As a support organization for women entrepreneurs, our Business Advisors often get asked a lot of the same questions, and one of the most common ones is “How do I grow my business?”
These days, business growth may look more like sustaining your business by exploring new strategies. To ensure the continued success of your company, you have three options: increase your profits, increase your sales, or both. In this post, we look at increasing sales.
It’s not rocket science: you either need to sell to more people (a.k.a. increase your market share) or sell more to the same people (a.k.a. increase your wallet share).
So, let’s break down some questions you can ask to decide the strategy that works for you and your business.
Sell More to Current Customers
It’s easier to sell more to an existing customer than it is to get a new one, so think about better meeting the needs of the customers you already have.
- Is there an opportunity to increase the number of purchases customers make?
- How can you increase the size of each sale?
- Can you create a subscription service or membership-based option that encourages loyalty and increases their engagement?
- Can you provide them with additional services? For example, you could not only provide software but also load it onto your customer’s systems.
- Can your product or service replace something they are currently purchasing from another supplier?
Sell to More Customers
Consider whether you’re reaching all your potential customers in your current geographic area and whether you should enter new markets
- Can you sell to new customers in your current market? What do you need to change to do this: for example, do you need to adjust your messaging, increase your marketing reach, improve your operations (e.g. expand delivery)?
- Are you ready to find new customers in new geographic areas? This could be in another area of town, another city or beyond!
- Should you consider expanding your business internationally? Selling to customers in other countries creates the opportunity to increase your sales volume and may also offset seasonal fluctuations in your current market.
- What is your competitive advantage? Does your product fulfill export regulations? What is your export strategy? You will need to prepare your company before exporting, but there are many resources available – and we can help you access grants and programs to help you export.
Add New Products or Services to your Business
This strategy may be a combination of options 1 and 2, because it may help you attract new customers AND sell more to your current customers.
But, be careful: don’t add a product or service just because it seems like a good opportunity. It should be something that complements your current products. The more focused your products/services are, the stronger your business identity
Here’s an example. A WEC loan client, Francesca Galasso, has run Il Castello Pizzeria since 2014. She kept getting requests from customers who wanted to buy her dough balls for pizza night at home. In response for this demand, she launched Holy Napoli frozen pizza, and today her frozen dough and pizzas are available in grocery stores across Canada. Francesca took a product that was already successful and re-imagined how she could use it to increase sales!
- Are there products or services that complement what you already do?
- Is there anything your customers wish you offered? Here’s an idea: ask them! Maybe they love a specific brand of product you offer and would like you to offer more of the line.
- Are there products or services you could easily incorporate into your current offerings, so you can avoid a costly learning curve? Think about options that you already have some experience with.
- How can you incorporate new offerings in your current marketing so you don’t increase those costs?
- Think about what you do better than anyone else: What you are becoming known for and can do more of?
- Could you explore a strategic partnership with another business?
Every business is different so you have to consider the option(s) that work best for you at that time, and be willing to adapt if need be. To learn more about how to scale your business, download the free Growing Your Business Guide by Women’s Enterprise Centre, or connect with us at womensenterprise.ca.
About Women’s Enterprise Centre
Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organization devoted to helping BC women start, lead and grow their own business. If you own a business, or are thinking of starting one, connect with us for business loans up to $150K, business advice, skills training, mentoring, resources and a supportive community.