How to Grow a Small Business in 10 Easy Steps | The Hartford (2023)

No matter what kind of small business you run, you’re going to want to increase your sales and grow your revenue. That’s why so many people are interested in how to grow a small business.

There isn’t an easy one-size-fits-all business growth strategyfor small business owners. But, there are key strategies you can use to give your business the best chance at growing.

10 Ways to Grow Your Small Business

Scaling your small business effectively and efficiently can be difficult. It requires a smart approach and effort from various parts of your company, including:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Legal

And because you’re still a startup, you may find yourself wearing many hats until you can hire expert employees. Although growing your small business will take time and energy, there are 10 strategies you can use to help accelerate business growth.

1. Do Your Research

When you’re looking into how to grow your small business, you need to do market research. This not only lets you better understand your existing customers, but also your potential customers. It’s important to gain insight into your target market and know what their needs are. That way, you can see how your business can grow and change to meet those needs.

Don’t forget to research your competitors, too. Knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are can help drive your decisions on how to appropriately scale your small business.

2. Build a Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel can help take business to the next level. Think of a sales funnel as a customer’s journey. When they enter your business or visit your website, they’re at the top of the funnel. When they buy something or sign up for a service, they’ve successfully gone through the funnel. You should try to come up with ways to move people through the funnel to make a sale. This can include offering a discount or getting their contact information and sending them updates on your business.

3. Increase Customer Retention

How to Grow a Small Business in 10 Easy Steps | The Hartford (1)It’s not enough to just get new customers for your business. You also need to keep your existing customers coming back. When you increase customer retention, you’re building customer loyalty, which can increase sales.1

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Considering it costs five-times as much to get a new customer than it does to keep a current one, focusing on retaining customers means your business won’t spend money on something that isn’t a guaranteed investment.2

You can increase your customer retention by:

Prioritizing customer service: If you don’t treat your customers right, they won’t want to support your business. Making sure you address their concerns and give them the best experience possible shows you value them as a customer.

Using a customer relations management (CRM) system: CRM systems help your business manage relationships with existing and potential customers. They help you maintain customer information and identify sales opportunities. One of the biggest benefits is that the data gets stored in one place, so you and other employees who need it can access it.

Creating a customer loyalty program: These programs reward your existing customers for supporting your business. They can also help you attract new customers or get back those that left your business.

Launching an email campaign: Using an email campaign can help make sure your business stays on top of customers’ minds. It’s also a great way to move existing and potential customers through your sales funnel.

Engaging with customers on social media: Your customers may reach out to your business on social media with a question or to share feedback, pain points or complaints. Taking the time to respond and engage with them shows you value their thoughts and take their concerns seriously.

Keep your promises: No one likes feeling forgotten. If you tell a customer you’ll follow up with them with more information or contact them at a later date, do it. If you don’t, it can give your customers a bad impression of your business.

4. Participate in Networking Events

Increasing your brand visibility can help you attract new customers and grow your business. A good way to do this is by attending networking events. Check local professional organizations and don’t be afraid to attend a few events to get the word out about your business.

You can participate in these events by:

  • Attending and meeting other business owners
  • Putting up a booth to promote your business
  • Speaking as an industry expert

5. Practice Corporate Social Responsibility

Many customers want to do business with a company that matches their own values. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) means you recognize the impact your business has on all aspects of the community. Letting the public see what your business is doing to have a positive impact can help your business’ bottom line.

Some examples of how your business can practice CSR are:

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Going green: The benefits of running a green businessgo beyond having cheaper utility costs. It shows the public you’re serious about reducing your business’ impact on the environment. Go greenand make changes to reduce your carbon footprint, such as getting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificationor pursuing energy-efficient projects.

Giving back to the community: Encourage your employees to volunteer in the communities they live and work in. Whether it’s working at a food bank or cleaning up open spaces, these kinds of activities show that your business is serious about investing in the area and people.

