5 Ways to Grow Your Business in 2010

We are in 2010, whilst the economy looks like it is slowly recovering budgets are still shrinking, business and profits are hard to come by in many businesses. With a little bit of creativity and prioritization we can deal with the challenges and make it the best year yet. Look at the opportunities available to you, grab them and be creative so to push them to the maximum and watch things turn around for your business.

Here are my top 5 things you can do now to help you get more for your business.

1. Give your Business a Smack of Social Media Marketing

The true potential of your social media profiles is not always obvious and it is easy to pass it by however by grasping the concept of how great using Social Media in your business can help it grow, and grow quickly, is a great reason for you embracing it.

Provide your website or Blog with rich content for your visitors and you increase the chance of keeping them on your site, coming back again and buying from you. Add a personal touch to your websites, encourage your visitors to connect with you on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. Use your website and blog to its full potential and make it a great experience for your visitors, use images and video, make your text interesting, use targeted keywords to showcase what you offer. There is so much you can do from your website or blog that can generate more business; set up a shop, let clients make online bookings and give them the means to interact with you.

People buy from those they know, like and trust so take time to build a relationship with you. Social media can help as can giving them the opportunity to interact with you via email, Twitter or Skype. I have used these medias myself to interact with big names in my field of work and with whom I would never usually have been able to do so before.

Take time to look at the online profile of your business. If your website visitors enjoy the experience of visiting your website and blog, find something of quality (not just quantity) they will come back.

2. Take time to Market Online

Even when you have your website up and running, looking great, you cannot afford to leave it there. Make sure you take the time to keep the site updated and change your images. Top websites that do well are kept up to date. The search engines want websites that are up to date and have relevant information. Your visitors want to see that you are active and if you are they will come back again and again.and that you care for their business. An old static website that has not been updated for a while and is more of an online brochure can look unprofessional.Invest in your websites and blogs, use them to showcase your business to the maximum. If you show to your visitors that you care about your business and what it offers they are more likely to want to work with you.

Business owners who actively work on their business to market it effectively and bring in new business are more successful than those who sit back and expect the clients and customers to come to them. Success comes to those who work SMART, look for strategies and develop plans to market your business then take action daily and you will reap the rewards.

Schedule regular time at least twice a week to work on marketing your business.

3. The rise and rise of Video

We are living in a world of video, the growth of community video sites and TV shows with revealing our crazy pets, fun wedding dances, or funny home video clips. The use of video marketing has generated fast growth and profits for businesses. Video can drive fast and focused traffic to your site, it can help you engage with your prospects and showcase your business more effectively than text alone. What does this mean for business owners? More business!

If there is one thing you choose to do this year, it should be to invest in a camcorder, you do not need anything expensive, and start doing short videos for your business. Many of the new camcorders on the market are reasonably priced and it is a simple case of point, shoot and upload straight to YouTube, your blog or website.

If you are stuck for ideas, some things you might want to consider are the following

* A business video on who you are and what you do

* Provide demos on new or existing products and service that you offer to your clients, be creative. * Tips that your customers might be interested in, let them see you know your stuff * Training videos, give your clients and insight on what you do, provide good quality content and they will perceive you as an expert.

4. Network to build relationships.

Are you making connections online and offline? Many businesses have grown through the relationships that have been created and nurtured online. The secret to great networking is to share; take time to build real relationships with people, once they begin to know, like and trust you they are far more willing to do business with you.

There is nothing worse than connecting with someone online and they have a sole mission of ensuring that you buy their products. The people who fail online are those that see every person as a customer, real relationships can create business and remember when you build a relationship with another person online if they start to know, like and trust you they are also likely to recommend you to others too. Treat fellow online marketers with respect, show you care and build real relationships and then when the channels are open and a relationship established you are all more likely to benefit.

Online networking really works. Look out for like-minded people, share information often, and a ripple effect will follow. Other people in online communities will see who are there for what they can get and who are there to build relationships and share. The latter will be the most successful.

5. What does your online reputation say about you?

It is hard to start and grow a business and the marketplace can seem to be increasingly crowed with your competitors. Who will the consumers choose to work with? It is not always the person who offer the cheapest service. Consumers are smart. They want a good quality service which solves the problem they have and gives results. They want to interact with someone who is approachable and has an open communication. How you and your staff communicate with prospects and clients can be a good indicator as to how successful your business will be.

Word of mouth as the best source of marketing and you want to make sure that what is being said is favourable to your business. Negative comments generally spread far faster that good reviews. Work hard to build relationships with your customers and prospects online as it is easier to get existing clients to come back for more or to get you referrals than it is to be on a never-ending pursuit of new prospects and leads to market too.

When you provide a product or service to your clients and they are happy with the key factors like quality and quantity, speed of delivery, communication from the supplier and overall satisfaction are all factors which a client will take into account when making a testimonial. Why have testimonials? You promote them to prospects and leads to speed up the time it takes for them to know, like and trust you and get down to purchasing your products and services.

They are my top tips for 2010, decide your goals for 2010 and start taking action otherwise before you know it we will be in 2011 or beyond. Good luck.