If you are a business owner and your business growth is stagnating, consider a few tips. Try to be as honest as you can with yourself when you answer these questions. Remember, if you do the same things you’ve been doing, and expect different results, that’s probably not likely to happen.

1) Are you spending time and money on branding or marketing?

What’s the difference you may ask? Branding is essentially trying to familiarize people with your business and shape their perception of your business. In other words, branding is any effort to try and make your company recognizable to your audience, while also being intentional about controlling the way people perceive your company as a whole.

Marketing is simply sending a message. Effective marketing is sending the message to the right audience, at the right time, in a cost-effective way.

Branding and marketing are both important. However, often times business owners of small to mid size companies think branding is more important than marketing, and that really isn’t the case. In fact, marketing should be a higher priority.

If you are a small to mid-size company, we recommend focusing 80% or more of your marketing efforts with activities that directly affect the bottom line, and 20% on branding.

One idea is to define your business goals. Where do you want to be at this point next year with the growth of your business? At Summit, every year during our business planning process we list out 3 goals. Stretch, target, and budget. Stretch goals are the goals that we dream about and strive for. Target is achievable but still requires a lot of hard work and motivation. Budget is what we have to meet to keep the lights on.

Once you list out your goals, it allows you to reverse-engineer the process and list out ways to reach them.

2) What was the reason you grew to where you are now, and why have you stopped engaging in those activities?

Sometimes our company grows to a point where we think we are somehow above the things we did to get to that point. Did you go door to door? Did you have a social media strategy? Did you invest a lot in your website but haven’t touched it since?

If you no longer have time to door knock, but door knocking was what allowed for rapid growth, could it be time to hire someone to do the door knocking for you?

3) When was the last time you showed your current customers why they should refer you?

It might be easy to get defensive at this one. Really think about it. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Have you wowed them recently? Have you created a memorable experience? Have you given them reason to talk about you with their friends? 

Wowing your customer doesn’t mean providing great service. Hate to say it, but it’s 2020, everyone expects great service. It doesn’t mean having integrity, valuing honesty, or commitment. All those things are expected of a business. Does your website have these words?

Wowing a customer means EXCEEDING expectations. What can you do to go above and beyond for a costumer, even if it costs you time or money? While calculating that cost, consider the return of potential referrals which means more growth for your business.

As you begin a new decade, we wish you many blessings and success in your business. Consider these tips and please feel free to reach out if you need further assistance!