Better Business Bureau suggests 5 out-of-the-box ideas to help grow your small business

As a small-business owner, you know that you should constantly grow to succeed in the long term. You also know that small business growth can be challenging, requiring you to make strategic decisions about spending your time and money.

Small business owners can take their business to the next level with several innovative ways to improve growth. To help you achieve success for your small business, consider five out-of-the-box techniques.

Diversify your offers. When you first start your business, you likely have limited products/services available to consumers. While this is a smart move when establishing yourself, you eventually need to diversify your offerings to reach a wider audience. Adding complimentary products/services to your lineup is a great way to start this process. These kinds of offers not only will appeal to your current customers, but also will attract new shoppers interested in giving your products a try.

Be adaptable, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. As a small-business owner, you need to anticipate trends in your niche and remain flexible to keep up with the ever-changing world of business. This is especially true as you begin to grow. Changes in the market, technology, and consumer interests can affect your bottom line significantly, and you need to be able to adapt.

Therefore, avoid becoming too rigid in your business practices. Remember to always be open-minded while staying true to your core values. If you have sources that can provide counsel or need a little advice, never be afraid to ask for help.

One of our BBB’s great partners is SCORE Chicago. This is a large agency of retired executives from all areas of business who are happy to give feedback and answer questions for free. Reach out when or before you need it; remember, even Michael Jordan needed a coach.

Practice social responsibility. More consumers are looking to support local businesses than ever before. You need to be active in your community to capture their attention and maximize your small business growth.

Social responsibility can come in various forms, including promoting public awareness about a specific issue, or for a local nonprofit or charitable cause in your area.

Many business owners find great pleasure in connecting with the community by volunteering or by supporting a local sports team that your customers enjoy. Whatever route you choose, you want to ensure it represents your brand’s values and aligns with your business goals.

Low-budget, high-impact marketing. To grow your business, you must find new ways to reach customers and increase revenue. In addition to content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), a viable strategy worth exploring is cost-per-action (CPA) marketing. This is an affiliate marketing technique wherein you earn a small commission every time a customer completes a small task, such as filling out a form, downloading a PDF or clicking on a link to an affiliate partner.

CPA marketing benefits small business owners because it allows them to send a one-time, high-impact message to a small group of customers without investing heavily in digital marketing campaigns. It also allows you to reach customers in a highly targeted and personalized manner, which is ideal for converting leads into paying customers, as 90% of U.S. consumers find personalization in marketing to be very appealing.

Know your limits, and don’t be afraid to take breaks. Finally, when running a successful, scalable small business, you must be able to take breaks from working. The business world is incredibly competitive, requiring you to put in hard work every day, so don’t underestimate the importance of occasionally stepping away from your business to reset.

If you’re not careful, you’ll burn out, which can be fatal to a small business. Always make sure you are taking enough time for yourself. Recharge your batteries and refocus on why you started your business in the first place.

• Steve J. Bernas is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau and can be reached at

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