Five Free Things You Can Do to Help Grow Your Business Today

“If Plan A fails, don’t worry there are another 25 letters.”

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5 things you can do to grow your small business for free by Jess Dixon, small business growth magazine

By Jess Dixon

Money is tight for many of us at the moment. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a serious impact on the economy and many small businesses are struggling. You might, understandably, be watching expenditure and cutting back where you can.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to start growing your business, today, without spending a single penny. Read on to learn about just five of them.

Spruce up your social media presence

I bang on about social media a lot, partly because I am a walking Millennial stereotype but mostly because I’ve seen that social media works.

If you haven’t got a presence on at least the Big Three – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – you’re probably missing out on valuable eyes on your content. You probably also need to be on LinkedIn. So if you haven’t got accounts on these channels, set them up right now. If you have already got them, how can you improve them?

Post new content (thoughtfully and strategically!) Engage with others’ posts and join in with discussions. Make sure your profile picture, business information, and product photos are up to date. Your social media might be the first place someone encounters your business, so think about the kind of impression you want to create. In other words, make sure that your social media channels are a reflection of your brand that you can be proud of.

Set up an email newsletter

There are all kinds of paid email newsletter services on the market, but unless your mailing list is absolutely huge, you can probably manage absolutely fine with a free version. I personally like MailChimp and Substack for this, but other good options include MailerLite and Omnisend.

An email newsletter is a great way to keep your customers and prospective customers up to date with what you’re up to. It’s a space to show the person behind the brand. Use it to share advice and tips, industry-related news and views, and behind-the-scenes snapshots. And, of course, to highlight exciting new products and services, and to promote any sales or special offers.

How often you send out your newsletter will depend on how much time you have to dedicate to it and what makes sense for your business. I recommend no more than weekly, but no less than monthly.

Network

In the pre-COVID era, I’d have suggested looking for a local free networking evening and going along. At the moment, though, networking has moved online. I recently wrote about how to network online successfully, so go and read that before you get started!

Your network is the single most valuable asset to your business. (Don’t believe me? I’m getting paid to write this article right now thanks to a connection I made at a networking meeting.) So it’s well worth spending time nurturing it.

Find an online speed networking meeting, join a forum for business people in your town or in your industry, or reach out to some contacts you haven’t spoken to in a while and reconnect. You never know who might be your next customer… or know your next customer!

Look at your analytics

You have Google Analytics (or equivalent) set up for your website, right? If you don’t, go and set it up right now! If you do, take some time to do a deep dive into your numbers.

Where is your web traffic mainly coming from? Who are your core demographics – their age, gender, geographical location? What search terms are people using to find you? What’s your bounce rate? How many unique visitors are you getting per month overall?

All these numbers can give you critical insight into the health of your business – or at least its online presence. Study them, analyse them, and learn from them. Once you have this data, you can use it to improve your web presence and target your marketing communications more effectively in the future.

Teach yourself a new skill

If your business has seen a downturn thanks to the pandemic and things are looking a bit quiet, this is a great time to teach yourself something new. There are free courses online in almost any business-related topic you can imagine, from creating killer graphics with Canva to bookkeeping to email marketing. Wherever your skills could do with a brush-up, take this time to develop them.

Other ways to learn include reading books, blogs and papers, watching informative Youtube videos, listening to industry podcasts, joining free webinars, or just learning from others. Would someone who is skilled in the area you want to learn give you an hour of their time by Zoom to share their knowledge?

What have you been doing to grow your business while watching your expenses? Tweet me your ideas and I might use them in a future article!

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