Business Growth: 5 strategies to innovate SMEs

Business growth is the condition in which the company can emerge within a market, then try to maintain it over time. Growing a company means setting one or more goals to be pursued during the following year, and devising a work plan that includes all the necessary steps to achieve the goals set. The entrepreneur’s goal is to create a development system for his business, creating innovative models that allow the business to increase its revenue and increase turnover.

In this article we will talk about innovative strategies for business growth and development, but not from a financial point of view; leaving out precise tools for the acquisition of large capital such as venture capital, or rather financing for companies.

Instead, we will talk about digital marketing models and online sales. In this way, the turnovers grow much more than the costs they carry. Many of these systems are borrowed from the so-called growth hacking discipline, which deals with creating strategies with high growth potential, especially for start-ups.

5 Strategies for growing your business

Building an innovation strategy that fosters business growth is the first step in a company’s change process and, once it has started, you need to support it with plans that can guarantee final conversion and retention.

1. Increase the number of people talking about you

Let’s start with referral marketing, also known as word-of-mouth marketing. It is a powerful marketing tool for growing a business. People value the opinion of others, whether they be friends, relatives, influencers, or celebrities. Today’s consumer wants to share the experience of purchasing a product with other people.

The so-called word of mouth that was once only done offline, when someone spoke about you to someone else. Today it can be done, much faster and faster, online. Let’s take the example of Dropbox: in the first years of its life it had exponential growth thanks to the brilliant idea of offering its customers Gigabytes of free space to the extent that it brings you, thanks to a link, other customers who signed up at the service

2. Take advantage of organic visibility

The second strategy for growing your business is to try to take advantage of free traffic sources. On search engines we have SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the activity thanks to which you write content that is positioned organically and naturally on the search engine. In this way, you will be able to acquire free of charge that you do not need to buy with sponsorships.

The “free” traffic is not limited to search engines, because we also have social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Youtube. Everyone has natural visibility and then a sponsored one. All companies are primarily interested in organic visibility, the one you don’t have to pay for. To get it, consider that you have to be extremely interesting to your target audience. Also, you need to keep in mind that all social networks are increasingly reducing this visibility because they have to make money on advertising.

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3. Invest in sponsorships

The third strategy for the development of the company that I am now suggesting to you is based on investments in online advertising campaigns. Sometimes, it’s better to spend something but be sure of the result, rather than doing something for free that doesn’t get you there. Let’s talk about online advertising: what is it?

Today the main strategies for business growth use online advertising, using the Google search engine which is the main contact acquisition tool in the world.

This type of business is called SEM, which will allow you to purchase a set of keywords. The only limitation of this tool is that the traffic of an advertisement that you make for a specific keyword is limited by the number of searches that people make today in Italy for that specific word.

business growth strategies

For example, if in Italy, a thousand people are looking for the word “viral content”, then these thousand will be the ones you can use to intercept.

So if you want to advertise to a much larger and more numerous audience then you have to resort to social advertising, the advertisements you can do on Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, and so on. You can make larger numbers because clearly, Facebook is now over 30 million. So if you want to reach all the men and women, to whom you want to communicate, for example, the qualities of your beauty product, you will certainly spend larger numbers here, but obviously, it will go up.

If you decide to advertise online and invest a budget, you must make sure you play on the leverage effect or make a strategy in which you are sure of the advertiser’s return on investment. Therefore, you must be sure that investing 1 will always return 2, 3, 4… and therefore the investment will always be lower than the return that you have now measured and that you know.

4. Spend on results

The fourth business growth strategy that I’m showing you is based on affiliate marketing. A situation where you don’t have an initial expense, but then you will spend money when someone brings you results, i.e. sales. So a bit like if you had agents, you appoint online portals to bring you traffic that translates into sales, which you reward with commissions.

5. Take advantage of e-commerce

And finally e-commerce. But I don’t want you to imagine e-commerce as you necessarily have the idea. Having to create some kind of Amazon. You can also start small, very small, or even with a single product and you can do it even if you sell services and not products. An example: let’s pretend you’re a dental practice that has many services available, you only put one online: the teeth cleaning service for 100/200 euros.

