32 Ways to Grow a Business

There are essentially four over-arching strategies for growing a business. No more, no less.

Here they are:

  1. Get more customers and clients.
  2. Get your customers/clients to buy more frequently.
  3. Get your customers/clients to spend more money per transaction.
  4. Keep your customers longer.

[Download this entire article as a PDF here.]

While there are only four primary strategies for growing a business, there are literally dozens of different techniques you can use to implement these four strategies…

Strategies are important because they give us something concrete. They endure while techniques may come and go.

But the techniques are equally important. Strategies tell us WHAT to do; techniques tell us HOW to do it.

With that in mind, I’ve provided a list of 32 techniques for growing a business, all categorized by one of the four strategies.

This way, you can skip to the strategy you want to implement in your business, and focus only on those techniques.

Strategy #1: Get more customers and clients.

When we talk about growing a business, this is by far the most common approach: get more customers and clients.

And while this is certainly an important step (you MUST start here if you have no customers or clients yet), it is also the most expensive way to grow a business. And it takes the most effort, too.

Here are 9 ways to get more customers and clients:

  • Drive more traffic to your web site.
  • Improve the effectiveness of your ads and sales letters.
  • Find new/better places to advertise (pay-per-click ads on Google, Bing, Facebook; media buys on websites your target market visits frequently; direct mail; newspaper and magazine ads; TV infomercials; ezine ads; social media; etc).
  • Create stronger offers that appeal to more people in your target market.
  • Enlist the help of affiliates to reach more people.
  • Ask for referrals.
  • Down-sell prospects who reject your initial offer.
  • Host a free teleseminar or webinar where you can demonstrate your expertise and ask for the sale.

Strategy #2: Get your customers/clients to buy more frequently.

Most entrepreneurs and business owners focus on getting the first sale, and then neglect to ever get a second.

This is unfortunate because you make much more profit on sales two, three, four, and so forth.

Here are 6 ways to get your customers and clients to buy from you more frequently:

  • Create a customer mailing list; send them customers-only offers on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Send out promotional emails to your house list on a more frequent basis.
  • Run time-limited or quantity-limited promotions and use scarcity to get customers to act now instead of later.
  • Design a product funnel that automatically moves your clients from one purchase to the next.
  • Start a monthly continuity program that automatically bills customers every month. (Print newsletter, membership site, etc.)

Strategy #3: Get your customers/clients to spend more money per transaction.

This is probably the simplest and easiest way to grow a business. But for some reason, many entrepreneurs avoid this strategy because they fear how their customers will react. They fear their customers don’t have more money to spend.

Here’s a suggestion: Get over your fear.

By implementing these techniques, you can easily grow your business 5% or more within the next few months.

A word of caution though… raising prices is not something you do willy-nilly. It helps to have a good reason for raising prices; it also helps to add more value to a product/service.

Here are 8 ways to get your customers and clients to spend more money per transaction:

  • Increase your fees and prices.
  • Add more value to your products and services.
  • After a person buys one product, up-sell or cross-sell them another related product.
  • Offer payment plans on your expensive products and services.
  • Offer discounted annual or quarterly options on all your monthly continuity products. (Example: $30 a month or $299 a year.)
  • Charge for shipping separately.
  • Use phone sales to help close large ticket purchases.
  • Do a product launch.

Strategy #4: Keep your customers longer.

This fourth strategy is often overlooked, but is highly effective.

If you can keep a customer or client for an extra month or two, or even an extra year, that could bring thousands of extra dollars to you — especially if you have a continuity program or a well-designed promotional calendar.

Here are 9 ways to encourage loyalty and keep your customers and clients for a longer period of time:

  • Send out surprise bonus gifts with new purchases. (You may even consider giving away business promotional items that are branded with your business name so you stay in the top of your customers’ minds.)
  • Create a follow-up sequence of communication designed to get customers and clients to actually use the product or service they’ve purchased. (This is based on “consumption theory”… the idea that customers who consume your product are most likely to continue using it.)
  • Call your best customers and clients and thank them for their business.
  • Deliver more value than you’ve promised to deliver. Go above and beyond.
  • Ask your customers and clients for testimonials. (After a customer has publicly declared their support of you, they will automatically be more loyal to you and your business.)
  • Create a loyalty program with incentives to encourage customer longevity. (For example, bonus gifts or free items that kick in after a certain level of purchases.)
  • Publish the date when a person subscribes and/or becomes a customer. (Ex: Customer since 4/99.)
  • Give your customers and clients public recognition in your newsletter, blog, or ezine.

