It’s such a common scenario: A small business appears to have plateaued in terms of sales and popularity, which is dangerous no matter how profitable the past few quarters have been. Stagnancy hinders a company’s ability to stay competitive, and last year’s sales don’t seem so successful if the same numbers are coming in much later on. The company needs to invest in growth but doesn’t know what to focus on, or what should be changed in order to boost revenue and brand awareness.
Believe it or not, many dominant businesses were in a similar situation until they found the quickest way out: They spoke to their customers. Almost every article you see about business growth stresses the importance of customer feedback. This is how smart companies decide which direction to take or which changes should be prioritized.
“GOOD” ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH
Stagnancy is usually the result of a certain element of the business just meeting the bare minimum. Nothing is necessarily being done incorrectly, but a business cannot evolve unless nearly everything is done very well, as opposed to simply “okay.” Increasing communication with customers will eventually show you which element is dragging you down. In addition to making a conscious effort to speak to them face-to-face, an effective way to learn more about your customers is to utilize various digital marketing tactics, most of which are completely free.
You could, for example, send email blasts that ask customers to fill out a brief survey in exchange for a discount, freebie, or membership to a loyalty program. Another widely-used strategy is to combing social media groups that are related to your industry. Your target audience is a community, and social networks like Facebook contain plenty of pages dedicated to every community imaginable. It’s here where you’ll find what your audience likes and dislikes about your industry, which competitors are most popular, etc. You can accomplish this on a smaller scale by asking your Facebook followers opinions on certain elements of your business or examining their profiles for information that might explain their interest in your business.
YOUR CUSTOMERS MIGHT SAY…
No matter what your customers tell you, rest assured United Capital Source can help you make the changes they have in mind, even if you don’t meet the qualifications for a traditional bank loan. You might find out that your car dealership is the only one in the area without an entertainment center for children or a refreshment area with coffee and flat screen TVs. Your website might not be as easy to navigate as your competitors’, or you might be taking too long to respond to customer inquiries. United Capital Source can finance more significant changes as well, such as the need for more manpower or the tools to develop new products.
Our unsecured business loans can be approved and distributed in a matter days, and our terms can be designed based on several factors, such as your stage within your financial cycle or how long it will take for your investment to increase sales volume. Short-term investments might require a working capital loan, business line of credit or accounts receivable loan, whereas long-term investments usually call for an SBA Loan. Accounts receivable loans and merchant cash advance loans could be perfect for companies that are cash-poor due to outstanding debts or increases in costs from their business partners. Other business funding programs like working capital loans are geared more towards simultaneous increases in business expenses like new hires or broken equipment.
REVENUE NEUTRAL CHURN
Another possible outcome of communicating with your customers is discovering that it is much easier than you thought to get them to spend more money. You might realize that if you were to devote more time to up-selling existing customers, you could actually offset any losses in revenue from customers who leave for reasons beyond your control. This would require you to invest in relationship marketing or the development of new services that helps customers solve additional problems they might be having that relate to your industry.
Both strategies could be funded with a business line of credit because they are long-term investments that do not contribute to your revenue stream for a number of months. Business lines of credit allow you to take your attention away from your usual tasks and concentrate on new endeavors without worrying about paying your bills. Since payments are tied directly to the amount you withdraw, you could take all the time you need developing your new service or building a marketing campaign and then pay off the majority of the cost as revenue begins to increase.
WE WOULDN’T LET YOU GROW ANY OTHER WAY
At United Capital Source, we ensure borrowers that their relationship with us will become more rewarding over time. This is why so many of our clients take out multiple rounds of funding as they continue to grow. Now that customer feedback has proven to be so helpful, why not invest in getting as much as possible? A second small business loan could be your key to outsourcing a digital marketing team or hiring an in-house social engagement department.
You’ll gain even more crucial information, which could then be utilized for yet another growth strategy. Every small business loan we distribute positions the borrower for further growth once the debt has been paid in full. Your customers might be your most useful tool but only with our help can be sure you are using it to its fullest extent.