6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
For most of us, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout serves as a light at the end of the tunnel. Working in crisis mode for a year can really take its toll. We’re ready to move on and towards a future that looks similar to life pre-COVID.
However, we’re not out of the woods yet. The rollout hasn’t been totally smooth, and it will take some time before things can resume as they once did. But that doesn’t mean your business needs to remain at a standstill or that it shouldn’t begin shifting from just trying to get by to prospering.
You may not feel ready yet, or perhaps you’re excited for what’s ahead. Either way, if you’ve been locked into survival mode this past year, it’s time to get back into the mentality of growing. Here are some specific ways you can shift your focus and see your business gain some growth.
Related: 10 Steps to Achieve a Growth Mindset in Business
1. Automate Your Marketing
Marketing automation is a strategy that you hear about frequently. That’s because it’s an effective way to engage and nurture leads and maintain a work-life balance. Instead of watching your to-do list rack up more and more items, without any clue as to when you’ll get any of it done, invest in a marketing automation solution. You’ll be able to automate tasks like sending email nurture campaigns and consistent sales follow-up. Plus, you’ll have access to crucial information on your customers, like behavioral patterns and various interactions they have with your website, so you can understand their needs better.
With these necessary marketing and sales functions being automated, you’ll create more time in your day to get to the other items you need to tackle. You can watch your business grow while you’re in the weeds helping your team, meeting with investors, or reviewing budgets and expense reports.
2. Look Into Acquiring Companies
I want to preface this tip by saying that it isn’t for everyone. Not every business is in the position to look at acquisitions as a viable opportunity for growth. However, if your business has the funds and capital available, it isn’t a bad idea to look into possible acquisitions that can help you grow your customer base and team.
If this is something you’re looking into, make sure you consult with a financial advisor or professional to determine feasibility. Weigh every pro and con, and don’t just do this on a whim.
Also, don’t reach out to just any company out there; you have to be selective. You want to make sure that the company you’re interested in has the same customer base and that their product or service offering compliments what it is your business offers. Think of your customers and what they want and need. Consider what an acquisition means for your internal team and company as a whole. The timing has to be absolutely right for something like this to go smoothly.
Related: How to Finance an Acquisition Using an SBA Loan
3. Trim Your Budget
You may think your budget is as lean as it can get, but you’d be surprised at all the little things that add up over time. If you’re looking to grow, and if that growth means investing in other tools, services, companies, or products, then go over your existing budget with a fine-tooth comb.
Meet with each department to go over their monthly, quarterly, or yearly expenses. Each item you’re spending money on should be evaluated to determine if it’s contributing to your company’s overall success. If it’s not, then be ready to nix it and re-invest the funds into areas that will spark revenue growth.
Your company’s mission statement can serve as a guide for whether or not the things you’re spending money on coincide with your goals. If part of your mission statement is that you put your customers first, then get rid of some of the things that don’t directly or indirectly contribute to that.
4. Reconfigure Your Sales Process
The pandemic has impacted every industry. In turn, we’ve had to get more creative in the way we sell to our customers.
Take a hard look at your sales process to determine if it’s still working. Look at your sales conversions each month and compare them against pre-pandemic numbers. Were you using the same tactics then as you are now? If so, and your numbers are declining, then it’s not a bad idea to change up your process to be more accomodating for the current landscape.
When adjusting your sales process, consider the types of conversations your sales team has with your leads. What are some of the main concerns leads are expressing? What are their hesitations? What parts of the sales process do they seem to be responding well to?
Your sales process should be all about making your leads feel as informed and comfortable as possible. They need to be convinced that you’re the best solution for their needs. During a pandemic, that could mean moving away from a harder sell approach to something more passive. Regardless of what reconfiguration means for your company, be ready to be flexible and creative.
Related: How the Sales Process Has Drastically Evolved to Fit the Future
5. Focus On Cost-Efficient Strategies
There doesn’t have to be a price tag with every single marketing solution out there. There are tactics you can employ without having to spend money, and they usually are ones you’re already doing in some capacity.
One of the most cost-efficient solutions with the biggest return is content marketing. Creating content, whether it’s for your company blog, gated resources, or content you place on external sites, can lead to big wins. You’re not only creating awareness for your brand, but you’re also building up owned resources that will serve as fuel for your email nurture campaigns. Each piece of content you create plays a role in getting more eyes on your website, converting those visits to leads, and nurturing those leads towards a sale.
Content marketing should be a part of your overall marketing strategy. Therefore, it’s an effort that can easily be taken on in-house, keeping costs low and your efforts aligned with your bigger picture goals.
After a year of working hard to keep your business afloat, it can seem premature to shift towards a focus on growth. But if you want your business to get through and keep up with the market, you have to start thinking about reaching and exceeding your goals. There’s no time like the present.