How to grow your startup business

Starting a new business is an ambitious endeavor that positions you to reap the rewards of being your own boss while selling products or services that you love. But, getting the business off the ground can mean long hours and few days off. Smart entrepreneurs know it’s important to gain momentum and scale up quickly, so they aren’t doing it all themselves. Use these simple tips for how to grow your startup and reach your goals faster.

Get focused
When new organizations develop their marketing campaigns, it can be tempting to try to reach as many people as possible at once. Given the limited resources of the average startup entrepreneur, however, this strategy can backfire and result in ineffective and inefficient messaging. Instead, start small by marketing to those who will most likely see the value in your product or service. As you successfully engage them and draw in sales, expand the types of target customers for your business.

This should be one of the top things for anyone starting out to do. Build an online network with key influencers within your industry. It can be a really powerful thing to have people share your brand, especially because they want to. If you don’t have a big network, get out there and “meet” people. Be socially active with influential people. Follow their blogs and on social networks and comment on their posts. Share their posts with your friends. Engage with them and make them notice you. But don’t be a pest about it. Show them you care about them and their work, and that they should care about you, too. And remember to include a link to your site in your signature. There are tools online that can help you find influential networks and bloggers in your industry based on your product’s keywords.

Start small
Don’t try to market to everyone at once. Start off targeting a small niche of consumers first. After a while, if that goes well, then you can consider expanding your range and start marketing to more people. But sometimes more isn’t always better, and focusing on just a small niche might work out best for you.

Always remember that content is king. Wherever you post content — website, blogs, social media — make sure its viable. Publish your content regularly. It can be anything, but at least some of it should be related to your industry niche, and your content should also be relevant to your potential customers. Post things they’ll be inclined to share with family and friends. Also make sure your posts contain keywords that SEO will pick up so your site ranks higher in searches. Remember, too, that your potential customers like more than just text content. Images and videos really catch their attention and help them feel like they’re engaging with you. Publishing a “how to” guide is a great way to start off. People like guides to help them with things. Making it downloadable is even better. You can also add an “opt in” form to have them submit their email in order to download it. This way you’ll be able to gain their e-mail address.

Build an email/subscriber list if you don’t have one yet. This is as easy as placing an opt-in form on your website or landing page. Offer some sort on incentive for them to sign up for your newsletter or email automation workflow. Having contests is a great way to gather e-mail addresses. Once you have them, you can keep in touch with them, offer them periodic specials, etc, to keep them engaged with you.

Social media
Social media is practically everything in today’s world. But that doesn’t mean every social networking site is for everyone. For example, Instagram may work well for someone in, say, the fashion industry, but it may not work as well for a technology company. That being said, start off by using social media to amplify your content. Find the networks that will work best for you. Start with just one or two at first, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Post relevant content and content that people will want to share. Respond to comments and messages in a timely manner. Be active and engage with your followers. Like, share, and comment on their posts. Some of the more popular social sites are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr and Quora. Try a few and see which ones work best for you.

Growing a small business can be a stressful endeavor as you try to balance personal life and the work required to grow a new organization. With these steps, you can begin to scale your business and achieve the goals you laid out when you began.

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