I operate a small freelance business working with clients to grow their ecommerce presence (on social) and to improve sales (through marketing, development, and various research). When I first got my start it was merely a marketing role providing clients with video. Over the years I expanded my business to accommodate for the growing need of small business owners.
My business growth, low and behold, was directly tied to the experiments, tactics, and strategies that I brought to my clients. When applied to my business I not only was able to deliver better results for the clients based on experience but I was able to reinforce those tactics.
I’d like to share some of those tactics that have allowed my business to grow (so that you, too, may be able to scale your smart startup):
Action #1: A Commitment to Transparent Blogging
One of the first real breaks in my business was when I began publishing monthly reports on its growth. Since I was just getting my start (and seeing others following this same tactic) I thought it would be neat to show off how the business was growing not just for my records but to be transparent.
Within the blog I never held back; I was downright aggressive with many topics within my industry which caught a lot of attention from major players.
Thanks to the transparency, I had a lot of individuals approach me to work on related projects. A few turned out to be duds but the ones that took off were the ones that helped gain me some of my very first, best clients in the industry.
My belief is that this transparency cut through the messiness of business and allowed people to really get to know who I was and what I represented. The tone allowed me to establish my brand without being yet another “yes man” to the consumer; it’s that which I believe cut through the low-ballers and landed me the clients that knew my worth (because I was direct and straight-forward).
Action #2: Making a BIG Event
When you operate a small business – any event can become a big event.
The name of the game is hype and if you can get your community and potential clients invested in learning and experiencing the event then you are on track to making the right moves (and sales).
Making a professional event isn’t too difficult, even if you’re a small business. I was able to use a platform called Doubledutch to setup an event through an app so when the locals came they were able to read up on the speakers, be able to see the inner-events happening, and I was also able to sell a few sponsorships which really connected me with the right people.
My belief is that you should “own your back yard” in the sense that instead of going after the millions and millions of potential customers in your industry – you should focus on the ones you can reach out to right around in your neighborhood. By starting local you build a momentum because you can provide quality, up-front service to these individuals that will naturally spill over into their networks (and on the social networks).
Action #3: Tapping into the Network
When your business is up-and-coming I believe it’s best that you don’t look at your competitors as competitors but instead as comrades that are taking on the establishment. Each new business is going after the big boys and although there may only be one or two that come out as victors it’s still a wild ride worth experiencing.
You should stay in contact with your best competitors. By staying in contact you’re not only bouncing around ideas but feeding off the passion and energy. Sometimes it also leads to exchanging leads and prospects that one may not want to take on (money in your pocket at that point).
My belief is that you should look around and make those connections with the others that are “coming up” at the same time as your business. Some may turn to enemies but many will be there for support, guidance, references, referrals, and a whole lot more.
Action #4: Removing the “Money Ceiling”
When I started my business all I wanted to do was to make enough money to leave my existing job. Eventually I managed to do so but the problem that arose was that I stuck to that mindset well after my departure. Essentially – I built a “money ceiling” for myself because I was stuck in the “employee mindset”.
What really made a difference was when I started rejecting offers from clients because they didn’t match my needs or wants. I began cutting out the low-ballers and troublesome types. I raised my rates, I was able to work with bigger clients, and really make it so I was becoming an authority in the industry.
My belief is that we get stuck in this mindset of making “enough” because we’ve been conditioned. When you can break that mold you’ll naturally fall into a routine where you’ll work harder, create bigger goals, and chase massive opportunities that pay off.
What actions have you taken to drastically improve and scale your business?