potential clients. These partners can be people in the same industry or people in your business community.
Consistency is key in all aspects of your business. Customer service, product quality, and marketing efforts are ineffective if they aren’t done well on a regular basis. You’ve invested your livelihood in your business, so take time to ensure your operations, finances, and marketing are zipped up. Staying consistent across the board (and holding your employees accountable to the standard you’ve set) makes for happy customers, and happy customers are loyal, repeat customers.
FOCUS ON 1%
When you think about growing sales, customers, traffic, etc., it can get overwhelming thinking about how to stay on track. Instead of staring at the large growth percentage you want and panicking, break down that number into manageable, bite-sized pieces.
Let’s say you want to see a 12% increase in sales this year. Divvy up that 12% by month- all you need to focus on is being 1% better than you were the month prior. 1% seems insignificant when you look at it by itself, but by that number compounding upon itself throughout the year, you will see significant growth!
BUILD A SOLID PLAN
The four prior points are great tips, but they don’t fully come to fruition until you create an action plan. Many a business have failed, not because the idea wasn’t good, but because there wasn’t a plan that pointed the owner in the right direction and laid out the steps to success.
Take points #3 and #4 as an example. If your goal is to grow your business by 1% each month and consistently gain new customers, what steps are you taking to make that a reality? A goal without a plan is just a dream! Create solid action items, implementation strategies, and then FOLLOW THROUGH to achieve your goals.