Ideas to help businesses grow in the new year

Columnist Dean Swanson says other small business owners share strategies that you can use, too.

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One of the most common New Year goals for small business CEOs is to grow their business. But, when it comes to settling on realistic strategies to make that happen, CEOs need some fresh ideas.

We have found that one can learn a lot from other businesses.

Here are some suggestions.

Invest in quality SEO content

Organic search is a channel that produces a reliable and sustainable flow of trusted leads at a low cost. The trick to getting organic search to work is investing the resources to create content, build back links, and address any technical issues presiding on the website. If a business is looking to grow in the year ahead, organic search is certainly a long-term strategy to build a marketing funnel. Keep in mind that when hiring an SEO expert, a campaign may take between four to 12 months to see results. However, once the campaign produces results, a business should enjoy a steady stream of new clients and revenue.  — Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

Utilize existing customers

If you’ve got a long list of satisfied clients, try to utilize them for referrals. A satisfied client is a grateful client, and they’ll likely be happy to recommend you to others. As an interior design firm, there is already a lot of demand for our services. However, that doesn’t stop us from making the most of our relationships with our clientele, so we get a fair number of referrals.  — Alisha Taylor, Alisha Taylor Interiors


Make use of social media

It might sound cliché, but social media is the future of business growth. Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, and social media platforms are among the most-used apps on those phones. If you set up your social media business page, advertise products, enable any shop or product promotion options, and regularly interact with your followers, you’ll set yourself up to see significant results in the new year.  — Vicky Franko, Insura

Capitalize on e-commerce

If you haven’t been getting the most out of the e-commerce boom, now is the time to capitalize on it. There’s a market for practically everything online, from services like insurance to products. However, if you don’t have an online presence that can capture customers’ awareness or interest, they’re going to find it elsewhere. Make sure you have an up-to-date website and social media. These are the key ingredients to growing your business in the new year. — Brian Greenberg, Insurist

Fill an untapped niche

Look for niches in need of being filled. You might think you have all of your bases covered, but untapped opportunities are waiting for you. Once upon a time, offering loan services specific to small businesses was an underutilized market, but we’ve gone on to help others, and ourselves, thrive. — Allan Switalski, LendThrive

Stay up to date

One way to grow your business is by making sure that you are staying on top of trends. For example, if you’re in the health care industry and there's something big happening with health care reform then make sure this information reaches all employees to adapt accordingly when necessary. The goal should be about keeping up-to-date.Saskia Ketz, Mojomox

Attract new customers

If you think your customer base is limited to only one demographic, throw that notion away. Boho-Magic’s mission is to inspire women to love unconditionally and express their authentic selves, but we also sell jewelry for men. If you’re looking to grow, see if there are any untapped markets for your products, and do what you can to grab any opportunities.— Nataly Vanunu, Boho-Magic

Invest in your sales team

Investing in your sales team by giving them the best technology and tools that they need to do their job is essential for growing your business. There are many sales automation tools on the market. These tools will help save your sales reps time and money when prospecting for new business and help you bring more quality leads to your business — which ultimately leads to more revenue.  — John Wu, Gryphon Connect

Conduct fresh market research

Take a second hard look at your business environment by studying the competition and investing in a fresh round of market research.


A market research survey is essential to focus on core strategies once more, a move that will enable a business to take a fresh look at their competitors and their customers.

The findings will help realign current strategies, thereby posing a new threat to existing competition and gaining valuable insights into how the market has evolved. — Jerry Ford, 4WD Life

Dean Swanson is a volunteer Certified SCORE Mentor and former SCORE chapter chairman, district director and regional vice president for the North West Region.

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