Producing sustainable products: Find out if there are ways you can change materials or your process to create more environmentally-friendly products.

6. Form Strategic Partnerships

Entering a strategic partnership with another business can give you the chance to reach a broader network of customers or align growth with strategic goalsin your business plan. One example of a successful strategic partnership is between Starbucks and other national stores, like Barnes & Noble or Target. The partnership puts the coffee chain into many retail stores across the country, which increases its reach and revenue.

You may even form a strategic partnership with a vendor to help expand your business. Whatever type of partnership you form, it’s important you manage business relationshipsand maintain effective vendor relationships.

7. Consider Franchising Your Small Business

Business franchisingis a common growth strategy for small businesses. This means you sell your business’ rights to an independent owner. Then, they open and operate their own franchise of your business. Many well-known companies sell franchises, like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Marriott hotels. When a new franchise opens, it increases the number of locations of your business, which helps bring in more revenue.

Before you agree to sell the rights to your company, you have to know is your business franchisable? The franchising processis more appropriate for certain types of industries, such as fast food restaurants or gyms.

8. Diversify Your Product or Service Offerings

You’ve had success selling your main product or service to customers. After all, that’s what made you think of growing your small business. Now, offering different products or services can help you get new customers. You can do this by:

  • Identifying opportunities for new products or services: Do market research to see if there’s something new you can offer your customers to buy.
  • Finding different ways to offer your existing products: This includes subscriptions or bundles.

One business that grew by diversifying its product offerings is Moment. The company’s initial products included lenses for smartphones to improve photography. Now, the company has expanded its offerings to include apps and accessories to use with its lenses.

9. Extend to New Markets

There’s no question that franchising gives you a chance to increase your customer base. But if your business isn’t franchisable, there are alternatives to franchising, such as expanding your business through exporting.

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Finding exporting opportunitiesmeans you can ship your products and services across the globe. The benefits of exportinginclude:

  • Leveraging global platforms to sell your products and services online
  • The opportunity to open new business locations
  • Access to more customers and businesses

Take your business globaland give your company an opportunity to increase its market share.

10. Measure What Works and Refine as You Go

While there are a variety of strategies you can use to grow your small business, it’s important you measure what’s working. For example, if you create a customer loyalty program and find it’s not improving customer retention, you may need to change your strategy. Maybe it’s getting a CRM and engaging with your customers on a regular basis, or engaging with them through an email campaign or on social media.

How to Grow a Small Business in 10 Easy Steps | The Hartford (2)Growing your small business means you’ll have to take calculated risks. You should look at your business planand make realistic and accurate forecastsof how you think certain strategies can affect your business. Regularly monitoring your progress and making updates are key to having a successful business.

Additional Information About How to Grow a Small Business

Managing for Growth

Accelerate Your Business Growth

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FAQs

What are 5 areas that can help a business grow? ›

8 ways to grow your business
  • Get to know your customers. ...
  • Offer excellent customer service. ...
  • Nurture existing customers and look for new opportunities. ...
  • Use social media. ...
  • Attend networking events. ...
  • Host events. ...
  • Give back to your community. ...
  • Measure what works and refine your approach as you go.

What are 10 small businesses? ›

Here are 20 small business ideas tailored to 2023.
  • Home improvement services. In 2020, the real estate market saw its highest pace of growth since 2005. ...
  • Cleaning services. ...
  • Tutoring services. ...
  • Personal training and fitness instructors. ...
  • Delivery services. ...
  • Baby supplies. ...
  • Pet store. ...
  • Digital marketing services.
16 Nov 2022

How can I make my business grow faster? ›

  1. Build a sales funnel. The first way to quickly grow your business is by building a sales funnel. ...
  2. Utilize a customer management system. ...
  3. Research the competition. ...
  4. Create a customer loyalty program. ...
  5. Identify new opportunities. ...
  6. Build an email list. ...
  7. Form strategic partnerships. ...
  8. Leverage global platforms.
19 Dec 2017

What is the biggest key to success for a small business? ›

Provide a Great Product or Service

The products or services provided need to be good enough to meet or surpass the clients' expectations once the customers are there. This is how you create a life-long repeat customer who will, in return, help the business by generating word of mouth.

