Small business growth has never been more of a challenge. Post recession, the U.S.A. is still a full percentage point below the long-term average growth (3.4%) average.
Just a one percent drag from the long-term growth average results in a significant reduction on consumer spending, normal lending practices and hiring.
With millions still unemployed, housing prices stagnant and the government likely out of meaningful stimulus tricks it is time to look at areas where owners can control.
Growth for your firm can happen much easier just by riding the right wave.
1. The Gray Wave
No demographic wave is bigger than the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. Consider the millions of boomer newly retired or downsized from their normal paycheck every year. In addition, an increasing number of wannabe retirees look to supplement limited retirement funds or expensive health insurance.
There are dozens of attractive niches for boomers’ growing (and graying) needs.
Some of the best advice includes finding a niche in retirement, home and health services. Consumer studies confirm the non traditional ways tomorrow’s retirees are expected to follow.
Think extra padding for roller blades equipment not rocking chairs!
2. How Smart Are You?
About smart phones that is. Did you know that 35% of US adults now have a smart phone? A surprising 25% of those use that as their sole access the internet to browse and shop.
Begin to integrate smart phone tools to make it easier for your mobile centered customers.
The easiest place to begin include QR codes on your sales collateral and loyalty programs your customers scan with their phone.
An immediate way to gain on your competition is to have a robust web site that is smart phone friendly.
Short videos about important announcements and new products and services will propel your small business growth ahead of your competitors. Easy opt ins to your newsletter or pending announcements for smart phone users is another way to capture this fast growing customer segment.
With smart phone technology platforms getting faster and more integrated with the web look for an explosion of new apps available to engage your customers.
Ignore this exploding area at your own risk. Europe already has a much higher rate of smart phone use. Look for even more US smart phone users to help your small business growth.
3. How Much Do You Care?
One of the most neglected areas for small firms is in the customer service area. Imagine the small business growth revolution that would occur if more owners embraced this area much more seriously!
Cost cutting and technology done wrong builds barriers with your customers and drags small business growth. With surprisingly affordable and innovative customer relationship management (CRM) tools this is an area to make significant gains in.
Why is CRM a key for small business growth? Trying to compete on price and quality is a real fight in most markets with small financial returns. Most small firms understand the commitment to making customer satisfaction a competitive advantage. However, few invest in enduring customer relations.
What’s the secret of the best CRM approach?
An effectively designed CRM systems methodology communicates your brand consistently and personally. Think mass customization in a personalized way. Targeting attractive market niches leveraging your strengths makes a business plan come alive. Helping each customer feel listened to and understood creates fans of your business.
What is the best small business advice? Start small with a current customer segment and develop your CRM approach to measure small business growth indicators.
Next, apply your approach to new markets or even new products and services your customers want.