6 Ways Small Businesses can Reach More Customers

After a few years of doing business you are definitely looking to grow and take your business to the next level. Here are 6 real life examples of strategies used by small businesses to drive growth:

Open a New Branch

Shake Shack storefront

Source: shakeshack.com

Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer waited for nearly five years before opening the second location. He waited till the business acquired a faithful following and was known for products that people loved. From the first Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, the business has now expanded to more than 100 locations worldwide.

“We’re big believers in not overpromising and under delivering. We really want to give our team a chance to practice before we open the doors.” Meyer said in an interview with The Sun.

If your business is going steady and your customers are telling you how much they love your product, it might be time to open a new branch.

Make sure your business has a steady cash flow since the new branch may take some time to build traction with new customers. This article by Dave Smith has some good variables you should consider before opening that new branch.

Go Online

Limor Fried, Adafruit

Source: Adafruit.com

Adafruit Industries, founded by Limor Fried, sells do-it-yourself electronic kits. Their online store lets you buy DIY kits and offers free tutorials. The site has tons of learning material including blogs, videos and forums where makers can discuss their projects and clear queries. Adafruit has discarded the storefront model and leveraged the internet to offer a complete experience to the consumer.

These are a few ways Adafruit uses the internet to keeps their users engaged and widen their reach:

  1. Adafruit hosts a show-and-tell every week on Google Hangouts where people can show-off what they’ve built and get advice from others.
  2. They run a YouTube show called “Circuit playground” to teach kids about electronics.

The internet can be your biggest business ally. Have a look at the Adafruit website and a few other online stores to see what they have done right and could be doing better. If you’re not up to building your own website you can even let other e-commerce companies such as Amazon do your selling for you.


Erin Baker, Wholesome Baked Goods

Source: Vimeo.com

Erin Baker’s Wholesome Baked Goods is widely popular for their healthy Breakfast cookies. The business caught it’s first break when it caught the attention of Weight Watchers dieters who saw Erin’s breakfast cookie as a guilt-free way to add some sweetness to their diet. Within a year the business grew from 2 employees to more than a 100.

But then, things took a bad turn with the craze that followed the Atkins-carb diet . Erin’s company lost 60% of their distribution in 8 months. Knowing she had to figure out a new path for the company, Eriin decided to move away from the diet crowd and focus on people who would value the nutritional benefits of her products. Erin developed a bunch of new products like granola bars, mini breakfast cookies and brownie bites. Business is now back on track and Erin Baker’s Wholesome Baked Goods is more popular than ever.

So, if what you’re doing is not working, don’t hesitate to change tactics and try something new.

Alliances and Mergers

Morgan Williams, The Biochar Company

Morgan Williams, Director of Research for The Biochar Company, at the Hope Mine in Aspen, Colorado. Source: Inc.com

The Biochar company TBC, located in Pennsylvania, had a strong business network across the East while its competitor Biochar Solutions Inc., in Illinois, prospered in the West. For these two companies a merger was the perfect way to enhance their distribution network, share their knowledge and pool their supplier and customer relationships.

“The merger opens new doors for both teams to develop more effective products, hone in on market-driven services, and create powerful brand experiences,” says Morgan Williams, Director of Research at the newly merged The Biochar Company.

By merging, these two companies effectively eliminated a prime competitor and was able to save on supplies, shipping, legal fees and administrative costs. Learn more about TBC here.

Take a look at businesses in your area where there’s scope for an alliance or merger. Pooling resources may be the way to go.

Guerilla Marketing

Charity: Water logo

Source: charitywater.org

Even if your small business is making an amazing product it won’t sell if people don’t hear about it. With thousands of new businesses vying for the customers attention, it can be hard to separate yourself from the crowd. I suggest taking a leaf out of Charity Water‘s book. The NGO ,founded by Scott Harrison, was able to raise millions of dollars through their out-of-the-box marketing strategies.

Being aware of the doubts people might have when giving to a charity, Harrison built a model through which every donor can know exactly where their money goes. Photos and GPS coordinates were used to prove project activities to donors. This raised people’s trust in the NGO and encouraged them to donate more.

Charity: Water fund allocation report

A look at the company’s social media presence across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube shows an up-to-date social media presence keeping its audience constantly in the loop about Charity:Water. Some of those out-of-the-box ideas include;

1. Using great photography to tell the story of charity:water projects.

2. Sharing personal stories from the field, of people influenced by their projects through Instagram

Charity: Water Instagram post

3. Tie-ups with companies such as Tom’s Shoes and apparel company Bonobos to donate profits from sales.

Charity: Water Twitter mention

Quality products

Oren Bloostein, founder of Orens Daily Roast

“We cup for quality, we never cup for price. It’s always what the best coffee is on the table more than anything else,” Oren tells NYU Coffee

Oren’s Daily Roast started by Oren Bloostein in 1986 is one of NYC’s premier coffee roasters. Oren knew that his products had to be special to stand out from those offered at other coffee shops. As his website proudly proclaims “Oren took an innovative approach to coffee. On site roasting; small batches; fresh; proper roast color; highest quality green bean selection; straight unblended single origin varietals; proper brewing in store; quality brewing equipment and accessories; and respect for the entire specialty coffee supply chain beginning with the farmer and moving through many hands before arriving at the roaster.”

Coffee shops were already in abundance in and around NYC. But Oren’s dedication to providing his customers with the finest product is what took his business ahead of others.


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