By Simon Burkhardt, Managing Director of Vonage UK
When it comes to growing your business from a small start-up based at home or in a small office, to a fully established business, there are numerous ways to do it. Some of the best ones, which can often be overlooked, are through using a business blog, getting to grips with LinkedIn and making the most of telemarketing.
How to make telemarketing work for you
Telemarketing can be a powerful way of winning new customers and growing existing business, but targeting the right individuals is vital for small business owners whose time is precious. First off, businesses should make sure they have access to relevant, up to date data. There are dozens of companies who sell data lists to give businesses a head start, and owners should plan what they’re aiming for from the call before dialling.
When it comes to telemarketing, it’s a numbers game. The more people you call, the more often you’ll see a positive result. Try to set aside a few hours of your time so you’re focused on the task, or recruit a temporary telemarketer to support you.
Making the most of LinkedIn
Another smart way to grow trust in your business, and ultimately scale it up, is with LinkedIn - a powerful tool to maintain and build your business network.
It’s there so you can engage with your peers. It can be easy to feel isolated at times as a small business owner, but LinkedIn has a wealth of active groups and forums where you can connect with others facing similar business challenges. Make some time to explore and join those that will add value to the way you run your business.
Remember that LinkedIn should always be a work in progress. It’s most valuable when you’re connected to as many people as possible, so start cultivating the habit of connecting with new contacts shortly after you’ve met them in person — this will aid the growth of your business and really add help with strengthening those relationships.
It’s worth making the time to give them a call; it’s more personal than an online message and a necessary way of contacting people who don’t check their account regularly. Try signing up to a calling plan that will work for your needs; there are lots of cost effective call plans using VoIP, it’s just a case of finding the right one for you. Think ahead and aim for a certain number of conversations a month, then look for a plan that lets you make that many calls to UK landlines.
The importance of a blog
A great way of bringing your business to the attention of a wide audience, while communicating with your customers to find out what they want while highlighting your expertise, is by creating and maintaining a blog. Growing your customer base is essential to scaling up, and a blog is a free platform to provide those customers with information, help and advice that they wouldn’t otherwise have, and certainly wouldn’t associate with your business.
If you can create content that is interesting and useful to the people you want to reach on a regular basis, then you’re on your way to forging deeper connections with your existing customers, while starting to take your brand to a much wider audience — vital to scaling up.
How to keep the comms costs down
When scaling up, it’s key to be as flexible as possible so that the transition is easy and simple, and the business isn’t hampered by services and hardware that it has grown out of. You need small business technology that will grow with you and become part of your success.
A Cloud-based business phone system, which lives in the cloud and uses your internet connection, is perfect for companies that are scaling up. You'll get big company calling features such as auto-receptionists and multi-office operation, with no upfront costs. You can add and reduce users as you go, and call charges blow BT away.
It also means that making a number of telemarketing calls — both local and international — doesn’t have to be expensive. If you change your fixed-line phone system to a VoIP phone, you could save a fortune on calls without any need for complicated installation or a long-term contract.