So there you have it: 32 ways to grow a business.

Now the only thing left for you to do is pick one or two of them and actually implement them. Learning is good; doing is better.

BONUS TIP: How to Make Growth Happen Naturally

If you’re not currently measuring key metrics in your business, you should be.

That’s because of a thing called The Hawthorne Effect. It states that whatever you measure tends to improve.

So by simply measuring important numbers in your business, you are likely to experience improvement and growth in your business.

If at the same time you also focus on some of the key strategies and techniques listed above, then growth may happen even faster.

-Ryan M. Healy

P.S. For more proven business-building advice, consider joining The One-Hour Startup here.

41 Comments

  • Courtney James

    July 6, 2009

    Ryan,

    You’re giving away the farm here.

    If anyone has any complaints about how to
    grow their business after reading this then
    they only have half a brain.

    Haha…

    I’m off to Tweet this for my followers on
    Twitter.

    Thanks Ryan.

    Courtney James
    A.K.A. Obvious Writer

  • Joseph Ratliff

    July 6, 2009

    Ryan,

    It’s amazing to see how some people can make business building so complicated…seeking that “advanced marketing stuff”.

    If every single business followed this model (adapted to their business of course)…imagine how our economy would look then? :)

    Good stuff @healymonster :)

    Joseph Ratliff

  • Kevin Cullis

    July 6, 2009

    Ryan,

    About #2 above, how do you get someone to buy more frequently if you sell the Mona Lisa, there is only one of them around? My question is more rhetorical than anything, but I like your thinking.
    About #3 above, how do you get more customers to buy if you only have on product/service? Again, rhetorical.
    About #4 above, selling a coffin means they won’t come back for more. All in all, very good info.

  • Ryan M. Healy

    July 6, 2009

    @Courtney and @Joseph – Thanks for the comments here and the retweets on Twitter. Really appreciate it. :-)

    @Kevin – Excellent points.

    If you’re selling the Mona Lisa, and you find somebody who buys it — then you sell him The Last Supper and any other da Vinci painting you can get your hands on! :-)

    And with regard to coffins, the guy in it doesn’t always buy it. So try selling more coffins at once for a discount. When one person dies of old age, there’s often another one who will follow soon.

    Who knows? Selling multiple coffins at once may be a valid sales strategy. It wouldn’t be all that different from buying a family burial plot… or life insurance for loved ones.

    Ryan

  • healymonster

    July 6, 2009

    31 Ways to Grow a Business: There are essentially four over-arching strategies for growing a business. No more, .. http://tinyurl.com/l7574z
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • shelhorowitz

    July 7, 2009

    31 ways to grow a biz – from @healymonster http://bit.ly/117Zna
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • pubcentral

    July 7, 2009

    RT @shelhorowitz31 ways to grow a biz – from @healymonster http://bit.ly/117Zna
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Cheryl Antier

    July 7, 2009

    Wow Ryan,
    Absolutely fabulous information – as usual! Just wanted to let you know your blog has made the “must read” list at the Writer’s Business Academy’s Student Center! You’re a “fav” of our students and have a fan club…

    Congratulations… and thanks always going the extra mile in the information you provide.
    Warmly,
    Cheryl Antier
    Director, Writer’s Business Academy

  • conversiondoc

    July 8, 2009

    Reading Great Post: 31 ways to grow a business – by @healymonster http://bit.ly/117Zna
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • buzzblogger

    July 8, 2009

    RT @conversiondoc Reading Great Post: 31 ways to grow a business – by @healymonster http://bit.ly/117Zna
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • karenscharf

    July 8, 2009

    RT @conversiondoc Reading Great Post: 31 ways to grow a business – by @healymonster http://bit.ly/117Zna
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Ryan M. Healy

    July 9, 2009

    @Shel, PubCentral, Eric, BuzzBlogger, and Karen – Thanks for sharing my article. You’re the best!