What are the 4 types of business growth? ›

4 Types of Business Growth
  • Organic business growth. This type is considered the easiest but most effective way of business growth. ...
  • Strategic business growth. This approach works well for long-term goals and companies that have gone through organic growth. ...
  • Internal business growth. ...
  • Partnership or merge business growth.
28 Oct 2022

What are the top 10 successful businesses? ›

Top 10 most successful businesses to start
  • Social media management. ...
  • Cleaning service. ...
  • Business consulting. ...
  • Copywriting. ...
  • Graphic design. ...
  • Real estate brokers. ...
  • Online courses. ...
  • Pet services. For those who love our furry friends, starting a pet service business may sound like a dream job.
4 Mar 2022

How do you increase sales? ›

  1. Be Present With Clients And Prospects. ...
  2. Look At Product-To-Market Fit. ...
  3. Have A Unique Value Proposition. ...
  4. Have Consistent Marketing Strategies. ...
  5. Increase Cart Value And Purchase Frequency. ...
  6. Focus On Existing Customers. ...
  7. Focus On Why Customers Buy. ...
  8. Upsell An Additional Service.
30 Mar 2021

What are the top 10 most successful small businesses? ›

Check out this list of the most profitable small businesses.
  1. Business Consulting. If you're an expert in your industry and have been working at it for years, you should consider consulting. ...
  2. IT Support, Technology Consulting, and Repair. ...
  3. Cleaning Services. ...
  4. Accounting and Tax Preparation. ...
  5. Auto Repair. ...
  6. Real Estate.

How can you attract customers? ›

Every small business owner wants to attract new customers. Here are 10 time-tested ways to help you bring in “new blood.”
  1. Ask for referrals. ...
  2. Network. ...
  3. Offer discounts and incentives for new customers only. ...
  4. Re-contact old customers. ...
  5. Improve your website. ...
  6. Partner with complementary businesses. ...
  7. Promote your expertise.
6 Apr 2017

How can I grow my private business? ›

Things you can do to help grow your business include: looking into ways of increasing your sales, both to existing customers and new customers. improving your products and services by researching and testing changes with your customers. developing new products and services, and selling them to new or existing markets.

How can I grow my business naturally? ›

10 ways to grow your business organically
  1. Invest in your website. We live in a digital age. ...
  2. Leverage social media. ...
  3. Host events to promote your business. ...
  4. Know your competition. ...
  5. Network, network, network. ...
  6. Refer a friend. ...
  7. Attend industry events. ...
  8. Review your sales channels.
30 Aug 2018

What 3 things make a business successful? ›

10 Essential Things Successful Businesses Have in Common. Does Yours?
  • Willingness to take chances. Business owners who are willing to take chances tend to achieve more than those who play it safe. ...
  • Unique value. ...
  • Tenacity. ...
  • Customer-centric approach. ...
  • Good marketing. ...
  • Strong vision. ...
  • Passionate leaders. ...
  • Empowered employees.
2 Feb 2021

What are 3 keys to success? ›

'” There they are. Three Keys for Career Success: communication, confidence, and character.

What are the 3 most important things in business? ›

No matter how bold or ambitious your plans are to grow your business, the key to your business's success lies in three critical, interdependent components: operational excellence, customer relations/communications and financial management.

