(This article was originally published on entrepreneur.com. It has been edited for content and style.)
Let’s face it. Scaling your business is hard. It takes considerable effort. In the beginning, it means wearing different hats. It means dealing with sales and marketing. It means understanding taxes and corporate compliance. It involves having to interact with customers on a daily basis—and so much more. At the end of the day, it takes it toll on you.
If you’re struggling to grow your business, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, it’s hard, but what’s the alternative? A life-sucking, 9-to-5 job? Surely not. Okay, maybe you’re longing for the security of a guaranteed paycheck, but at what mental or emotional price will that come?
The truth? If you buckle down, clear your mind and just look at things in perspective, you can easily identify ways you can grow your business and make more money quickly. While hundreds of business growth strategies likely exists, the following 15 will take your business to the next level quickly and efficiently.
1. Build a sales funnel
The first way to quickly grow your business is by building a sales funnel. If you don’t have a sales funnel, you’re making a monumental mistake. Sales funnels can help to automate your business. It helps you to scale and grow quickly and easily. Sure, there’s some front-end work involved. Obviously. But, once those processes are in place, it’s smooth sailing from there.
Frasier says that every sales funnel needs to be carefully conceptualized before it’s created. Consider the different funnels first and foremost. Whether it’s a free-plus-shipping offer or a high-ticket coaching funnel, it’s important to build your automated selling machine to quickly scale and grow your business.
2. Utilize a customer management system
Manually tracking transactions is hard. No one wants to do that. It gets too cumbersome as the business grows. If you want to scale quickly, use a customer management system. There are plenty to choose from. But, it really depends on your line of work. There are plenty of CMS systems, most of which integrate with other cloud-based services. Find what works for you and utilize it.
3. Research the competition
When going to market and you’re really looking to get your offer to the masses, you need to research the competition. There are two platforms we recommend. The first is Similar Web. The other, AdBeat. Both provide competitive intelligence. It’s your chance for x-ray lenses into all landing pages, ad copy and other stages of the funnel.
This allows you to uncover any advertiser’s online strategy. Find the ads that have been running for the longest and emulate those. That’s the quickest way you scale any business. If it’s proven and it’s working for your competitors, it’s likely it’ll work for you.
4. Create a customer loyalty program
Loyalty programs are great ways to increase sales. It costs up to three times more money to acquire new customers than it does to sell something to an existing customer. Other resources pin this number anywhere from four to 10 times more. However, any way you slice it, acquiring new customers is expensive.
Building a customer loyalty program will help you retain customers. It might also help you attract new ones as well. If there’s a clear incentive to spend more money with you, it’ll pay off in the long run. Build an attractive loyalty program and make it accessible to your existing customers and watch sales skyrocket over time.
5. Identify new opportunities
Analyze new opportunities in your business by understanding your demographic better. Understand everything from distribution channels to your direct competitors and even an analysis of foreign markets and other potential industries. There are likely dozens of new opportunities you could pursue immediately with the proper amount of analysis.
6. Build an email list
One of the best and most effective ways to grow a business quickly is to build an email list. Clearly, that means you need to have a lead magnet. Why else would people subscribe to your list? And with a lead magnet comes the necessity for a sales funnel. Look into companies like Aweber, ConstantContact, ConvertKit, Drip, GetResponse and others for building and managing your list.
7. Form strategic partnerships
Strategic partnerships with the right companies can truly make a world of difference. It could allow you to reach a wide swath of customers quickly. Identifying those partnerships might be easier said than done. But, look out for companies that are complementary to your own. Contact them and propose opportunities for working together.
8. Leverage global platforms
In the e-commerce business or selling products? Why not use Amazon’s FBA service? In the business of selling services? Why not use Upwork? In the business of renting vacation homes? Why not leverage AirBnB, InvitedHome, HomeAway or other global platforms? Find a platform that’s reached saturation and use it to grow your business quickly.
9. Licensing Deals
Doing licensing deals is a great way to grow your business without too much added effort. If you have a product that you can license to others and share a revenue of, that’s an ideal way to grow quickly. Taking a popular or successful product and bringing it to a company with a large footprint can help you achieve market saturation quicker.
10. Consider a franchise model
If you have a successful business and you’re really looking to grow quickly, consider franchising it. Although franchise costs are high and moving to a franchise model is complex and takes a lot of marketing know-how, it could make all the difference if you’re truly looking for quick growth.
11. Diversify your offering lineup
Look into diversifying your offering. What complementary products or services or information can you offer in your business? In order to grow, you need to think about expansion. Identify new opportunities within your niche. Uncover the pain points. What else can you sell to your clients. Where else can you add value in the exchange?
12. Build passive income streams
Growing a business takes significant effort. If you’re dealing with razor-thin margins, consider building passive income streams. This way, you don’t have to worry so much about keeping the lights on, so to speak. Passive income will afford you the opportunity to make mistakes and not have to lose your shirt. It’ll keep you in business and provide a basis to grow and market and scale quickly by giving you ample resources.
13. Acquire other businesses
Sometimes acquiring other businesses is a very quick way to grow your own business. If you can find competitors or businesses in other industries that would complement your own, you could use them as platforms to scale fast. Take a look within your industry and even outside of it to find potential for potential opportunities.
14. International expansion
Can you expand internationally? Can you take your existing offers and scale them internationally? What would it take to do business in Canada or Mexico or Europe? If you have a converting offer, international expansion could be a quick way to grow. You’ll incur some costs, sure. But the potential for profits could be massive.
15. Create a webinar
Webinars are a great way to promote any product or service. It can also help you grow any business relatively fast. Webinars provide an automated selling tool for literally taking any product or service to market and reaching a wide audience quickly. The webinar medium is great for captivating audiences to clinch sale after sale, automatically.