Check it out what you will find on this article about growth strategies:
- Creating the foundation for business growth
- Tackling business growth strategies and determining the right fit
- Investing in business growth tools rounds everything out nicely
Data from the U.S. Small Business Administration shows that approximately 50% of startup companies stay alive for more than five years, with only a third making it to a decade. That’s a sobering reminder of how important it is for businesses, big and small, to invest time and effort in developing and implementing the right business growth strategies. Especially in an operating environment and market that is constantly becoming more and more competitive, and where customers are more informed and their tastes and preferences change all the time, businesses should be always looking ahead, anticipating and even creating opportunities for them to continue to be relevant, grow, and be successful.
Businesses should always look at the long game, not just the short one. It may be tempting, given that there will always be pressing needs at any given moment in the present, but business growth strategies make sure that your organization will be much more equipped to handle concerns and challenges both today and in the future. The right business growth strategies build on actions you take now and consider how they can benefit the company in the long run.
Creating the foundation for business growth
We like to say this a lot: It’s all in the mind. In an organization, there are multiple factors to consider and multiple stakeholders to think of, but it all starts with creating the proper mindset. It starts by getting everyone on board. And not through force or command — but by getting them to see the importance of what you are about (or want) to do, and how much you need their support to achieve those goals. You need to show how changes will ultimately benefit the organization and everyone in it.
That being said, here are couple of things you need to do before you go to deciding what business growth strategies to implement:
1. Ask the question, “What makes us different?”
It’s important to know how your brand is different from the competition. What sets you apart? What can you do or offer that others cannot? You need to look at the reasons customers prefer you over the competition — and vice versa. Being able to identify your brand’s unique value proposition is key to attracting more customers as well as strengthening your relationship with your current clientele. If you don’t have one, it would be best to delve into value creation as soon as possible.
Take Amazon, for example. It prides itself on providing excellent customer service; speedy, convenient and guaranteed delivery; and competitive pricing. Costco, on the other hand, markets itself as a place where its members can get better prices and deals because of its whole wholesale / bulk buy approach.
Knowing what makes your organization different is key to making your brand stand out in the sea of competition and get better noticed by new and potential customers.
2. Get a consensus — both in the c-suite and from other stakeholders
An essential element to making a company grow lie in its stakeholders. The c-suite’s decisions and thinking count by default, but the contributions other stakeholders can give is often overlooked. So consult with your stakeholders and see what they think — they’re the ones whose ears are closer to the ground, so their ideas on growth and what customers want are invaluable to any of the business growth strategies you want to implement.
3. Know your customers and assess your customer journey
Today’s customers are much more informed and much more knowledgeable about things, thanks to the Internet and social media. That means that they’re more in-tune about what they want and how they want things to be; not to mention that the same things also make it much easier for them to take their business to a competitor. Gone are the days where companies dictated trends — these days, it’s all about the customer. So, it’s important to be more receptive to customer feedback and invest more in solid market research. Equally important is the need to assess your customer journey, and identify the kinks that need ironing and the points you can improve on. Having the right customer data will guide you when it comes to developing and creating business innovation, as well as assessing the kind of business growth strategies that will work for you.
4. Set markers for growth
The goal here is simple: How would you measure growth? The purpose of having business growth strategies is moot when you have no means to measure if you’re making progress or not. Look at your business purpose, and identify the indicators for your business’ growth — and invest in resources for growing these indicators. Remember that this isn’t necessarily a one-time thing — it’s important to regularly assess these markers and make sure that they are still the right standard through which you measure your company’s growth and success.
5. Get the cream of the crop
From the most junior rank-and-file position to the highest position in the company, be sure to not skimp on getting the best people you can find. Business growth strategies are for naught if the people who will be in charge of making it work don’t fully understand the intricacies of making it work. Create a work environment that encourages innovation, creativity, and professionalism. Treat your employees well, and you’ll get not only good, talented people, but also loyal staff who’ll stick with the company through thick and thin, and will be better invested in driving the company forward towards success.
Tackling business growth strategies and determining the right fit
There is no one path to success and business growth; in fact, research by McKinsey and Company suggest that there are several paths to growing a business. The real key, it adds is having several initiatives that cover a broad spectrum of things, implemented in the right way and in the right sequence. “Moving your growth journey forward in a structured way will sidestep a common trap that we have observed: pushing growth and product initiatives almost haphazardly in hopes of jump-starting a strategy,” the research says.
It’s important to remember not to focus on just one strategy, but also, on the other hand, not to bite off more than you can chew. The good thing about business strategies is that you can do everything in stages, and you can pace yourself based on the data and resources the organization has at the moment.
Breaching new markets
One common strategy for growth is to see what new markets or customer bases you can tap. There may still be room for growth in the current market/s you operate in, or there may be none, but new markets are the richest in terms of opportunities for growth and can make a substantial contribution to the organization’s profitability.
Strengthening and increasing market share
At the same time, a company can also choose to entice customers away from the competition and / or tap into new prospects in the market it operates in. This needs a close examination of the competition to determine what you can do and / or offer to top that. One very common method is through lowering prices to make your brand stand out more. Clever marketing can also make potential customers realize what they’ve been missing. For example, a financial institution offering credit cards is losing potential customers to a rival because of the rival companies’ perks for the card holder. And while the company’s credit card offering offers the same perks (and more), it needs to communicate that to customers and get the word out.
Diversifying product and / or service offerings
The caution here is to remember what we said at the beginning: don’t bite off more than you can chew. This is why it’s important to have as much customer data as possible — anticipating and knowing customers’ needs allows brands to expand their service and / or product line, and thus giving customers what they want and need. Expanding your portfolio of products and services mean more business from current customers, and opens new doors for potential new customers to see what you can offer and become new additions to your clientele. And backed up with the right customer data, this growth strategy has the potential to be VERY successful.
Absorbing other companies
This is another common strategy where organizations basically snap up other companies. It may be a smaller competitor, or it may be a company whose technology or systems can augment or improve what you have at the moment. This kind of growth strategy is advantageous because in the case of improved systems, the company will immediately have new technology to utilize, instead of spending both significant time and money on developing a completely new on. Acquisitions can also serve to eliminate competition and / or tap into new markets by keeping the acquired brand operational and thus keeping its customers as well. What’s important to remember here is to be picky with what other organizations to acquire, and to conduct the proper due diligence and making sure that the acquisition will not suddenly saddle you with unwanted or unmanageable issues.
Investing in business growth tools rounds everything out nicely
This is why business growth tools like the ones from Runrun.it are so important. One of its most useful products is a smart time keeping tool. This particular tool not only enables users to have access to basic timekeeping tasks and functions, but also provides you data on how individuals and teams are spending their time. You’ll be able to glean how much time (on average) a particular task takes before it sees completion, for example. You’ll be able to see how teams and individuals are spending their time, and what particular projects are the most time-consuming. And we’re just getting started. More real-time data can be accessed and generated by the Dashboard tool. These kinds of data allows managers, leaders, and decision-makers to determine the right steps to improve workflow and productivity, get in front of potential errors and missteps, enables teams and individuals to have more transparency and better communication, which in turn encourages improved collaboration. To see how these and Runrun.it’s other intuitive and customizable business tools can improve the way you organization works and contribute to its growth, check out the free trial here.