What are your top tips for small businesses looking to grow in 2022? ›

6 Tips For Small Business Success In 2022
  • Attract and retain staff. ...
  • Manage supply chain challenges. ...
  • Embrace digital transformations. ...
  • Adapt to working from home and the future of work. ...
  • Focus on mental health and workplace wellbeing. ...
  • Build resilience and plan for uncertainty.
9 Mar 2022

What are the 6 key success factors business? ›

  • A Plan. Having a plan is the first necessity for success. ...
  • Perseverance. ...
  • Understanding that success or failure is not permanent. ...
  • Shared belief and a team spirit. ...
  • Motivation. ...
  • Clear vision of what success is. ...
  • Maximise resources available. ...
  • Clear understanding of time, money and resources.
8 Feb 2016

What is a fast growth business? ›

Rapid business growth

Rapid growth occurs within a short time, often in response to an unexpected opportunity or a successful growth strategy. In this period, your staff, production levels or customers may greatly increase at speed. This can lead to certain risks and challenges, such as: cashflow shortfalls.

How can I start a business with nothing? ›

Once you have figured out what you want to do, here are some important things to keep in mind while starting your business from zero:
  1. Research your market. ...
  2. Set a tangible financial goal. ...
  3. When you create a website, make the content shareable. ...
  4. Build a list. ...
  5. Launch a product or service you can sell.
17 Mar 2015

What businesses make a lot of money? ›

  • Financial Services.
  • Eldercare.
  • Business Consultancy.
  • Investment Firm.
  • Education and Training Service.
  • Insurtech.
  • Cleaning Business.
  • Healthcare Consultancy.
11 May 2022

What are the 4 growth strategies? ›

The four growth strategies

These are Product, Placement, Promotion and Price. Where the Four Ps focus on audiences, channels & pricing, the Ansoff Matrix is more effective for a broader view of markets and uses the older Four P framework within each of the 4 Ansoff quadrants.

How can I turn my small business into a million dollar business? ›

Take a look at Kerpen's 10 key strategies and learn how to build a 10-million-dollar business.
  1. Find trustworthy partners. ...
  2. Create a strategy and focus. ...
  3. Say no to what's off focus. ...
  4. Find peer support. ...
  5. Form a board of advisors. ...
  6. Hire slow and fire fast. ...
  7. Build great values and culture. ...
  8. Build your brand.

What are the 4 selling strategies? ›

The four basic sales strategies salespeople use are script-based selling, needs-satisfaction selling, consultative selling, and strategic-partner selling. Different strategies can be used with in different types of relationships.

What are the 5 sales strategies? ›

5 Sales Strategies for Businesses
  • Define your buyer.
  • Tell a story.
  • Target a niche market.
  • Sell your brand.
  • Focus on internal growth.

What small business sell the most? ›

Most profitable small businesses
  1. Food trucks. ...
  2. Car wash services. ...
  3. Auto repair. ...
  4. Personal trainers. ...
  5. Newborn and post-pregnancy services.
3 May 2022

What small companies grow fast? ›

Fast growing small companies
S.No.NameQtr Sales Var %
1.Savita Oil Tech21.43
2.Hil Ltd6.16
3.Gufic BioScience-9.94
4.Cosmo First2.45
22 more rows

What do small businesses need the most? ›

10 Things Every Small Business Needs To Do
  • You need to manage your cash. ...
  • You need to develop a data-based culture. ...
  • You need to engage in Lean Planning. ...
  • You need to understand your margins on all your products and services. ...
  • You need to have a strategy for recruiting and retaining talent.

What are 5 key things to running a successful business? ›

  • Get Organized. To achieve business success you need to be organized. ...
  • Keep Detailed Records. All successful businesses keep detailed records. ...
  • Analyze Your Competition. Competition breeds the best results. ...
  • Understand the Risks and Rewards. ...
  • Be Creative. ...
  • Stay Focused. ...
  • Prepare to Make Sacrifices. ...
  • Provide Great Service.

