Times change, and so do the strategies you need to beat the competition. Working with business owners to support their cash needs, our team hears and sees best practices for organic growth in action. As your team plans for 2023, borrow these great ideas.

People love a winner. Clients and prospective new employees are drawn to companies that are actively looking for ways to expand, develop and win. Organic growth should be a focused strategy in any business plan. Knowing how to continue growing by expanding service lines, overcoming challenges and maintaining a high-level of customer service should be at the core of every business.

Among the most recent challenges we hear from business owners is the shift in themarketplace and resulting new client preferences due to technology that’s increased competition from new sources. From online do-it-yourself sites to larger companies hungry for new revenue, many smaller business owners have noticed erosion in their share of the market. That pressure will only intensify in the coming years. To ensure your company continues to grow in the new year, take steps to stay in a competitive position. Even simply trying to maintain the status quo demands stepping up efforts to stay ahead of normal client attrition.

Identify opportunities disguised as problems

Survey customers to find their pain points and tailor services to meet their needs. Clients are more likely to do business with the companies that demonstrate a deep understanding of their difficulties. This will encourage client loyalty and they will be more likely to recommend your services to others.

Expand what you provide

Use the data from the survey to add services that increase the value you can provide to clients based on their feedback. Customers appreciate the simplicity of having all their needs met with one provider instead of needing multiple resources. For example, as an insurance agent providing home and car coverage, could you also add life insurance? Or if you are an RIA or CPA, you may consider adding a consultation service to the array of products you offer. You can choose to hire new employees to offer these services or consider partnering with or acquiring another company that already provides these complementary services.

Ways to maintain client loyalty

Strengthening client loyalty is a crucial strategy consideration. If you choose to survey customers, respond to their feedback with changes. Factors such as service and pricing matter, but the best way to achieve staying power is by demonstrating your company’s value in meaningful ways that include listening to their feedback. If your customers don’t see intangible value, they’ll look elsewhere for the services your company provides.

Competition-beating strategies for small businesses

Use survey data to take a fresh look at your business and the services it offers, such as:

  • Developing and enhancing knowledge of specific fields because companies offering specialized expertise typically face less competition. What industry niche service or product is the most profitable for your company?
  • Ensuring clients are familiar with the depth and breadth of your expertise. Are your employees consistently cross-selling products and services to clients?
  • Delivering higher-value services than your competitors. How can you increase the personalization of your services to stand out from the competition?
  • Stepping up the frequency and the quality of client outreach. Are you top-of mind for clients when they are looking for a service you provide?
  • Integrating technology to enhance and support client service. Have you implemented the latest technology to simplify the customer experience?

Running a business can feel complex, and owners may find it more challenging to assess their opportunities and make confident decisions. Developing a greater depth of knowledge using customer feedback in specific industries can differentiate your company and even allow you to broaden your market area to achieve continued organic growth in the new year.

Alicia Chandler is president of Indianapolis-based Oak Street Funding, a First Financial Bank company, with customized loan products and services for specialty lines of business including certified public accountants, registered investment advisors and insurance agents nationwide.

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