Many business gurus will say that if your business is not growing then it’s dying. Plenty of small-business owners would dispute that, especially given the recent state of the economy. But it’s true that every business needs to keep moving forwards, finding new customers and new ideas otherwise it’s going to fall behind its rivals.

Here are five tips for how to grow your business

Spend more time selling. Often the reason your business isn’t growing as fast as you’d like is because you’re not devoting enough time to making it grow. If you work on your own it’s difficult getting the right balance between keeping your existing clients happy and prospecting for new clients. If you run a bigger firm it’s very easy to spend your day completing projects, poring over spreadsheets or sitting in meetings. Important tasks, no doubt, but there’s no bigger priority than getting out and meeting potential new customers.

Find a niche. A small business can never be everything to everyone, and attempting to do so could harm your business. Trying to woo various types of clients with a wide range of different products will mean you spread yourself too thinly. Instead, focus on a corner of the market that you know and build your reputation as one of the leaders in that particular field. When you’ve conquered one niche, you can move on to another, using the skills and products you’ve developed.

Know when to hire. If you’re a one-man band it can be difficult to know when your business reaches the point when it needs more than just you. Being rushed off your feet is good, but are you losing business by remaining a sole trader? If so, it’s time for you to employ someone else. It can feel a little daunting taking on your first employee, but having an extra pair of hands can help your business to kick on, lifting some of the burden of everyday tasks enabling you to concentrate on what you do best.  

Make your customers smile. When it comes to your client base, quality is better than quantity. Doing a good job for satisfied clients will always lead to more work from them. They’ll also be much more likely to recommend your firm to others, which is the best kind of marketing any business could have. Just a small growth in customer loyalty results in very large improvements in a company’s profits, research has shown. So you need to put keeping your existing customers happy at the heart of your growth plans.

Network. They say business is about whom you know, not what you know, so building your network of contacts is essential to growing your business. Exchanging cards at a conference, or having a quick coffee can often lead to referrals or new business offers. Social media, including LinkedIn, offers you a golden opportunity to extend your circle of contacts without even having to leave your office.