Just like a bigger business, any side-hustle comes with its own set of challenges. But we need to embrace the challenges and work to overcome them if our goal is to grow the ‘hustle into something much larger.
The key to a successful business is committing to improvement and innovation, while being strategic in where your expenses go. Thanks to the internet, everyone now has the ability to run a side-hustle from home (or anywhere), with very little start up capital required. Eventually though, if your hard work pays off, it’ll come time to expand the small hustle into something much larger.
Keep reading for 6 things you should do to prep your side-hustle for something bigger.
#1 – Niche-down
“Niching-down” is a common phrase in start up language, and it means specialising in a small segment of the market only. When you specialise in something in particular, whether it be a product or service, it’s easier to be seen as an expert.
Attempting to “do it all”, or attempting to be all things to all people often means sudden death for those just starting out.
By focusing on a very particular niche, not only is it easier for you to position as the industry authority, you are able to funnel your marketing and promotions with laser-point accuracy.
Look at businesses such as Stylerunner (niche activewear) or Frank Body (coffee scrub) for inspiration.
Investment Firm Maxiron Capital, says “specialising allows you to target customers more directly when marketing, because they know exactly how you can help them. You will also automatically be endowed as an expert in your field. All these factors and more help you to deliver a better value proposition”.
#2 – Maximise the money
Finding new customers for your products and services is expensive and it’s difficult. Rather than continually searching for new customers, it’s smart to find ways to increase your sales to your already existing customers.
You can do this by direct marketing (always keeping in touch), and/or by expanding your offering (adding new products or services).
Simple ways to increase sales to already existing customers include: offering incentives such as volume discounts, loyalty discounts, and up-sells (suggesting complimentary products they can buy during the sales process.)
#3 – Expand your offering
Eventually, the time will come where you feel confident in offering a greater selection of products or services. You should only think of expanding your offering once you have nailed the formula for the initial concept.
You can listen to customer feedback to gauge what other needs exist within their lives, or conduct research to see what complimentary products or services attach nicely to what you are already selling.
Either way, you will need to market your new wares carefully, to inform existing customers – and keep them coming back.
#4 – Collaborate
Another way of growing a side-hustle into a big business is through partnering with an existing similar business. Look for a company that compliments your offering, and vice versa.
Not only will you learn from each other, you’ll be able to offer a more comprehensive solution to customers without each having to invest in that goal directly. Find a partner with plenty of experience, similar goals, and similar target market.
Think of successful collaborations such as Moncler x Valentino or Beyonce x Balmain for inspiration.
#5 – Hone those marketing skills
The world is already so saturated with marketing, that the savvy business owner needs to get creative in order to stand out.
There are many different marketing avenues available online today, both paid and free. Free examples include content marketing, social media marketing and SEO. Paid examples include Google Ads, banner advertisements and sponsored content.
The only way to know which kind of marketing works for your business is by trial and error, so if something does not work, drop it quickly and try a new marketing method.
#6 – Be present
All of the social media channels and advertisements in the world won’t help if you’re not present for your customers. Being ‘present’ helps to drive sales and it gives your customers an insight into your moves and the business’s personality. This includes being in regular contact with them and sharing your offers and opinions. Email marketing is the best way to do this, as it gives you direct and unfiltered access whenever you need it.
As email marketing can often be very time consuming, the email software CleverReach is useful. It includes an automation tool for sending emails on your behalf, so you can be ‘present’ with your customers without being chained to the computer.
#6 – Create a website that sells
In today’s world, you cannot run a successful business of any size without a website that’s optimised to meet your objectives. Beyond simply creating a website that looks attractive and is user-friendly, your website must perform like a champion behind the scenes.
Be sure to hire professionals to build in all the necessary components of your website if you’re not sure. There is no shortage of information on how to run a successful website online.