Slow growth is something we rarely talk about. In fact, we are often bombarded with the opposite everywhere we look. People talking about how they turned their business around overnight, how they went from being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to making six figures, how they went from no clients to being fully booked for the year in just a month.
Honesetly, I’m kind of over it. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
The fact of the matter is, everyone’s business looks different. Isn’t that a glorious thing? While it may be frustrating at times that the same things don’t work for everyone, it’s also awesome to know that multiple avenues can give you the same solution. We can all be successful, on our own terms, and there’s no need to buy into these get rich quick schemes. Because honestly, that’s exactly what they are.
Someone trying to sell you on how to become rich overnight is really just trying to pull a fast one. I will never ever claim that my advice on this blog will make you rich overnight. What it WILL do is give you a better foundation and understanding of the industry as a whole, so that moving forward you will have the tools and knowledge you need to make educated decisions for your business. I try to keep my advice as diverse as possible, because small businesses are diverse. That’s what makes them awesome.
I think aside from these get rich schemes just being annoying in my feed, what frustrates me most is that they make slow growth out to be a bad thing. SLOW GROWTH IS NOT BAD! No growth is bad, but slow growth means you are still growing.
Just like I talked about in my post How to Be Successful With a Small Following, slow growth allows you certain freedoms that blowing up overnight does not afford. Freedoms like taking time to find your style and voice, honing in on your dream niche, and building a larger portfolio or body of work that will help establish you as an expert in your field.
Think of it like viral sensations:
Businesses that blow up overnight get their 15 minutes of fame, usually get overwhelmed with all the attention, scramble to harness all the new attention, and then see it all leave just as quickly as it showed up in the first place. Instead, like your favorite actor that you can trace their acting roots back and see their rise to fame, a business with slow growth is able to grow and adapt as their presence grows and they sit much more securely once they reach the top.
But we all want to see growth in our business, because growth is a major way to gauge success. Whether that’s growth in your follower count, growth in inquiries, growth in sales, or growth in viewership, let’s breakdown some ways to combat slow growth in your business and keep your numbers steadily increasing!
1. Try New Tactics
I always encourage a little performance review every once in awhile, just like you would get at a larger company. Take a look at your analytics, sales, whatever you are tracking, and see what people are really connecting with. Also take note of what they are not connecting with. If something is not resonating with your audience or your clientele, maybe it’s time to try a new tactic. Again, this is much easier when you don’t have a huge following or large overhead. It’s totally okay to switch gears, rethink your business model, maybe even do a rebrand and start fresh. Sure, you may lose some followers or sales in the transition, but if you can start out fresh with an already established audience and with a clearer focus for your business, people will definitely start to take notice!
2. Network, Network, Network
Just like in any field, networking is one of the best things you can do for your business. I’ve actually started including this in my business model and I swear it’s breathing new life into my business. Let me explain. For years I was working kind of in isolation. I would work on projects, send them out, engage with people on social media, and still go about my day wondering if I was doing all I needed to do. So I decided last month to reach out to other designers, all of which were people I’ve followed for years and admire their work greatly, and all were at different stages of business. We would have virtual coffee dates and just talk shop. What I quickly learned is that everyone is approaching their business differently, but it’s all working. There’s no right or wrong way to run a business. And it also showed me that I wasn’t alone in my doubts and trying to figure out this whole online market. Probably the best thing I got out of it was some new, dear friends that I have standing monthly chats with, because they too were needing a network of like minded business owners. They send referrals my way when they are too booked, they celebrate wins with me (including our podcast launch), and they look out for my posts on social media and give me genuine feedback. Finding your people can make all the difference in the world and making these genuine connections puts real friends in your viewership.
3. Establish Yourself as an Expert
As you grow in your business, now is the best time to really start establishing yourself as an expert. People will seek you out if they know you are someone that has the answers to their questions. A big part of this has to do with the content you are putting out, whether through a blog or through social media. Are your posts attracting your ideal client? Are they providing useful info to those clients? How is your content standing out in the sea of voices in your industry? Sometimes this means bringing people to you, or your blog, and sometimes this means seeking out questions elsewhere so that you can answer them, whether on social media or facebook groups. If you can join a facebook group that is full of your target client, whenever someone has a question in that group you can be the person with the answers! For instance, graphic design groups are awesome on facebook, hence the networking up above, but if someone has a design question in that group there are thousands of other designers with the answer. But if I join a blogging group, if someone has a design question there’s a pretty high chance I can be the first to provide a helpful answer. That brings in the person with the question and anyone else who may click on that thread. Same with social media. If you see questions being asked on social media, give your best answers and establish yourself as an expert.
4. Build Your Portfolio
Like I keep saying, this will look different for everyone. Maybe your portfolio pertains to your blog posts, maybe it’s an copywriting portfolio or design portfolio. Whatever it looks like for your business, as you are slowly growing take this time to really beef it up with your best work. So you aren’t getting a ton of readers to your blog just yet. That’s okay! Really start to build up your blog and pack it full of great posts so that when readers DO start showing up they will have a ton of stuff to explore! Maybe you don’t have a ton of clients to show off your services just yet. That’s okay too! Work on some personal projects and really start to hone your style. By building up a portfolio of things you love, you’ll start attracting clients that you love as well because they will be drawn to this style you have cultivated. It’s a win-win.
Slow growth happens from time to time no matter what stage of business you are in. But just remember that slow growth is still growth and every little step is progress.
What areas of your business are you focusing on growing this year? What tactics have you found to boost your numbers?