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Growth Hacking for Micro and Small Businesses

What do our Bordon Hub members share in common? They all want their micro or small businesses to grow! Whether that’s with the goal of becoming a larger company or simply to increase profitability so that their owners can enjoy the lifestyle they want, we all want growth.

Joining the Bordon Hub is obviously a step in the right direction (I would say that) but what else can you do that doesn’t bust your budget and provides some quick wins? Growth hacking touches on all departments within a company: marketing, finance, product, operations, HR. Growth hacking opportunities may lie within the design of a product, rather than the way it’s marketed. Or there could even be ways to grow the business by exploring your company culture, for example by attracting employees and customers with a better fit to your business. We explore some of these opportunities in our programme of meetings and workshops at the Bordon Hub, and also when we sit down for an initial 1-2-1 to explore your growth plan.

But what about things you can do easily yourself? Read on...

5 tried and tested growth hacks for small businesses

Here are 5 growth hacks that won’t necessarily cost you money, but can increase the virality of your business and help you achieve your growth objectives.

  1. Set Up Google My Business

Google My Business enables your business to be found by customers on Google. If you’ve noticed search results featuring a Google map and a listing of businesses highlighted on the map, this is how to get on the map!

As well as Google make sure you have up-to-date listings with online directories, especially the local and specialist ones. Online searches often return results from Yell and other directories high in SERPs, so get on there too.

  1. Use Your Personal Network

Your address book is potentially full of people who could help you grow your local business. They might not be your target customers, but they could have connections that are.  Engage with them, explain what you are doing – you may be surprised how they can help.

Remember it’s not just about reaching target customers, your personal network may have some interesting ideas of how you can grow your business in other ways too. You may not be targeting UX designers with your business offering, but a friendly one might have some interesting methods to increase conversions on your website. Similarly a friend running a local event may have the perfect opportunity for you to get in front of potential customers in a relevant and meaningful way.

  1. Get Your Customers To Grow Your Business

If you’ve got happy customers it’s easy to incentivise them to spread the word about your business. Referral schemes come in all shapes and sizes, and can be tailored specifically for your customers. It doesn’t necessarily have to cost you money either, if your customers are happy with your service they will only need a bit of encouragement to tell their friends.

Many successful startups have used referrals to dramatically grow their business. Just look at companies like Dropbox who incentivise their existing customers to refer their friends in exchange for additional storage space. Those new sign ups are then encouraged to sign up their friends to increase their storage; out of all of those sign ups a percentage go on to buy additional storage and become a paying customer.

These schemes generally work when everyone gets rewarded – existing customer and referee.

Remember, it’s about perceived value not the actual value of the reward so make sure it’s a relevant offer; one that will allow you to upsell to your existing customer and onboard the prospect.

  1. Milk Testimonials For All They’re Worth!

Reviews and testimonials are a major factor for customers making a decision about your business. If you’re a local business, testimonials from local customers carry even more weight, as prospects will identify more with a local reviewer than one 300 miles away.

Google and Facebook allow customers to leave reviews, or you could even create social media graphics featuring your most recent testimonials. Don’t forget to use them offline as well, include them on marketing material, even the side of your work vehicle!

  1. Check Out The Local Scene

Even businesses that offer products or services to a nationwide or global customer base, can benefit from growing their business at a local level. There are lots of opportunities to get your business in front of potential customers at local events, on local listings, local media and local networking groups. It’s just a question of identifying where those customers like to hang out, and targeting them in an appropriate way.

Take a leaf out of photographer Matthew Burch’s book who photographs many of the Bordon Hub and Farnham Hub events. Not only do prospects go to these events, but his branded photographs are subsequently shared to a wider network of targets afterwards on social media and the Hubs marketing material.

If you have a great growth hack you can share, whether it’s something other business owners could use or just an interesting example of a successful strategy – please leave a comment below.

About the Author Emma Selby

Emma Selby is the founder of the Bordon Hub and Managing Director of SiGNAL. She is also a serial entrepreneur and social media trainer, bringing her experience and expertise to the Bordon Hub business growth programme.

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