On a journey of reading, wondering, and seeking wisdom to grow your business?

Dealing with theories that immediately lose the point once in use?

Hold tight, partner!

We’ve also been on that rollercoaster, trying to boost our business with new strategies learned, but all we get is getting back to the same place.

Of course, it’s a natural instinct to highlight things like your store’s location or limited resources as a downside of your business, but seriously:

How do you crack the code of growth? What is the real growth path that small businesses can afford?

There must be a path that’s not theoretical but is real and experienced.

Here we go ….Beyond theory, executable strategies that small businesses can afford.

#1 – Foundation for Growth: Building the Right Mindset

In the journey of small business growth, one of the most powerful assets is the right mindset.

Just as a strong foundation is essential for building a business, a growth-oriented mindset forms the foundation of your business growth.

This mindset is more than positive thinking.

It’s about how entrepreneurs perceive challenges, opportunities, and success.

A fixed mindset can hold you back from progress, locking you into a static view of your business opportunities.

On the other hand, a growth-oriented mindset can unlock potential you didn’t even know about it.

Characteristics of a Growth-Oriented Mindset for Small Business Owners

  • Embrace Change
  • See Failures as Learning
  • Seek Continuous Improvement
  • Cultivate Resilience
  • Welcome Feedback

As you cultivate this mindset, you’ll find that your business’s growth isn’t just a flow of actions but a journey with determination and new approaches.

#2 – Unleashing Potential at Expos and Trade Shows

Despite the digital age, face-to-face interactions are valuable for long-term connection.

Attend industry events, conferences, and local meetups to connect with potential customers, partners, and collaborators.

Participating in local events offers a unique opportunity to increase brand awareness and show your products or services directly to your target audience.

To make it clear and not sound complicated, networking will be the core of your small business development.

  • While networking, engage people with interactive stories/demos,
  • Give them small gifts/discounts
  • Highlight the uniqueness of your business to be memorable
  • Build relationships with other businesses that can refer customers to you
  • Collect emails for follow-up

The Power of Follow-Up

Participating in local meetups/events is just the beginning.

Once you manage to be memorable, the real work begins after it.

  • After the event, follow up with the contacts you’ve made without pushing them to buy anything; send a nice email about how great it was to be connected.
  • Then, send them a personalized email by highlighting your products/services that solve their problem X based on your last conversation to reengage them.
  • Offer testers/gifts to let them know you and your products/services
  • Connect on social media platforms and offer something of value to maintain the connection and keep your business fresh in their minds.
  • Don’t always sell; show the benefits of your products/services, and try to solve their problems.
  • Be consistent and constantly remind them about you.

# 3 – Email Marketing

Hundreds of people are opening your email. Reading it. Clicking on the call to action you’ve lovingly placed inside.

That’s the power of email marketing.

Email marketing is an essential tool that allows small businesses to establish a direct connection with their audience, develop relationships, drive sales, and gather valuable insights.

  • First things first, make sure you have a form to collect emails no matter you have a website or not.
  • For e-commerce sales, keep your email collection form lovingly placed on your website or your physical location.
  • For convenience, make it a QR code so people can easily scan and submit your image.

Click here for detailed instructions on creating a form with Mailberry for FREE and making it a QR code.

How to collect emails?

  • Networking Events: Collect email addresses when you attend industry events, conferences, or local meetups. Just direct people to your sign-up form so they can leave their info.
  • Website Sign-Up Forms: Place sign-up forms on your website’s homepage, blog posts, and landing pages. Show the benefits of subscribing (receiving exclusive content, discounts, or updates).

Save money and resources while building forms.

Use Mailberry’s forever FREE account to build forms

  • Newsletter Subscription: Plan on sharing some news from your company, some product updates, or what you are working on, what’s coming next, and how some of your audience’s problems can be solved through your products or services. Then ask people to be part of it by subscribing. Make sure to convey the kind of content subscribers can expect to receive.
  • E-commerce Checkout: During the checkout process, give customers the option to subscribe for a discount, updates, special offers, etc.
  • Social Media: Use social media platforms to promote your email sign-up. Direct followers to your signup form to subscribe to your emails.
  • Contests and Giveaways: Host Social Media contests/giveaways where participants must provide their email addresses to enter. Ensure that the prize is related to your business to attract targeted customers.
  • Loyalty Programs: Customers can join a loyalty program that receives exclusive benefits and updates via email if they become a part of your community.
  • In-Store Sign-Ups: If you have a physical store, place a QR-coded sign-up form at the checkout counter to collect email addresses. Offer some discounts or small gifts to promote signups.

Build an email list and send regular newsletters, promotions, and updates to keep customers engaged.

Remember that transparency and respect for privacy are crucial.

Always inform subscribers about the type of content they’ll receive.

Wondering what kind of messages to send?

Read this article about the “5 emails every business should send”.

And if you’re trying to take your email marketing to the next level, follow our experts’ advice in the “5 key factors for email marketing success”.

….or just let Mailberry craft and send compelling emails for you FREE forever in seconds.

#4 – Social Media

Nowadays, social media isn’t just a trend – it’s a go-getter for small business growth.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn serve as a direct channel to your audience’s feed, where they spend a couple of hours daily.

Let’s talk about your game plan for social media

No need to be everywhere at once.

Instead, focus on where your audience hangs out.

First things first, understand your audience. Then, compare it with the demographics of each platform.

  • For the young and lively, think TikTok. A teenage audience finds their spot there.
  • Go with Instagram if your target is the trendy 20-35 group.
  • For a more mature, professional crowd, consider LinkedIn or Twitter.

