When asked how to grow business online, popular responses include: build 'it', 'they' will come, or 'build a better mousetrap and they will beat a path to your door'.
'They' referred to potential clients and 'it' meant your business.
It's hard to believe, but veteran business owners still give this advice.
Countless business owners have gone on to act on this advice, and build 'it', only to fail within a few months.
'They' never came.
'They' made purchases or took up your offers/services, though inconsistent and without feedback.
The steps above (build, package offers, referrals, and feedback) refer to a system known as a funnel. As business owners who want to grow businesses, a lack of effective and targeted steps, places the business on the road to failure.
Let’s consider some important elements for online business growth and what you can do.
From the time you start to exchange things or services for money, in a consistent and systematic way, you have a business or a busy-ness (you get busy).
Every business goes through stages, known as a business life cycle. The four recognized stages of a business life cycle include, startup, rapid growth, maturity, decline, rebirth and the death phases.
According to a famous statistic by Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 people who read this report and have a business will complete the death phase of their businesses life cycle before the end of the next 18 months. A Startup Genome Report uses the term, ‘self-destruct’ for failed businesses. This means that the failure of a business in a majority of cases is due to wrong choices made by business owners.
Among the 20% who succeed or the 80% who fail?
Your business may be on the road to decline or the latter stages of the business life cycle.
Is there hope?
A lot can be done. We have distilled below the elements that should inform your decisions related to your business. This should help you improve the chance of being among the 20% who succeed.
This structure has been organized into systems which should add a turbo boost to your business for revenue growth. Also, it can help paint a realistic picture of where you are and what can be done, regardless of the years you’ve been in business and the stage of the business life cycle.
Assess your business for the presence and effectiveness of these systems. Where absent, implement them today.
Where present, evaluate them further for efficiency and make adjustments where necessary.
Always start with the basics.
Failure to conduct market research is a fundamental mistake that most business owners make when starting out, and even way into their business.
To get an idea of the market (ideal clients) needs and wants, search for answers to questions such as,
To follow along, download this worksheet for personal use. Provide your answers in the blank spaces given.
Map your potential customer journey from before, during and after using your services.
Here we talk about funnel mapping, which is simply a system to encourage regular purchases of your services or offers.
All through the top, middle and the bottom of the funnel or system, processes have to be in place to ensure consistent influx and retention within your funnel.
A look through buyer funnels from other clients in your niche can make a huge difference in your income at the year-end or meeting your revenue goals.
Get potential clients and their friends and extended friends to have you and your services at the top-of-mind.
Achieve the topmost visibility possible with consistency in using any or all of the following,
A business must have goals, short-term and long-term.
Regular measurement of important metrics can help you know what’s working and what’s not. These assessments can make a huge difference in your annual revenue.
Also, awareness of your cash flow is critical. This includes financial statements, regular follow-ups on failed payments, consistent checks and balances of expenses and income are indispensable.
" Cash is to a business as oxygen is to a body."
The cheatsheet below contains recommended, free or freemium resources for monitoring and other aspects of business growth. For convenience, you can download the cheatsheet here.
To avoid issues reltaed to formatting, the table on related resources and notes is not visible on mobile devices (tablets and phones).
Please download click here to download (no opt-in required).
Business Growth Elements
Free / Free Tier Tools that can help
1. Market Research
Do people need your proposed service?
Who may be interested?
(ideal audience; demographics),
How are others in the niche offering their services/products,
Is the potential audience satisfied (check complaints on related forums or competitor offers)
Crystal, Similarweb, SEMrush
Google Forms, Typeform (free tier)
2. Map Customer journey
Demographics, competitor funnels, complaints on related forums or competitor offers
Google Search (Bing, Google) and Client Surveys (Google Forms, Typeform (free tier))
3. Visibility and Awareness
Content Marketing (blog Posts, Video, Podcasts, news pieces, press releases, trend reports)
Short-lived (Need for consistency)
Builds up awareness overtime
Evergreen (can last for years)
Best for quick authority
Best for immediate sales and real time awareness
Best for ongoing visibility
4. Regular monitoring
Website metrics (site visits, search terms, time on site, bounce) all reveal so much about the health of your business.
Google Analytics (You can look through the Google knowledge base for more information on what to target)
Website Heat Maps
Determine where visitors are clicking and place an offer or irrestible offer in the area
Hotjar (free tier)
Website Keyword Optimization
Determine what search terms work and optimize posts regularly
MOZ/SEMRUSH (free tier)
Website Blog Post
Helps you know if and when your marketing efforts are working or not
Google Analytics (free)
Website Link Clicks
Ineffective offers or call to actions or
Client Feedback (for social proof)
Get testimonials for personal assessment and appeal to future clients
Google Forms or just an email response
5. Finance Checks
How would I send and collect payments?
Are my checks and balances in order?
Invoicing ninja, PayPal, Stripe
How often do I plan to check my business finances -month/quarterly/bi-annually or annually (income>>>expenditure)
Let's have a friendly chat
All about top-of-the-funnel marketing strategies.