There is perhaps nothing better than a business that can make money, or at least generate leads for you while you sleep.
An online business is a fantastic way of promoting yourself and your services and reaching a wider pool of clientele, but what happens when it isn't reaching enough people, or you're not seeing the results you want to achieve?
If this is the case, then it's time to take action. So, how do you grow your online business quickly?
Here are some of the most effective, tried-and-tested ways to see fast results in growing your online business.
The Fastest, Most Effective Strategies To Help You Grow Your Online Business
1. Dedicate Your Time To What You Do Best
When you run your own online business, it can seem like there are a lot of responsibilities and many different hats to wear.
You're no longer a simple business owner; you're a marketer, web designer, social media strategist, business analyst and maybe even an accountant.
Sometimes it can feel like you don't even have time to provide the services your clients need, let alone grow your online business!
All the time and energy you spend on the other jobs pull you away from your real talent and what you excel at.
Consider that you want to make a change to your website.
You first need to learn the software, research how to make the change, design and implement the change and then check it for usability.
All of this time could have been spent with clients, planning your next campaign or developing further income streams.
If you outsourced this task to a web developer, they would be able to complete it far quicker and to an expert level.
Your Job is Developing and Growing Your Online Business
Remember, all the time you spend working on the mechanisms of your business means the less time you have to spend developing and growing your online business.
So, the answer is to delegate, delegate, delegate.
"But, I'm trying to grow my business, not spend money!"
I know it seems counterproductive to spend money on tasks you can do yourself.
However, the more tasks you do yourself, the more time you may spend staying stuck in the same situation, rather than driving the change and growth you want to see.
And remember, all of the aspects that aren't a professional in, but that you are doing yourself, maybe at a lower quality than hiring an expert for the role.
So, by delegating to the experts, you're ensuring your online business is of the highest quality while giving you some much needed time to focus on profit-making activities.
What's more, the more you do yourself, the more likely you are heading for a burnout. You need time and rest to be able to think creatively on how to grow your online business.
You won't have the capacity to think if you are doing everything yourself.
Draw up a list of your expertise and stick to that list – everything else you should delegate.
So, don't think of outsourcing as an unnecessary cost, but as a vital investment for yourself and your business.
2. Lose The Employee Mindset
When you first set up a business, it can be hard to lose that employee mentality.
Of course, you have set up your business to provide your income, and understandably, you rely on your business making enough money for you to live.
When this happens, your focus shifts away from the business and instead prioritises making money for yourself.
But often, in this mindset, it is hard to grow your online business.
Instead, you are likely to focus on cost-savings that boost your individual profit.
This is where you might find that you're doing every task yourself.
When you're working endlessly, you haven't created a business; you have instead created a job.
You and Your Business Are Not The Same Thing
It is important to shift the mindset and create a difference between you and the business.
So often, people fail to inject their business with the capital it needs because they're scared of the personal hit to their income.
When you start to see that investing in your business can help to achieve growth, then you can see how the business will make money and how to grow your online business.
Again, it is not about your money, but the growth potential of your business.
So, stop thinking 'how can I earn money?' and instead focus your attention on finding the answer to 'how can my business make money?'.
This could include hiring staff or employing services that can help your business to grow.
Don't be scared to invest in your business.
When we work for others, it is easy to see how funding could improve profit.
While it is harder to part with your own cash, sometimes you need to take a step back and see your business as a completely separate entity.
If it was someone else's business, what would you recommend?
3. Think About Scale
Scaling big is essential for growing your business.
The bigger your business, the more people you can reach and therefore, the more people you can help.
That should be your goal as a professional service provider, right?
However, too often with online businesses, that primary goal is lost – the focus switches to making the most money with the least input.
Automation quickly comes into play, and it means that the USP and your personal brand is lost.
Your potential clients want personality; they want to feel human and interact with a human.
Especially in the early stages, it is important that you interact with your clients and prospects as much as possible.
Your Online Business Needs SMART Automation
So, when you think about scaling your business, automation can be incredibly useful, but make sure that you are automating the right things and still keeping that personal element intact.
You don't have to scale everything. In fact, one of the best ways to grow your online business is to actually do the unscalable – this will set you apart from your competitors.
So, make sure you're still responding personally to messages, hosting forums and conducting live video sessions where people can ask questions.
Look to make personal engagement wherever possible, don't just expect your automated newsletter to do your marketing for you, you need to connect, engage and be a real person to your audience.
The more time you dedicate to this and the more personal you can be will really impress and engage your prospects.
It is this level of service that drives those vital words of mouth recommendations.
4. Consider Your Profitability
A high turnover sounds great, doesn't it?
Saying you're running a business with a seven-figure revenue is mighty impressive.
It sounds much less impressive when your expenses are almost that high too.
So, this is where the mindset really needs to switch from revenue to profit.
It becomes so easy to see a healthy revenue as the money you have to play within your business.
The problem when this happens, and without a proper business budget in place, you can start to overspend on your expenses.
It is a common trend for expenses to rise just as steeply as revenue and when this happens, your business isn't really growing, because your profit isn't growing.
By looking at your profitability before your revenue, you can set yourself on the right path for growth.
So, consider your budget as;
Revenue – Profit – Your Salary – Tax = Expenses
With this mindset shift, you make sure everything is covered before you start spending spree on products and services that help you run your business.
This can be really eye-opening to work out.
