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GROWTH STRATEGIES

From tiny acorns…

We have spoken recently about growing your business internationally and the options which are currently available to assist with this process. Something which we didn’t focus on was general growth and the strategies that must be in place in order to achieve the growth you desire for your business and which it deserves. Business is something which is always in flux, always changing and always on the movie so it is vital to ensure that your business is consistently moving with the times and growing as much as possible along the way. The most fool proof way to ensure that your business grows and progresses it to plan ahead and to have a growth strategy in place.

A growth strategy is essential and will inform all areas of your business from acting as the cornerstone of your marketing plan to your day to day business activities your growth strategy will be a guiding roadmap that will inform all aspects of your business. Your growth strategy should include information about the current market, your current and prospective customers, the products or services you offer and your overall goals for where you would like to see the business grow to. The growth strategy is an essential business tool as it ensures that things are not left solely to chance, which is a dangerous status to be in in business. If you are not sure where to start with a growth strategy here are some handy starting points.

The first thing to consider when contemplating a growth strategy for your business is market research. It is essential to know your product and service and know the market you currently serve. The next step for many is often referred to as cross-selling, and involves either selling more of your existing products to existing customers, or selling what can be referred to as ‘add-ons’ to your current products or services. This is one of the easiest and most popular strategies to put in place as it does not involve developing something new. Rather, this strategy involves building upon what is already in place. The difficulty with this strategy lies in informing all existing customers that you offer these additional products or services and generating interest in this way.

The alternative to this strategy involves essentially pigeon-holing yourself and your customers, which might seem counterproductive but has seen benefits in the past. Studies show that customers tend to stick with suppliers they understand and trust for each individual product or service and are more likely to continue on with suppliers who give a specific service. The other side of this involves choosing a specific section of the market to focus on, which whilst restrictive can pay off when done well.

The final method to consider for your growth strategy will be to ascertain what new markets you would like to enter. Occasionally, opportunities may arise for you to sell your existing products to a new market and this should be considered within a growth strategy if viable for your business.

In this modern age there are many means of distribution of products and ideas so it is essential to factor distribution and marketing into your growth plan. With this ideas as your starting point, you should hopefully be well on your way to growing your business.

Should you require any further assistance or business advice please don’t hesitate to contact us here at DCA Accountants.

 

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

CREATING AN EFFECTIVE WEBSITE FOR YOUR COMPANY

In this digital dominated age, a website is a necessity for fledgling and well established businesses alike. A website may be the first port of call for customers or investors searching for the services and products you offer. Regardless of any other marketing methods you may put in place, a website is of great importance in order to get the message of your business out there and give potential clients the information they need. Think of your website as being an extended, digital version of your business card. A way of introducing yourself and your company to the wider world.

As well as the existence of your website, the quality of your website and the ease with which it can be navigated could make or break a transaction with a potential customer. How can you ensure that your website is both visible and accessible to those who will need it? We have compiled a few handy tips for you to consider:

Choose Format.

This is one of the most important initial decisions you will make regarding your website. This will decide how your content is updated and managed. If you intend on doing regular updates yourself, a content management system such as that used by WordPress or Joomla would be the best choice. With a Content Management System you simply input blocks of text and photos as necessary using a set template. Alternatively, if you have hired a web developer or have experience with code yourself, you can build your website from the ground up. Of course this option comes with its challenges and may make regular updates more challenging.

Generate Content

Next to your website’s general layout and design, your content and copy will be the key to generating website traffic. Content is what will attract and keep visitors on your website so it is important to keep content varied and interesting and avoid having massive blocks of text apart from the blog section. It has been suggested that visitors decide whether to stay on your website or go elsewhere within 4 seconds so this is good to bear in mind when generating content. You have a limited amount of time to impress your visitors, and it would be advisable to have some copy already on hand so that as soon as your website is up and running there are a few options for your new visitors to choose from.

Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest ways of generating a following these days so as well as setting up a website it is a good idea to set up relevant social media channels for your business such as Twitter and Facebook. Linking these social media channels to the blog aspect keeps your followers updated and generates some extra traffic to your website. These are also excellent tools for getting your company message out in a quick and informal format.

Maintain Content

Finally, the most important thing to remember when creating your own business website is that it must be consistently in flux. Your content must change and be updated on a regular basis as this is what will keep prospective clients returning to your website.

EXCELLENCE IN EXHIBITIONS

Participating in trade fairs and expos takes investment – a structured approach is the best way to maximise your return.

If you’re looking to make a big impression in the market quickly, a trade fair or expo is an attractive idea – rather than setting up many disparate meetings, these events offer you the chance to meet many potential customers. However, participating as an exhibitor takes quite a bit of investment, and even attending uses up valuable resources if the event is overseas. So how do you make the most of participation?

 

The Right Event

It might seem obvious, but picking the right event is half the battle. Event organisers can dazzle you with statistics about the number of companies attending or showcasing their products, but remember the maxim of quality over quantity. You’re far better off meeting a few strong potential customers then twenty random firms with no interest in your product or service. Before committing, seek a detailed breakdown of the companies that either attended past events, or are expected. Failing that, tap your contacts for information on how the event is perceived in the industry – particularly if it’s an overseas event that you’re not familiar with.

 

Plan Your Presence

The event hall will be a competitive space with many companies vying for attention – whether you’re an exhibitor or visitor, you need to communicate your unique selling points in a direct, impactful way. If you’re exhibiting, your unique selling points in a market should inform everything from stand design to the products that you showcase. As a visitor, you need to prepare your 30-second pitch, and also think up responses to the questions that you’re most likely to face.

 

Come Armed

Don’t arrive at an event with nothing to show people. Even attendees travelling internationally should bring a good supply of marketing materials, and business cards are still essential. Exhibitors, meanwhile, should have plenty to show. If you have a small budget and a small space at the event, just make sure that you fill it with things that communicate your company’s values – and value.

 

Listen

When you’re in a sales mindset, it’s easy to just talk about what you can offer. However listening carefully and showing interest is often the most positive message you can send about your company. It shows that you’re interested in the issues faced by potential clients or partners, while you’ll glean a lot of information that could prove useful in time. Also, remember that the people you speak with are also here to sell and make contacts beside yourself: it’s inconsiderate to monopolise them. If a conversation throws up a potential opportunity or longer sales pitch, agree to discuss it in detail at a less pressurised time, either at meal times around the event, or at a meeting later on.

 

Follow Up

When you get back, you’ll be tired and you’ll find a full workload on your desk. But don’t put off the essential follow-ups. Even if you see no basis for a sale or collaboration with people, a LinkedIn message or email thanking them for their time, wishing them well and showing that you remember them will create a positive impression. If, like many people, you struggle to recall faces and names after an event, you can take notes on the back of business cards that you collect – which will let you follow-up in a relevant way.

 

Eamonn Garvey

Partner,

DCA Accountants and Business Advisors

 

For more on our services or to receive a free consultation for your business from one of our experts, visit www.dca-ireland.ie or follow us on Twitter.