You sell it on your website and make a digital booking system that brings new customers to your point of sale, in this case, the dental office. After doing this service you will be able to upsell, i.e. you will have the possibility to sell other services to your customers. This customer acquisition technique for small e-commerce is an excellent tool for business growth.

Below you will find a couple of innovative ideas that can help you in these delicate processes, which can decree the success of a strategy for business growth. In particular, it concerns lead nurturing and email marketing.

Lead Nurturing

Once you have acquired the first contact with an anonymous visitor or potential customer, you move on to the next step. It is one of the most delicate, as it leads to the conversion or purchase.

This process is called “Lead Nurturing”, since the aim is to continue to “feed” the potential customer with new content, to help the user’s decision-making process.

At the end of this path, the user will finally be able to purchase and in the future, he will remember your company and will return to buy from you.

Email marketing

This marketing technique, on the other hand, allows you to be remembered by customers who have left their email addresses, even after weeks. Thanks to this strategy, you can continue the relationship with your customers even when they haven’t visited your site for quite some time. Furthermore, through Marketing Automation, everything will be simpler: personalized emails, based on the interests of visitors, will be sent automatically.

SMS marketing is very similar to email marketing, which allows you to increase the opening rate of your messages, resulting in the best solution for bringing the user into your sales strategy.

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Invest in human resources for your growth

Once the corporate growth strategy has been prepared, it is therefore time to decide who will implement it. At this point, you need to understand what actions you can take:

  • study and learn;
  • optimize the selection process of your human resources by hiring specialists.

This second option is certainly the fastest to undertake, in fact relying on professionals in the sector able to help companies make the most of the budget and energies allocated for the project, will favor rapid growth of your company. The disadvantage of this choice, however, is that you will always be bound to help, while your internal resources will not have this improvement necessary to be completely autonomous.

Alternatively, hire a digital coach, who works directly on your project while training your employees. Thus, at a certain point, you will be able to free yourself from the collaboration, as you will have internalized the skills necessary for the development of your business.

Organize resources to support business growth

Human resources are arguably the most valuable force behind any company’s growth. This is even more true for a small or medium-sized company, where there are few key people, it is necessary to put collaborators in a position to be able to carry out their work in an ideal way, to favor their permanence in the company.

organize resources to support business

For people to feel involved, it is essential to share their objectives, clarify the activity according to the always current objectives and ensure that the company is not anchored in long data habits. It is important to choose the right moments to organize resources. Both at a managerial and operational level, supporting merit and training but also hiring new people who can bring new ideas and stimuli to the company.

In this context, once again it will be essential to have a clear strategy that can bring about changes, especially towards new technological and digital trends. Sharing the objectives with the main collaborators will also mean listening to their needs and why not, their ideas of how the company should innovate.

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Digital Innovation for SMEs

Within any innovation plan elaborated nowadays, there is a word that cannot be missing: digitalization. Also in this case, the world of small entrepreneurs tends to feed a false belief: digital innovation involves investments that are too high, and not suitable for small companies. It’s not like that.

digital innovation plan

Digitizing your processes, and in some cases creating new products and services thanks to the, brings advantages, both in terms of costs, above all importantly in terms of digital revenues. For example, thanks to digital technologies, it is much easier to get to know your customers and therefore encourages a more personalized meeting and relationship, which leads to long-term loyalty. Loyal customers are undoubtedly those who have greater added value.

Furthermore, investments in the innovation of one’s production processes can be repaid, even in the short term, by more efficient and effective management of operations.

A fundamental point is that a good digital innovation strategy must not start from the purchase of new software but from the functional analysis of how production processes can change thanks to existing technology.
The entrepreneur must approach change projects with the rationality and lucidity with which he manages his business daily, that is, always keep in mind how much he is investing in the development plan and what results he is achieving.

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