Your business is like a plant, where the only healthy way forward is to grow. Entrepreneurial growth focuses on that early seed stage where you’re still always reaching for more sunlight and struggling to break free of the soil and leaf out above the competition.
It’s tough and scary and 100% worth it.
The good news is that while your business is our metaphorical plant, you can be the gardener who prepares the soil, tends to the leaves, waters, and makes it a secure place to grow. All of those elements are strategies for entrepreneurial growth.
This type of expansion refers explicitly to an organizational plan designed to help you achieve the objects of your product and services to grow by your quality, quantity, and turnover. The term can apply to you if you’re in the role of business innovator, developer, startup, or even a rabid fan. By undertaking risks and attaching yourself to a new business, and putting forth the effort to grow that business, you’re also someone willing to do what it takes to prevent failing.
That means you’re hungry for the useful and the valuable. So, let’s get right into why you’re here and look at some of the easiest and proven strategies for entrepreneurial and business growth. They apply no matter what stage you’re in and are designed to help you expand your business directly as well as look more appealing if you’re seeking loans and VC funds.
The delicate details of a business growth strategy can vary greatly depending on industries, products, opportunities, costs, and the current market outlook. That said, there are plenty of proven plans and techniques that define successful strategies for entrepreneurial growth. We’re highlighting a few of our favorites to help you start thinking about how to take your passion to the next level.
Most businesses can sell more if they’re selling in more places. If your existing customers are hungry, it’s time to make it easier for people to find you. In today’s world, this takes on two flavors:
Expansion focuses on reaching more people.
Do your homework to find out where your customers are and go there. In the digital space, there’s plenty of information to collect and buy, so start analyzing your traffic and existing orders right away.
Head on over to your favorite software or service provider’s pricing page — we recommend this one right here. If they’re a significant player in the space, they’ll almost always give you a series of options to choose from based on your need and service level. Having multiple tiers allows service providers like CloudApp to reach a broader set of customers.
Your baseline users are going to want minimal service to get to know you. However, some potential customers may come in needing more flexibility and account management. If you’re making a B2B play, a notable feature to add to higher tiers is the ability to charge based on the number of users. This helps a B2B team manage their budget and billing more efficiently, with a single item instead of multiple charges for your service.
Use tiers for both scaling up the features a customer gets as well as the level of service you provide. It also makes it easy to move initial customers to higher-tier packages once they fall in love with your service. It’s why we offer a free trial and then give you more excellent storage, sharing, and team features in our more advanced options.
There’s a secret in these options too. You can either visually or directly note that one option might be better for your audience. You can tag something as a “best value” or write the copy to help people lean toward a specific solution. Usually, it’s either your best money-maker or the package that’s easiest for you to serve.
Our main customer base involves teams and project groups, so our initial team package not only mentions the professional benefits we provide but the “Get Started Free” button is also a beautiful blue color, making it a little more eye-catching.
If you’re a product company, you can take the same approach as service providers and their tiers by adding more levels or options for your products. This can be expanding your sizes and color options or branching out into related products. Look at your competition to see if they have an additional item that might be pulling away customers — or inversely you could find a gap that no one has covered.
Remember: a different SKU isn’t always a brand-new product.
Consider kits and packages that could simplify how your customers order by combining many common products. It’ll reduce your shipping costs and can raise your average order value, which is helpful if you want to try and raise additional rounds of venture funding.
It can also open new business lines by creating recurring revenue packages based on customer needs. This is the Dollar Shave Club model because the handle of a razor can be cheap when you’ve locked in the customer for the blades.
You’ll also see this in some software and hardware. The iTunes app was always free because Apple made its money off the music and other content you’d buy. Amazon often runs specials on its Fire TV stick that make it nearly “free” by packaging in trials for services that you can also buy, like an HBO subscription.
If you need help understanding what your business can add or combine, ask your customers. They’re more than willing to tell you what they want, what they hate, and how you can help.
When it comes to expanding your products, service tiers, or even elements like customer service, your existing mailing list is your best tool. Use it to simply and quickly ask your customers directly what they need or what they would like from you. Study their experience.
You might get insight into where your products and services fall short, notes on what your competition is doing, or just holes in the process. If customers tell you that your checkout process or recurring billing is troublesome, you can address them and prevent new customers from ever having that pain.
Entrepreneurial growth often requires you to be proactive. While you can’t get ahead of these issues for existing customers, you can tackle the problems they note and prevent any straw that breaks the camel’s back scenarios.
Right now, more than 27 million Americans are starting or running a new business, and they’re picking up more than $72.3 billion in investments from VCs. If this is a revenue stream you want to target, you need a dedicated customer base.
Yes, lots of advice will tell you to reach out and grow, but you can push too far too fast and end up burning out. Leading entrepreneurial growth marketers note that you’ve got to have a clear company plan and model to beat the 5-year hurdle, and this should rely significantly on making a long-lasting connection with early and existing customers.
So, you should take the time to work and speak with the customers who believed in you early-on. Consider a simple thank-you email series based on orders. You might even be able to bump up recurring orders or cross-sell opportunities with a loyalty discount. (These don’t have to be complicated or expensive to implement thanks to most CRMs and email systems telling you how long someone has been a customer.)
Long-term customers are the most likely to leave you a positive review, especially if you ask. They can also turn into a vast referral network, with a big boost if your customers are like-minded entrepreneurs.
Customer retention allows you to focus on lucrative opportunities and grow without risk to your revenue streams. It also can make it easier for a startup to plan their next moves and bridge any gaps from VC or other funding streams.
The only risk here is: don’t get comfortable. These customers should be used as a foundation for growth, not stagnation.
Your business growth strategy and success always hinge on your people. Give yourself the best opportunities for smart growth by hiring high-quality people and delegating appropriately. It’s some of the best entrepreneurial growth advice we’ve ever read.
This is a slow and steady process. You’re hiring someone and getting to know them, then seeing what they can do. At the same time, you’re learning about yourself and having to work on giving up the more menial tasks in your organization.
If it’s a struggle for you to hand off projects, look for small things that you can start with that don’t make a substantial impact. This could be letting a virtual assistant format and publish blog posts on your website, while you or your marketing lead still writes them. Your VA can do basic keyword research using specific tools and generate needed reports, while leaders make decisions on how to use that information.
Once you’re more comfortable with this concept, try to scale it up. Look for people who can accomplish projects and elements more successfully than you, freeing you to focus on whatever you do best. A well-versed customer service team lead will give you back hours of sleep each night when you find one who is a good fit.
Give them the right tools too.
Part of building that team and creating trust relies on you finding someone who is strong where you are weak or out of practice. Personalities should match, and skills should complement. And, once you’ve got the right person to say “yes,” train them and work with them.
For small teams, hands-on training about your business and processes will help get them onboard and ingrained in company culture. It’s a core piece of any strategies for entrepreneurial growth because it ensures that the brand is what grows, not individual personalities or egos.
Always ask questions of your audience, even if you think you know the answer. Sometimes, it pays even if they are only going to think about your question and not give you a response right away.
So, your homework know is to think about the business growth strategy examples above and what could work for you. And, think about what doesn’t. How are you going to reach the customers you have now and potential leads in the future? What’s your next step?
Lastly, are you speaking their language?
This final question is important to us because we’re all about communication. From CloudApp’s integration partners to the simple way we help you annotate video or create the next GIF you use in training materials.
Entrepreneurs have a fire and a passion that they must share with the world to grow strong and expand. CloudApp aims to make it easier, no matter how you communicate. Grab your free trial and start to explore the capabilities we offer and how it’s easier than ever to speak your customer’s language, no matter how direct or digital they get.