So. You’ve taken the first steps on your entrepreneurial journey. You’ve written up a business plan and done your research. The business is fully launched, complete with a brand, designated social media accounts, and your first customers. You’ve done it: you’re a young entrepreneur!
The next step for most entrepreneurial journeys is growing your business. According to Alta Metrics:
“Defining business growth is challenging with many professionals disagreeing on an official description. One commonly utilized definition of business growth is as the bottom line profitability and market share presence increase a company experiences.
An alternative definition of business growth is the expansion of a company occurring in one or multiple ways. From a marketing strategy to business model updates there are virtually endless opportunities for a business to grow.
A crucial consideration for whether something occurring in a business can be defined as business growth is if that occurrence can be measured. If something can not be measured, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine that it is growing.”
In other words, there are different ways and reasons to grow your business, whether it’s expanding your product line, inviting new customers, or simply upping your game. We know that young entrepreneurs don’t have as many resources for growing a business as some big companies do. That’s why we’ve collected a few ways to grow your business organically, cheaply, and quickly.
> MAKE YOUR WEBSITE MOBILE-FRIENDLY
If you want customers to be able to reach your website anytime, anywhere, then that website should be optimized for smaller devices such as tablets and phones. This means:
- Make sure any photos and graphics you use won’t take too long to load on a smaller device
- Keep the navigation menu simple and easy to tap
- Use tappable buttons rather than links
For more ways on making your website mobile-friendly, click here.
> CREATE A FREE YELP PROFILE
Creating a free Yelp profile for your business will help customers find you! Take a few high-quality photos and include your business’s social media links, email, and some information about who you are and what you do. As a bonus, not only will this help your business show up in searches, but you’ll get reviews from customers, too!
> CONSIDER PARTNERING WITH A BRAND AMBASSADOR
There’s no substitute for the free advertising you get from word-of-mouth. In business terms, this is called “earned marketing.” And one of the best ways to take advantage of word-of-mouth is through brand ambassadors. Thankfully, you probably have some built-in brand ambassadors in your life already: friends and family! For those who have popular social media accounts – especially those with well-established TikToks or YouTube channels – ask them if they can give you a shout-out. Maybe even offer them a free product or service in exchange for talking you up.
> ENGAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Not only should you post regularly from your business’s social media accounts, but you should engage with your customers. This shows you are a committed young entrepreneur who takes your business seriously. And when you take yourself and your business seriously, others will follow.
Posts from customers who complain shouldn’t be taken too personally. Remember: everyone had bad days. And you don’t know what’s going on at the other end of that post. Acknowledge your customer’s complaint and thank them for bringing it to your attention. Consider letting them know how you will address this concern.
Definitely respond to happy customers, as well! Thank them for their business and let them know how much you appreciate their kind words.
> PARTNER WITH ANOTHER SMALL BUSINESS
This is a wonderful way to grow your business while helping another young entrepreneur grow theirs! If you run a babysitting enterprise, for example, think about partnering with a friend who runs a pet-sitting business. The two of you can:
- Refer one another to existing clients
- Offer 2-for-1 deals
- Give free advertising on each other’s websites
- Tag each other on social media
> STREAMLINE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
We know that young entrepreneurs like you spend a huge amount of time on social media. We also know that one of the best ways to grow your business is to free up as much of your time as possible so you can focus on your product or service and your customers.
A quick, easy, and free way to give yourself more free time is by using a social media manager. This one offers a free plan that covers up to three social media accounts at once. This way you won’t have to copy-paste and repost over and over again.
> JOIN A CLUB
Does your school have a Future Business Leaders of America club (FBLA)? If so, join it! If not, consider starting one. School clubs like this are ways of networking with fellow young entrepreneurs, getting ideas and advice, and making yourself known to the larger entrepreneurial community. They also offer priceless resources and support for young small business owners like you.
> KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
Free tools like Google Analytics give you a snapshot of who is going to your website, how long they’re spending there, which pages are getting the most attention, and where the customers come from.
Why is this important? Knowing your customer base can help you focus your marketing on customer service. You can optimize your website and business for existing customers as well as tweak things that can use improvement to attract new customers. This type of feedback is utilized by major companies all over the world. Why not use it to your benefit?
Growing your business should feel natural – and fun! This should be an exciting time for you as a young entrepreneur, as you take your startup to the next level. Remember that entrepreneurship is a journey, not a destination. Growth is a big part of that journey. Who knows where it will take you? The hard part – starting and launching your business – is over. Now get out there and get known!
Are you a Florida-based young entrepreneur looking for a college scholarship? Click here to learn more about how the Kantner Foundation can help you!