After all, if you haven't got enough money to run the business on what is left after you've covered all of your essentials (and yes, your salary is essential), then you may need to rethink your business plan to ensure you can run your business both successfully and profitably.
5. Know Where You Need To Grow
The most successful way to grow your online business is to know where your business needs to go.
This means capturing as much meaningful data as possible and measuring every growth decision you make.
By following your data trends closely, you begin to see patterns of growth, including what's working for you and what's not.
What this also means is that you'll be able to track every decision you make for your business.
The outcomes of which will help you to drive the next change or improvement.
Having access to and understanding of this data will also help you to spot issues before they become too serious.
This means you can always make sure your business is in good health.
So, what data do you need to track? This will vary depending on what you are trying to achieve, but you can consider aspects such as;
- Customer satisfaction
- Lead generation
- Finance and earnings
- Social media sign-ups
- Brand visibility
- Website traffic
- Engagement metrics.
You Can Only Improve The Things You Measure
Remember to set a goal for your business; this is so that you really care about the data.
Every month (or week), you can check data against your goal to see your progress.
Measuring and objectives are a two-way street, and you really can't have one without the other.
So, take time to really think about the way you want your business to grow and what you can measure to follow the progress.
There's no point measuring the things that don't help you achieve your goal.
Likewise, there is no point in having a goal if you can't see your progress.
So, you are setting objectives and measuring the data. What next? You need to be utilising these and holding yourself accountable.
That means celebrating your wins and tweaking the aspects that aren't getting you the results you want.
Remember, you don't have to be a data analyst for this.
There are lots of user-friendly metric systems, like Google Analytics.
Remember…Use SMART Delegation
If you really don't have the time or patience, then outsource it.
Make sure the analyst is sending you across the information you really need to know, exactly when you need it.
Don't just glance at this information, take time to absorb, digest and plan your next step, using the information you have in front of you.
When considering growth strategies to measure, remember to think about the scale.
For example, if you're struggling to extract more money from your existing clientele, remember there is a maximum limit for these strategies.
Similarly, you can only work so hard and for so many hours, so remember this cap when you're strategising your growth.
This doesn't mean that you can't measure these but bear in mind that there may be a plateau.
This limit could be an indicator that you've reached the peak.
If that has happened, then it's probably time to come up with other business offerings that have more scope and scale.
6. Don't Be Scared of Paying to Advert Your Online Business
Many people are reluctant of paid advertising and instead want to focus on organic growth through content creation.
Now, content creation is useful, and organic growth can reap the rewards, but you can get there so much faster by implementing paid advertising into your marketing strategy.
It's quick, easy and much less stressful than the slow, time-consuming method of organic growth alone.
Often, organic growth is favoured because business owners are reluctant to spend.
Instead, they will focus on 'free' channels and 'free' content creation to achieve growth.
However, the amount of time and effort involved in content creation and publication, not to mention the trial and error process and adapting to changing algorithms and trends, means that this 'free' growth suddenly becomes very expensive.
But, with some careful, paid advertising, you can reap the same rewards, but instantly.
With your budget in place, your advert will quickly begin to generate traffic.
Usually, this traffic is instantaneous.
The Greater The Investment, The Greater The Return on Investment
Generally, the higher the budget, the more traffic you can generate.
With this traffic, you can then speak directly to your audience; this is a great way to validate whether your messaging is hitting the right mark.
You'll have the data to measure the success of your paid campaigns.
If they're working and hitting your targets, you know what works.
If they're not, you know that your messaging needs tweaking.
Compared to the laborious job of content marketing and posting, paid ads are quick and easy – allowing you to spend more time focusing on how to further grow your online business.
It is important to remember the value you will get from your paid advertising, rather than worrying about the cost of the advert.
For example, the value of leads, email sign-ups or purchases can far outweigh the cost of paid advertising.
7. Build Joint Venture Partnerships
Another sure-fire way of growing your business is to link with other businesses that have a similar customer base.
Partnering should be carefully thought out; you need to think about your clients and what services they are looking for besides your own.
Similarly, think about businesses that have a customer base that you want to attract.
For example, a career coach could link with headhunting agencies or recruitment services.
A mindset coach could connect with a gym or personal trainer.
Small business coaches can link to freelancing platforms.
These are all partner links that are not competitors but may have a very similar audience that would benefit from your service, just as much as they are benefitting from the current business they are using.
Keep An Open Mind and Explore All Possibilities
When you consider that other companies may have extensive email lists, you have an instant and potentially captive audience.
All you need to do is come up with a mutually beneficial solution for both businesses.
This could be a chamber of commerce, an association, or similar email list interaction deals, such as sending a newsletter about the other service to your own clients.
There are so many ways to partner up, and so many potential rewards to reap.
It can really help both businesses to grow their audience and therefore, hopefully, grow their business.
It is vital to home in on your niche and only partner up with the right businesses.
Think about your 'unicorn' clients, who are the customers that you really want and will really make a difference to your business.
Reaching out to the wrong audience will not do either business any favours. So, choose wisely.
Are You Ready To Grow Your Online Business?
Whatever stage your business is in, it can always grow, and by implementing these tips, you can find new ways to develop and improve your business.
Whatever growth strategy you're considering; these tips will hopefully show you the paths you can take to achieve your objectives.
However, if you're still unsure of your next steps or want to know more about skyrocketing your growth and quickly, then get in touch for your free online business and digital marketing consultation.