The business world is competitive, and small businesses must work incredibly hard just to keep up. As the economy becomes increasingly global, competition comes from not only local industry but also from organizations all over the world. The challenges for small companies are steep, but strategic planning can lead to a wealth of opportunities for growth. Take a look at the five secrets below that will help you take your small business to its next stage of growth.

1. Trade Shows

Participating in trade shows is a great way to grow your brand while acquiring a large number of new leads. This is because trade shows attract hundreds of potential clients to one place all at the same time. There are numerous tactics to use trade shows to your advantage. For example, trade show giveaways draw a lot of traffic to your booth. People love to get free things, so consider giving away branded goods such as tote bags, coffee mugs, and lanyards when people visit your booth. Many companies use competitions, social media promotions and other strategies to good effect.

2. Networking Events

Anytime you have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a business associate; you should do it. In an age where digital media makes it possible to connect with anyone online, recent studies suggest that more and more business leaders prefer in-person meetings.

Whether it’s a big soiree or a small meeting in a conference room, networking events give you an opportunity to read facial expressions and body language while being social and bonding with prospective clients. You’ll build stronger, more meaningful business relationships.

3. Online Business

If you aren’t online by now, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to grow your business. If you take just a minute to log onto Facebook, you’ll probably see your competition using the platform to boost sales and interact with customers. While social media is not only one way to do business online, it’s a great start.

If you don’t have the time or know-how to build an online business, it’s critical that you hire someone to do it for you. Even if you think you can’t afford the expense, rest assured that the revenue your online business generates will exponentially surpass what you spend to create it.

4. Customer Retention

Many business owners fail to understand that retaining customers costs less than acquiring new ones. A recent report from Harvard Business Review states that it costs a business 5-25 times as much to win new customers as it does to retain existing ones.

That’s a critical factor, especially when you consider that increasing customer retention by just 5 percent increases profitability 25-95 percent, according to Bain & Company. Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see how focusing on customer retention is a no-brainer.

5. Community Events

Hosting a community event is one of the easiest and fastest ways to grow any small business. There are several benefits to running a community event including:

  • Increase sales
  • Build trust in your company
  • Let customers know what you have to offer
  • Lead generation

Almost every small business can use community events to grow their business. You merely have to host the right kind of activity for your particular audience.

Small businesses must work much harder than big corporations to stay competitive. While the challenge is real, implementing the five secrets to taking your small business to the next stage of growth above will give others a run for their money.

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