You don’t have to be necessarily a champion marketer to grow business online, in fact, you can do it while belonging to virtually any profession in the world because the primary method to grow a business online is the same as in the real world, the only difference is that online business is less expensive, quick profiting & incredibly easy because of the ease of technology and to be able to do it all as simple as it sounds, you have to embrace the fact that virtual world is also a real-world because it is real humans who use the technology and therefore it is all about how you interact with the people you can reach & meet virtually.
Now, it may sound simple, but let me tell you it is not easy, growth is never easy, you have to do things that you have never done, you’d never want to do & you fear doing; however when you change your perspective to a different side you see that online business is also all about making & leveraging connections just like in real life business with a few differences & added tools to make your life a lot easier & the best part is that those tools already exist in your life & you only have to make a switch from a consumer to business mindset to get things started.
With that clarity, let’s go through a simple SEG (Start, Establish, Grow) framework to start & grow a business online.
The single most important requisite to Start a business is your service/product delivery system, which should be all set to start serving customers, making sure the delivery is right on time.
Once you are ready to serve, it’s time to get the Word Out. The difference between the online & offline world is so fascinating; in real-life, you buy or rent a property with a significant upfront investment & you sit behind the counter in hope that customer would walk into your shop, whereas in the online world, you can reach out to the people yourself in numerous ways without any upfront investment, at least not like the offline world, which gives you a great chance to start earning before investing.
With the ability to reach out to people, you will start marketing your business on your profiles, you will announce to your family, friends & acquaintances about your business, services/products & its value. This will not end as a one-day activity, instead, it will become your daily ritual to share updates about your business on every social platform that you are using & you have people connected. You will also create a list of people connected with you who are most likely to become your customers & you will directly contact them, tell them about your business & offer them an exclusive first-time discount that they could use whenever they want in the next 1 year. You will start connecting with more similar people through different ways, for example, Facebook groups, Instagram Hashtags & LinkedIn Search, and you will apply the same direct messaging method with them but after being connected for 10-15 days.
Your Facebook group can potentially make you thousands of dollars without any currency investment, but it does require the investment of your time, efforts & brain. Now, having such a group starts from being active in other similar groups; let’s say you are a Florist & your customers could be Flowers Enthusiasts, as well as Event Organizers, now you will search down Facebook Groups where these two sets of people are found, make sure you are being specific about the groups according to your locality because if your business is operating in Norway, there’s no point to meet people in Brazil. Once you have joined a handful of groups, now your job is to provide value in them, in two forms; Content & Conversations, without acting like a salesman, period. So as a Florist, instead of telling people that you can design flowers for them, show them your creations or teach them how to do it or talk about the latest trends, etc, that is the type of content you will be posting & you can be as creative as you want to be with that & on the other hand, you will help people by commenting on their posts as much as you can with completely honest empathy. This whole exercise will enable you to rise as an authority in your niche & people will trust you, you will keep adding people to your profile, you will invite people to your Facebook group & you will connect with them to pitch your services after nurturing a trustworthy relation. In the long run, this will result in an active audience in your group & you will keep growing it by posting more & more valuable content, this way people who are ready to make a purchase will come directly to you instead of you going to them.
Your circles & the circles of your loved ones have a great potential to turn into a really quick business because when you are told to trust a business by a trustworthy person, chances of conversion incredibly increase. So, without being annoying, request your loved ones to be your brand ambassadors for some time, you can also tempt them with a Referral program, all they have to do is recommend your business through their social profiles & communication platforms, direct to potential customers & in conversation groups.
All of this has to happen at fierce speed, you cannot sit back & hope for business, you will find your business yourself, it will not be easy at all, but it is very simple indeed, your job is to be social as much as you can & provide value to the people, without losing trust in the process & speed in your actions. Embrace the fact that you are not trained to do everything perfectly & jump-start in the most imperfect way, your mobile phone & laptop with an internet connection is good enough to do all the things mentioned above.
Getting started with the business is easier than consistently managing it, when you are getting started, you have strong enough motivation to earn but once you have some business coming in & customers returning to purchase, most of the people start forgetting the process & get attracted to fancy stuff, therefore it is crucial to be mindful of your choices in the time when your business is just getting started really.
Stack Cash & Assets
If you don’t have assets but you have cash, you are good but if you don’t have both you are broke. In the early stages of your business try to be as hard as you could on yourself when it comes to taking share from the profit, compromise on a nominal amount that could fulfil your needs & keep stacking cash, it will make it easy for you to make decisions in your business that involve financials & also help you in buying assets as you need in the long term.
The more famous you become, the more business you attract & thanks to Social Media that has broken the status quo, thus you no longer need PR, Money & Luck to be famous. Leverage the opportunity & become a celebrity in your niche, create valuable content, share valuable tips & spread positivity among the people through all the tools at your disposal. This way your Personal Brand will grow alongside your business & it will open new doors of opportunities for you that you can not even imagine.
Utilize Customer Base
Your existing customers can give you more business as well as more customers, don’t let a customer sleep after their first purchase & hope they will come back to buy again, instead stay connected with them through different means & make their mind for the second purchase, moreover, request them to Rate & Review your business, the more social proof you have the more people will trust you. Think of a lucrative Referral program & pitch your loyal customers who have purchased at least twice to Refer their friends, this will bring you more customers without any additional cost.
Growth is fairly less overwhelming than starting & establishing because you are neither worried about bread & butter nor are you afraid of taking risks because you have cash in hand, however it is not easy, as growth is never easy. Therefore, you will have to be on top of your intellect, wisdom & leadership, remember your job is to enable people working for you & you are responsible for their performance.
Even the elite athletes in every sport require a coach, why? Because a Coach fixes problems that they don’t even know exist & fixing those problems help them in getting better & better. You will also have to consider yourself an athlete & hire a coach to help you grow personally & professionally, always hire one coach at a time to fix the most urgent problem. Remember, your business relies only on you, every success & failure is attributed to your personality & if you are not ahead of the curve, your business will not be either.
People play a big part in your company’s success, it is people who represent your company & create culture, therefore you will have to be extremely wise in hiring people, you will start filling the areas that you are not expert in or you find hard to take care. Make sure you are hiring people who are most likely to stick for a longer period, are passionate about growing themselves & most importantly are empathetic with others, remember; you can always train someone to perform a job but it is hard to fix a bad attitude. This way you’d be able to build a team of emotionally intelligent & professionally dedicated people who’d help you in achieving next-level success.
Digital advertising is ridiculously cheap & enables you to laser-target potential customers unlike any other non-digital medium of advertising. Imagine, if you make $2 on every $1 spent on advertising, there’s no chance you will run out of business, but it has to be done correctly. Digital advertising has three basic stages for a user to turn into a customer; Awareness, Consideration & Conversion, each stage has its requirements & it is the business’ responsibility to increase the positive psyche of a user that leads them to the next stage. Now you probably need to hire experts who would be able to do it, so don’t hesitate & invest money in advertising with full faith, remember advertising enables you to bring millions of people to your shop & there’s no chance that some of them will not become your customers.
Concludingly, I want to emphasize again that this is not The Only magic method to grow a business, but after spending 7+ learning & implementing “secrets” of growing a business online, I can assure you that process will work, but only with consistent actions.
Let me know your feedback on this piece & tell me what more you want to learn about & if you have any questions regarding this article or need any help