Three-thousand small business owners gathered last month in Phoenix for Infusionsoft’s annual user conference. They represented just 10% of Infusionsoft’s customer base.
Not bad for a company that just opened its doors in 2002.
Infusionsoft, which publishes sales and marketing software for small businesses, has quickly grown to become a huge company. But, like most large companies, they began their journey as a small business just like its customers.
During their keynote address at the conference, co-founders Clate Mask and Eric and Scott Martineau leaned on that experience to share three small business growth lessons they learned while scaling their business.
1. Invest in marketing.
As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. After all, it doesn’t matter how great your products are. If people don’t know that they exist or can’t figure out how to buy them, then you won’t sell many of them.
Fortunately, you can invest in marketing without breaking the bank to hire Don Draper.
In their presentation, Infusionsoft’s founders stressed that investment is about more than just money. It’s about time too. Social media, email marketing, and blogging are ways you can start marketing your business when you have more time than money to invest in your growth.
2. Believe in follow-up.
Following up on personal introductions, emails and voice mails, and website inquiries is critical to building new relationships. This is especially true of sales relationships where the person contacting you has multiple options as to what, where, and from whom to buy.
Follow-up is not always easy. It takes time and discipline and, hey, we’re busy small business owners, right? That’s why it’s critical that you make follow-up a regular part of your routine.
Set aside a block of time to follow up with folks two or three times per week. Then use inbox zero principles to ensure those blocks of times are wisely spent.
3. Automate your processes.
Infusionsoft’s product helps small business owners automate some sales and marketing functions like email follow-up. Given that, it’s not surprising that its founders would highlight the importance of automation. Duh!
That said, there are ways to streamline repeatable, manual processes without buying a big software package like Infusionsoft. You can preschedule all your social media posts for the week in Hootsuite. You can set up email autoresponders in Mailchimp. The options are endless!
While we’re on the topic of getting more done in less time, you might like to check out these tips for maintaining peak productivity. The post covers everything from working with your body’s rhythms to using technology like CRM, email, and task management.
How much business growth do you want?
When I first learned about Infusionsoft, the company boasted just a few dozen employees and who knows how many customers.
Today, they employ hundreds of people in a beautiful new headquarters in Chandler, Ariz. And it has so many customers that hosting an annual user conference makes sense.
Is your small business headed in that direction? That’s really for you to decide. Some entrepreneurs want to take on Wall Street. Others are quite happy building a lifestyle business that supports them financially while offering the perks of being their own boss.
Whatever your motivation, you could probably use at least a few more customers. Learn from the business growth lessons of successful entrepreneurs like the guys behind Infusionsoft, and you’ll be well on your way!