How can I make money in 2022? ›

  1. Sell custom products. ...
  2. Create a print-on-demand business. ...
  3. Make a subscription box. ...
  4. Sell on marketplaces. ...
  5. Sell digital products. ...
  6. Sell your creative work. ...
  7. Monetize an audience. ...
  8. Become a freelancer.
4 Nov 2021

What business can I start as a beginner? ›

If you are planning to start your own business, then having that passion about entrepreneurship is not enough.
...
  • Food Truck Business. ...
  • Coffee Shop. ...
  • Bakery. ...
  • Cooking Classes. ...
  • Ice-Cream Stand. ...
  • Product / Business Reviewer. ...
  • Home Food Delivery. ...
  • Bookkeeping Services.
19 Oct 2021

What small business can I start for cheap? ›

If you want to start a low-cost business, these 25 ideas will help inspire your entrepreneurial passion.
  • Content creation. ...
  • Personal or virtual assistant. ...
  • Event planning services. ...
  • Errand/concierge service. ...
  • Professional reviewer. ...
  • Social media consultant. ...
  • Etsy shop. ...
  • Online courses and tutoring.

What words attract customers? ›

10 Powerfully Persuasive Words Your Customers Want to Hear
  • Free.
  • Exclusive.
  • Easy.
  • Limited.
  • Get.
  • Guaranteed.
  • You.
  • Because.
2 Aug 2016

What makes a customer happy? ›

Every good entrepreneur knows that keeping customers happy is more important than constantly gaining new ones. Reward loyalty with discounts, free products, extra services or other bonuses that show you appreciate them and that will keep them singing your praises.

How can I promote my business? ›

12 tips to promote your business
  1. Take advantage of local listings. Register your business with Google — it's the new yellow pages. ...
  2. Use social media. ...
  3. Create engaging content. ...
  4. Optimize your website's SEO. ...
  5. Create press releases. ...
  6. Get involved in an online community. ...
  7. Use high-quality visuals. ...
  8. Pay for advertising.

What are 3 ways in which a business can grow? ›

So, What Are The 3 Ways To Grow Your Business?
  • Acquire New Customers.
  • Increase Your Average Transaction Value.
  • Increase Your Customer's Frequency of Purchase.
22 Feb 2022

How can I grow my business with little money? ›

16 Ways to Grow Your Business Without Spending Money
  1. Bill faster. Bill faster. ...
  2. Streamline your marketing message. ...
  3. Increase your business's visibility. ...
  4. Look for and reward efficiencies. ...
  5. Don't forget suppliers. ...
  6. Work faster. ...
  7. Reward your team when they meet or exceed expectations. ...
  8. Give something away.

How can I make my business popular? ›

12 tips to promote your business
  1. Take advantage of local listings.
  2. Use social media.
  3. Create engaging content.
  4. Optimize your website's SEO.
  5. Create press releases.
  6. Get involved in an online community.
  7. Use high-quality visuals.
  8. Pay for advertising.

What makes a good growth idea? ›

Learning to become more responsible. Developing new skills and learning new things. Changing your mindset. Adopting a more positive attitude.

What are 2 ways a business can experience growth? ›

A business grows when it expands a customer base, increases revenue or produces more product.

What factors lead to business growth? ›

Consider these five factors of business growth:
  • #1 – Customer Loyalty. ...
  • #2 – Smart Adoption of Technology. ...
  • #3 – Commitment to Employee Training. ...
  • #4 – Social Responsibility. ...
  • #5 – Leadership. ...
  • Business Growth Through a Culture of Convenience.

How can I make money from home? ›

How to make money at home
  1. Become a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant (VA) provides clients with administrative services from a remote location, such as a home office. ...
  2. Pet sitting. ...
  3. Sell your possessions online. ...
  4. Tutor students online. ...
  5. Start a blog. ...
  6. Sell services online. ...
  7. Sell consulting services. ...
  8. Launch an online store.

What's the easiest business to make money? ›

Check out our top money making small business ideas below.
  1. Proofreading Services. ...
  2. Social Media Manager. ...
  3. Podcast Producer or Editor. ...
  4. Graphic Designer. ...
  5. Travel Agent. ...
  6. Career or Life Coach. ...
  7. Food Delivery Services. ...
  8. Furniture Maker.
17 Feb 2020

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