    @Cheryl – As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for the compliment. :-)

    Ryan

  • ianbrodie

    July 9, 2009

    Ryan Healy has some excellent tips in 31 Ways to Grow Your Business: http://bit.ly/117Zna
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • allcaughtup

    July 9, 2009

    RT @ianbrodie: Ryan Healy has some excellent tips in 31 Ways to Grow Your Business: http://bit.ly/117Zna
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • ciproductions

    July 9, 2009

    RT @ianbrodie Ryan Healy has some excellent tips in 31 Ways to Grow Your Business: http://bit.ly/117Zna
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • michelfortin

    July 9, 2009

    Reading: 31 Ways to Grow a Business http://bit.ly/wUmNE
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • I added your submission to my blog carnival. Thanks for submitting!

  • KurtScholle

    July 9, 2009

    RT @michelfortin: Reading: 31 Ways to Grow a Business http://bit.ly/wUmNE
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • julietaustin

    July 10, 2009

    RT @michelfortin: Reading: 31 Ways to Grow a Business http://bit.ly/wUmNE
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • CindyKing

    July 10, 2009

    Ryan Healy has some excellent tips in 31 Ways to Grow Your Business: http://bit.ly/117Zna – via @ianbrodie
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • top22

    July 10, 2009

    http://bit.ly/wUmNE
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Dona

    July 10, 2009

    This is a really great post for all who want to improve their business. This post should read at least ten times. I’ll download it and forward it to my friends. Thank you.

  • shawnlebrun

    July 10, 2009

    One of the single best blog posts I have EVER read on increasing your sales… http://bit.ly/RwSry
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • destaj

    July 10, 2009

    RT One of the single best blog posts I have EVER read on increasing your sales… http://bit.ly/RwSry
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • claire_copy

    July 11, 2009

    Put away your marketing books and read this perfectly formed blog post by Ryan Healy: http://tinyurl.com/l7574z
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • debashish brahma

    July 14, 2009

    Wonderful post
    warm regards,
    db

  • Ryan M. Healy

    July 14, 2009

    Thank you all for sharing this article on Twitter. I really appreciate it.

    @Shawn and Claire — Thanks for putting some extra “oomph” in your tweets. You rock!

    @Dona – Thanks for your comment!

  • alisonhummel

    July 14, 2009

    Reading 31 Ways to Grow a Business by @healymonster Great! http://tinyurl.com/l7574z (via @melaniward) this is a great article!
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • melaniward

    July 14, 2009

    Reading 31 Ways to Grow a Business by @healymonster Great! http://tinyurl.com/l7574z
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • melhocking

    July 14, 2009

    RT @melaniward: Reading 31 Ways to Grow a Business by @healymonster Great! http://tinyurl.com/l7574z
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • rayedwards

    July 19, 2009

    31 Ways to Grow a Business http://ow.ly/hCWY
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • TomDuong

    July 22, 2009

    31 Ways to Grow a Business http://bit.ly/YQEiw
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • jim keenan

    August 10, 2009

    yes, I would like the PDF

  • Gogo

    October 2, 2009

    Hey Ryan,

    What are you trying to do?
    Do your own business growth audit WHILE I WATCH?

    Great post. Look forward to seeing you.

  • Kimmoy

    January 21, 2010

    Great post with fabulous tips Ryan. It's amazing how the most simple techniques can be so powerful to your business growth. It's about experiementing with what works for you and once it does work, keep doing it on a consistent basis. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kimmoy

    January 21, 2010

    @ Kevin I would say that the following tip is applicable: “Create a follow-up sequence of communication designed to get customers and clients to actually use the product or service they’ve purchased. “

    Maybe you can send the buyers of Mona Lisa an info. product on how to take care of their art, what to look for when buying art, how to hang valuable art, etc. I know it was a rhetorical question but hope that helps :)

  • John Breese

    August 5, 2013

    Since we’re on the topic of ways to grow a business, I thought it would also be wise to cover the many ways NOT to grow a business:

    Part 1: http://www.theonehourstartup.com/no-country-for-old-cheapskates-part-1-everyone-is-the-marketing-guy/

    Part 2: http://www.theonehourstartup.com/no-country-for-old-cheapskates-part-two-the-202-growth-secret/

    Part 3: http://www.theonehourstartup.com/no-country-for-old-cheapskates-part-three-where-the-sleaze-roams/

    Oh, and after what happened last week, don’t ever model your efforts after HostGator’s. Never. Ever.