More small business growth insights from GrowCo
Specializing to generate small business growth
Attending GrowCo is inspirational and motivating beyond measure. Although the speakers and presentations were all incredible, a few stood out for me, in terms of their small business growth stories. Founder of Drybar, Ali Webb, shared their unique growth story. Drybar is a specialized chain of hair salons, offering one specific type of service: blow-outs. Focusing their primary service offering has paid off, with Drybar now operating a successful chain of salons across the country. Beyond its super-focused offering, Drybar solves a significant problem that many women deal with. Rather than offering a service, or selling a product, Drybar’s focus remains keenly on solving a specific problem for their customers and creating remarkable customer experiences. Solving their customers’ problems, quickly and conveniently, Drybar then turned their attention towards imbuing a culture of customer loyalty, by implementing membership benefit programmes, and similar initiatives.
Online retailing is critical for small business growth
Later on at GrowCo, I sat in on a small session with two remarkable online retailers: Rachel Blumenthal from Rockets of Awesome, and Daniella Yacobovsky from Bauble Bar. Online retailing is accelerating at a remarkable pace in the USA, and small business growth opportunities are exploding. The most fundamental issue related to online retailing remains the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – the costs of advertising and marketing, used to attract customers to your online store, service, or product. In the online setting, this concept has begun to sophisticate the processes of customer retention and referrals, with small business owners looking for ways to stay in touch with their customers, without having to rely upon a larger company or platform.
Scale and Growth
Business owners often make the critical error of chasing growth, before they have scaled their business enough to cope with the demands of small business growth. Just as a child grows into an adult, and can therefore carry more weight as it grows, so too must a business be given the time and capacity to grow. Being able to re-build, re-engineer, and scale, your business at a rapid pace is essential. Notably, hiring great managers, with excellent growth management skills, is important.
South African business owners may believe that our business landscape is highly competitive, but competition in the USA is far fiercer. The small to medium-sized business landscape is made up of highly specialized niche offerings, who must meet the regulatory requirements for operating a business. Technology is wrapped closely into every business, whether operational or within its service delivery – failure to wrap technology into your business will lead to a competitor easily overtaking you.
Here again, the differences between the South African and US business environments is easily seen. Within South Africa, being able to access funding to invigorate small business growth is onerous, whereas in the USA, it’s far easier to get the money you need, once you’ve been able to demonstrate some level of traction. With multiple funding options available to small business owners in the USA, accessing capital is much easier.
From GrowCo to Chicago
Once we’d wrapped up our time in New Orleans, I headed to Chicago, to visit this all-important distribution point and essential meeting place. Meeting with keenly interested investors who are eager to buy up companies within Africa, I was struck by their long-term view: while the continent may seem somewhat unruly and difficult to invest in now, it won’t always be that way. Being able to lay claim to some element of the African marketplace now is a growing imperative for many keen-eyed investors.
Eager to find new ways to help your small business grow? Aurik can help.