Remember, picking the right platform ensures your message hits the right audience. It’s all about talking to people who are ready to listen and engage.

Here’s how to harness the potential of Social Media:

  • Engage and Interact: Social media isn’t just about posting. Engage with your audience by responding to comments, messages, and posts. Create meaningful conversations to build a community around your brand.
  • Content Sharing: Share a mix of content, from product updates and behind-the-scenes pics to industry news and customer stories. Diversify your content to keep your audience engaged and create a desire to be followed.
  • Run Targeted Ads: Social media platforms allow you to run highly targeted ads based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  • Visual Storytelling: Leverage the power of visual storytelling. Use eye-catching images, videos, and infographics to capture attention and convey your brand’s story.

Don’t be afraid of making all the mentioned content because of limited resources or lack of expertise.

There are FREE tools out there that help you get designer-looking images/videos by just downloading your pics from your phone.

Go ahead and read Essentials for Small Businesses, which offers FREE tools and guides you on utilizing these tools’ power while growing your business.

# 5 – Storytelling

Don’t just add to the noise – be the life of the storytelling party!

Standing out requires offering something new and not just selling all the time.

Create a story behind your products and stories that will help you sell and make your customers feel they belong, that they have experienced the same problem, etc.

  • It’s about creating content that educates, entertains, and resonates with your audience.
  • For example, if you own a boutique cosmetic store, talk about people’s wrinkle/acne problems and how their life has changed after using your products. This is more powerful because people with that issue will feel the pain and would love to be part of the community, hoping to solve their problem.
  • Educate them about the products, show what’s happening in the industry, include experts’ advice, and let them decide. Push to try your product with testers, let them try first, and then buy.
  • Share customer success stories and business journeys that highlight your values.
  • Consistency: Consistency is key. Make sure you don’t just email every once a month. Be consistent with emails and keep it simple.

Don’t have time to craft emails?

Let Mailberry do the crafting based on your ideas, and you keep growing your business and nurturing it with new ideas.

Finally, remember that stories create an emotional connection with your audience. So always be honest with your offers and messages.

#6 – Word of Mouth and Referrals

When your products shine and your service sparkles, customers can’t help but spread the word.

Satisfy them fully, and they’ll become your advocates.

Always ask for feedback and make them feel valued.

Then, set up referral programs that thank them for being your megaphone.

Here’s how to encourage the buzz:

  • Exceptional Experiences: Customers naturally share their excitement with friends and family when they get something they weren’t expecting. Always surprise them. Even small things, like tester gifts, can change the game.
  • Satisfied Advocates: Identify your most loyal customers and offer something exclusive only to them. Do it constantly so they will see the need to be a loyal customer.
  • Referrals: Introduce referral programs. Offer discounts, freebies, or exclusive perks to customers who bring in new clients. It’s a win-win for both your customers and your business.

#7 – Loyalty Programs

Building a community of loyal customers can be a game-changer for small businesses. Consider the following:

  • Exclusive Offers: Treat your loyal customers like VIPs. Offer them exclusive discounts, early access to sales, or special offers that make them feel appreciated.
  • Reward Points: Implement a reward points system where customers earn points for every purchase. These points can be redeemed for discounts or free products, encouraging repeat business.
  • Personalized Engagement: Show appreciation by sending personalized thank-you emails or surprise gifts on special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries.

#8 – Engaging Local Partnerships for Amplified Growth

Look for businesses that complement rather than compete with your products/services.

Consider how your offerings align, creating a synergy that benefits both parties.

Highlight the benefits you both will get from the cooperation (increasing foot traffic, boosting sales, raising brand awareness, etc.).

Here are some collaboration ideas to spark your imagination:

  • Cross-Promotions: Come up with a deal including both party’s products/services. For instance, a fitness club and a healthy cafe can offer a package with workout classes and healthy lunches at both locations.
  • Workshops and Classes: Collaborate on workshops or classes that align with both businesses. A yoga studio and an aromatherapy shop could co-host a relaxation workshop, combining their expertise.
  • Shared Loyalty Programs: Create a joint loyalty program where customers earn points for shopping at either business.
  • Themed Events: Organize themed events that bring together multiple local businesses. A “Shop Local Fair” could feature various vendors, food trucks, and live entertainment.
  • Menu Collaborations: Restaurants or cafes could collaborate on limited-time menu items that feature each other’s ingredients.
  • Joint Giveaways: Organize giveaways on social media where participants must follow businesses and tag friends. This expands your reach to a broader audience.
  • In-Store Events: Co-host in-store events like wine tastings, product demos, or live music nights. This creates an inviting atmosphere that encourages customers to hang out and buy.

Final Thoughts

The life of a small business often feels like a rollercoaster ride.

We all try to get somewhere by following some theories and strategies but, most often, get back to where we started.

Theories and concepts might sound promising, but when it comes to practical strategies, real-world experience takes the lead.

Growth is not just a theoretical concept. It’s a journey with achievable goals that must be affordable for small businesses.

It starts with establishing the right mindset as the foundation for growth and extends into networking, local meetups, and expos to spread the word in the market and settle new collaborations.

After reaching new audiences, a customer-centric approach is what we need to master. Treating customers well and caring about them is crucial.

So far, after treating your customers well at a physical location, email marketing is one of the best ways to reach your audience and unleash the power of storytelling to promote your product/services.

Lastly, in the spirit of community, engaging local partnerships and social media are essential for small business growth.