Start Your Engines | 5 Steps to Start Growing Your Business

I was talking with some friends a while back. One of them was lamenting over the idea of starting to exercise again, he works at his computer all day (as many of us do) and really the only exercise he gets is walking from the car to the office and back at the end of the day. His complaint was that he was so out of shape the idea of starting an exercise routine was overwhelming. Another friend chimed in with “don’t start a routine, if your not getting any exercise now then anything you do will make you healthier”. For example if you currently park in the closest space to the door simply start parking in the farthest space from the door. You’ll be 50 steps healthier by doing so (this obviously depends on the size of your parking lot). Now just parking in the furthest space is not going to get you into marathon shape but if you're having trouble getting started it’s a step in the right direction.

What does this have to do with business? Everything. Its often easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to grow your business or even to push marketing to the back burner because your day to day projects keep you too busy. The problem is if you don’t work on growing your business at all then it will never grow (Obvious I know, but some things need to be said). The solution is to take small steps that will help to get you started. These steps aren’t likely to take your brand new startup from $0 in sales to a million but even if they only generate 1 new customer remember that 1 is better then 0. By the way these ideas are pretty close to free so you don’t need much to get a good ROI.

5 Actionable and Easy Steps to Growing Your Business:

When customers purchase from you give them the option to sign-up for your email list.

1. If you’re low-tech use a notepad or some branded stationary with a space to write a name and email address.

2. Get email list management software, there are many out there Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor to name a few.

3. Send out regular email updates, with special offers, coupons, events or just news. (Many email management programs have pre-made email templates so all you need to do is write the content.).

Claim your Local Listings.

1. Claim your local business listing on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and BOTW.

2. Fill out your Profile in its entirety.

3. Track calls/walk-ins

Bonus Tip: Universal Business Listing can manage all of these and more from a single login.

Generate a list of Marketing Ideas.

1. Make a list of as many marketing ideas that you can think of that caught your attention recently.

2. Try to find a way to customize these ideas to fit your core values/USP. (If you can’t think of a way move on to the next one).

3. Pick your favorite idea and put it at the top of your to do list.

Ask your Customers.

1. Write a brief survey asking some questions about your business (pick a topic such as product selection, or merchandising).

2. Print it off on small pieces of paper with a coupon at the bottom saying fill answer these questions and return the survey for X% off your next purchase.

3. Either give these directly to the customer at checkout with the receipt of stick in their bag.

Bonus: This idea encourages repeat business and gets you excellent feedback on how to improve your business. Talk about two birds with one stone!

Get Involved.

1. Look for local groups that complement your brand.

2. Select one that really stands out.

3. Get involved.

Example in Action: If you run a craft supplies store that has space to hold classes look for a scrapbooking group and offer to let them use your class space when its available.

Each of these ideas can be completed in 3 easy steps, cost little money and will only take a small amount of time. That means you no longer have an excuse not to grow your business. Share the steps you take in the comments below.