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8 Business Growth Strategies for 2021

8 Business Growth Strategies for 2021; Business growth is the biggest challenge for any small business. Here are 8 strategies for growing your business that will help you succeed in 2021.
Kevin Brouillard

Kevin Brouillard

Updated June 22, 2021
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Growth is fundamental to stay relevant and competitive in business. But planning for the future and putting business growth strategies into action can be challenging.Following the uncertainty of 2020, bouncing back and expansion are top priorities for many businesses. To stay ahead of the pack, consider these 8 strategies to set yourself up for business growth in 2021. 

1. Reduce Risks

Whether you’re growing your company or enduring an economic downturn, risk management is an important consideration when running a small business. About 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, and almost half don’t survive beyond five years. Growing too fast is one risk that could possibly sink a new or expanding venture. Diversifying your business’s revenue streams through new products or services and increasing your client base may be a couple of ways to possibly become more resilient to risk.But minimizing your risk even when taking those steps can also be a good idea. Before investing in a new product launch, for example, conducting a break-even analysis can identify how many units must be sold to cover production costs. Researching the market for your products or services can be helpful in that it lets you  identify demand and growth potential before you invest money. Addressing an unmet need or niche can be less risky than entering a saturated market with more established competitors.Buying insurance coverage is another option to proactively protect your business. Depending on the type of business and assets, this could include general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, or product liability insurance. While this does increase a business’s fixed monthly costs, it could avoid a costly scenario or litigation. 

2. Focus on Customer Experience

Customers and clients are critical to the success of any business. Enhancing their experience can help you gain repeat customers and recruit new consumers to spur business. Whereas customer service is limited to direct interactions, customer experience encompasses everything a business offers, including the product or service you’re providing, shipping, packaging, advertising, and ease of use. Learning how customers feel about certain aspects of your business can be easier if you plan ahead. For instance, collecting customer information at checkout, such as a phone number and email address, could help your business maintain ongoing engagement with sales offers and capture feedback with a follow-up survey. Once communication is established, businesses can enhance customer experience by providing useful tips for using their products and promotional offerings. Personalizing advertising campaigns and streamlining the purchase process could also enhance customer satisfaction. In fact, 43% of 15,000 consumers surveyed in 12 different countries are willing to pay more for greater convenience. You can integrate customer convenience and satisfaction into your relationship with customers beyond the transaction stage. Customer-oriented policies for returns, refunds, and cancellations could turn a potentially negative experience into an opportunity to build trust and loyalty. 

3. Establish a Digital Presence

You can use the internet to offer your customers opportunities to find your business and buy your services or products. E-commerce sales accounted for 13.6% of total retail sales in the first quarter of 2021, representing a 39.1% increase from first quarter 2020. Approximately 36% of U.S. small businesses lack a website, meaning that they’re missing out on roughly one-sixth of the market.Social media is a free and easy method for providing information on your business and engaging with customers. You can use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to target marketing campaigns by geographic location, age, or other demographics. If your business has a website or blog, search engine optimization (SEO) is another way you could enhance your business’s digital presence. SEO tactics can help your site or posts rank higher on search engines like Google or Bing. Including meta descriptions, header tags, and keywords are some leading SEO strategies. Alternatively, joining popular sites like Yelp or Tripadvisor could increase your business’s SEO. 

4. Expand Locations

Your business could add a new workspace or storefront to reach untapped markets or simply if it has outgrown its current location. Before taking the leap to rent or buy real estate, there are some important considerations to think through. Where your business is located has impacts on registration fees, taxes, and growth potential. For instance, an alternative or new location could have a better talent pool, lower cost of doing business, or a larger customer base for your business. Looking at factors that make your current location successful, such as customer traffic, adjacent attractions, or population demographics can help you identify a suitable site for expansion. Evaluating a potential property for its ability to accommodate current and future needs could help you set your business up for long-term growth. Assessing the competition is another key step when you’re approaching expansion. While rival businesses may pose challenges, they could also provide an opportunity to grow through acquisition. Although this may require a greater investment, buying another enterprise with a proven business model and existing brand can let you bypass the time-consuming phase of starting a small business and allow you to generate cash flow and revenue sooner. As the Baby Boomer generation approaches retirement, many will likely be looking to sell their long-running small businesses. This trend represents an opportunity for younger entrepreneurs to take the reins. Business transition planning can take time, so starting the conversation early could be beneficial. 

5. Empower Your Team

When evaluating business growth strategies, it’s important to consider both internal and external resources as opportunities for expansion. The people who work at your business, whether they’re employees or partners, are also integral to your business’s success. Employee turnover can be a hindrance to growing your business. The time and effort spent re-hiring and onboarding new workers can come at a cost to productivity and profit. Finding ways to engage employees could increase retention and create a positive and healthy workplace culture. Some possibilities you might try include professional development opportunities, encouraging coworker mentorship, or redesigning an office layout to reflect your workers’ wants and needs. A more empowered and fulfilled workforce could translate to improved customer service and job performance outcomes.While employee engagement strategies can vary, providing avenues for both one-on-one communication and anonymous feedback may help build trust and obtain more candid feedback. 

6. Networking

Business networking involves meeting other businesspeople, including entrepreneurs representing competitors, potential partners, and mentors—all of whom might help inform how to grow your business. As a business owner, getting a fresh perspective from peers can provide valuable insight and opportunities to test-run your products and business growth ideas. Networking is also a chance to share knowledge about industry best practices on topics like sales, supply chain, or marketing. If financing is key to growing your business, networking may also be a way to meet potential investors or partners for your venture as well. Considering who you want to meet and what you want to gain can help you decide which groups or events are worth your limited time as a business owner. Following up on any contacts you make with a personalized note and invitation to continue the conversation could help you translate a lead into a relationship. In addition to one-off events, joining a professional association or local chamber of commerce are some options for long-term networking and relationship building. 

7. Redevelop Your Business Plan

There are plenty of growth options available to small businesses. But coordinating efforts to sustain changes long-term can be challenging. A small business plan can help you organize strategies within your business structure and provide a roadmap for how to grow your business. One thing the year 2020 did was to make clear the importance of planning for the unexpected. A strong business plan can prepare your small business for different scenarios and obstacles you may encounter in the pursuit of your goals. 

8. Be Adaptable

A business plan can serve as a guide for business growth, but it can’t account for every contingency and situation. As technology, regulation, and competition in the market evolve, your business may need to adapt its organizational structure to stay afloat and on track for its growth goals. Unforeseen opportunities for growing your business may arise along the way, and being flexible to act on them quickly could be a difference maker. 

The Takeaway

There’s no universal approach to finding success and business growth. Good strategies for growing a small business will likely differ from those that work for a mid-size company. It’s important to determine which strategies align with your resources, target audience, type of business, and goals. As your business evolves, what worked to get it off the ground may not work as well for your next stage of growth. Referring back to your business plan can help you track progress and make changes as needed. If financing is part of your growth plan, Lantern can help you compare small business options. Fill out one simple form to receive a range of offers from our lending partner network.
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.SOLC21038

About the Author

Kevin Brouillard

Kevin Brouillard

Kevin Brouillard is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, educator, and personal finance writer. His work has appeared in online publications such as Earth Island Journal, Jetsetter, Oyster.com, and Tripsavvy. Kevin covers an array of financial topics for SoFi, including loans for students and small businesses.
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