Your Customers Are the Key to Expanding Your Business
As a business owner, you know only too well that without your customers, your business would grind to a halt. Your customers are your business’s lifeblood.
You also know that the key to improving your bottom line is expanding your business.
Depending on the nature of your business, expansion could mean opening new stores in multiple locations or adding new products or services to your current offerings. However, regardless of your expansion strategy, one thing remains constant: Your customers make expansion possible.
Customers Are a Source of Revenue
Your business needs money not only to stay operational, but also to spread its wings.
There are multiple sources of business revenue. You can secure a business loan from a traditional bank, get a business cash advance from a specialist lender, run an online crowdfunding campaign, borrow from friends and family, or even make a deal with an equity investor.
While these are all ideal capital sources, none beats your customer as a source of revenue.
Except for your customers, all those other sources have a downside. When you take a loan, for instance, you’ll need to repay it with interest. If you go the equity route, you’ll need to dish out a share of the business, diluting your ownership stake.
But when it comes to customers, you get money when they buy your products or services. The more they buy, the higher your sales revenue, and the greater your profits. You can then use those profits to fuel your business expansion efforts. When you use profits to expand a business, there are no interest rates or share dividends to worry about.
Customers Can Be Your Brand Ambassadors
What if we told you that there is a way to market without spending a dime?
Don’t believe it? Listen up. Your existing customers can help you to market your business to the people in their social circles.
Did you know customers are 4 times more likely to shop from a certain brand when they have been referred by a friend? Clearly, word-of-mouth is still king when it comes to marketing. Therefore, you have to do all you can to leverage its power.
You already know that there are several other marketing options at your disposal. Digital marketing platforms such as Facebook and Google have proven effective, to begin with. Plus, good old television and print advertising still yield good results. But each of these options cost money, especially TV and print.
To turn a customer into a brand ambassador, you need to offer great products or services. Then, use loyalty programs to hook them in and get them excited. In time, they will naturally tell their friends about your business. As a result, you’ll get more customers. And more customers mean more sales!
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Customers Are a Source of Information
A botched business expansion strategy can have disastrous effects. For one thing, you could lose a lot of money. For another, it could harm your brand’s reputation. It’s never a good sign when a store opens in a new location only to close down a short time later.
To plan and execute a perfect business expansion strategy, you must do your research and gather the right information.
For instance, if you’re planning to introduce a new product, it’s essential to forecast how your target market will receive that product.
One of the best ways to understand how customers will respond to a new product is to conduct a customer survey. This might involve giving product samples to some of your existing customers. Ask them to try the new product out and provide feedback.
Depending on the feedback you receive, you can gauge whether to launch the product as is or make improvements before launching.
The gist of it all is that customers are a valuable source of data. They understand your brand better than anybody else, so they’re well placed to offer information that can help you execute a successful expansion.
Need to Crowdfund? Your Customers Have Got Your Back
In 2017, businesses in the UK raised more than 60 million pounds through crowdfunding. This shows that crowdfunding is quickly becoming a go-to source of capital for many business owners.
However, the untold story is that for every business that holds a successful crowdfunding campaign, there are many others that fail at it.
So, what contributes to the success of a crowdfunding campaign?
There are many factors, but you generally need to craft a moving story about your product or business. Then, you need to widely share the campaign on social media. Importantly, you need people to believe in what you’re selling them.
When you already have existing customers who love your brand, you’ll have a head start with your campaign. Many of these customers know your potential. They therefore won’t hesitate to contribute to your campaign, especially if you’re raising money to develop an even better product.
Customers Can Fuel Business Expansion
As we have illustrated, customers have the potential to drive your business expansion efforts. However, as a business owner, you need to know how to tap into this potential.
Do so by offering excellent customers service, ensuring that your existing products provide value, and always going the extra mile to put a smile on a customer’s face. Remember, one loyal customer is far more valuable than two new customers. The happier your existing customers are, the more they will buy your products and spread the word about your business.