In the best of conditions growing a business can still be challenging. It requires hard work, skill, and even a bit of luck. What defines adverse conditions will vary from industry to industry. For example, if your business is related to agriculture, the weather may be the biggest threat you routinely face. If you work in the financial sector, interest rates may be the thing that keeps you up at night.
Here, successful entrepreneur Adam Ferrari highlights four ways to keep your business growing, even in adversity. Regardless of what adversity looks like for your business, these four strategies will help ensure your business will continue to grow.
1. Focus On Your Customers
Focusing on your customers may seem like an obvious strategy, but you’d be surprised how many managers look everywhere else when hard times appear on the horizon.
For example, a company that I regularly do business with has been hit hard by the current labor shortage. They need degreed professionals to keep their doors open and can’t find as many as they need to keep their branch offices humming along.
Unfortunately, this company decided to ignore incoming phone calls for a few hours each day to dedicate all employees to filling their in-house orders. As you can probably guess, by the time they returned to their regular incoming call hours, customers were fed up, and many moved on to a competitor.
We all have to make hard decisions in difficult times, but always put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If new or potential customers have a poor experience, growth is at risk.
2. Track New Customers
For most businesses, existing customers pay the bills and keep the lights on. They maintain the status quo, but they don’t represent growth unless you expand your product offering. New customers always represent growth.
Sales are important. Expenses and profit are essential too, but nothing will affect your ability to grow as much as new customers. Track not only how many new customers you have but try to find out as much as you can about them.
Where did they hear about your company? What products or services are they interested in, and how was their purchasing experience? These are the metrics that should be top of mind for an executive that wants to grow their business.
3. Identify Trends
Did you notice that at the beginning of the current COVID-19 pandemic, some companies jumped on the ideas of home delivery and customer pick up right away? In contrast, others sat around wringing their hands, wondering when the walk-in trade would return. Guess which ones experienced business growth even during a worldwide pandemic.
It takes foresight to lead a company through troubled waters. Learn to identify trends. If you wait until a new idea becomes commonplace, it’s no longer a trend, and you may be too late. At best, you lost customers while you waited.
No one is going to say that identifying meaningful and actionable trends is easy, but that’s why your company needs you. Closely watch what your competitors do, especially those that own a more significant share of the market than you do. Find ways to experience or test new ideas without breaking the bank.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Change
The very definition of adverse conditions is that the status quo no longer yields the same results. Things have changed and, in most cases, become more complex. The death knell for many a small to mid-sized business was not a poor action at all. It was the lack of action that did them in.
If you want to grow your business, you have to change. You can’t expect to continue doing things the way you have done them in the past, but with a different result in the future. Small incremental and inexpensive changes are ideal, but sometimes it takes more than that.