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Growing a business is no easy task. Whether you are running a small business or a huge multinational corporation, finding a safe seat on the roller coaster can be a real challenge. It's not just about tackling more projects, hiring Pro team members, and partnering with others.
Rather, a growth strategy is about business alignment and structure. More than that, to maintain sustainable growth, we need to know the right steps to take every step of the way. Finding a balance between realism and ambition is harder than most people think.
Are you satisfied with your current position in the market? If not, you need a growth strategy. Remember, growth strategies are nothing new to businesses. You can trace them back to the last few centuries. What is new are the practices, tools, and methods that have stood the test of time.
Here we will explain the concept of growth strategy, its typology, and how it differs from marketing strategy. We will also walk you through a step-by-step guide to creating a successful growth strategy for your business. Ready? Let's dive in.
A growth strategy is a comprehensive action plan that helps your business grow in specific areas such as revenue, brand awareness, and ROI over a period of time. Sustainable and successful growth strategies are specific, quantifiable, and realistic.
The growth strategy for each brand and company is unique. It depends on the services and products, the specific business objectives, and the resources available to implement the strategy. However, sometimes you include universal goals in your planning, like closing more lucrative deals, expanding your customer base, or optimizing the sale cycles.
But you shouldn't think of growth strategy as just a goal. It's more like a roadmap where you try different ways to generate more profit and improve your overall business performance. The practices and tactics you use to achieve your goals are just as important as the destination.
Depending on your business, products, and expansion capacity, your growth strategy may include one or more of the following options:
So, what does business growth look like in reality? Well, it depends. Here are 4 main categories of business growth:
In organic growth, you just create the right conditions for the company to expand by leveraging its own internal resources. Organic growth can include physical expansion of the work environment, expansion of the product offering, or optimization of the production line.
Let's take the last example. By optimizing the production line, you can make more products in less time, potentially increasing your revenue. Self-sufficiency is the core premise of organic growth. So you don't have to worry about debt or the challenges of integrating external resources.
Strategic growth often follows organic growth and focuses on developing long-term initiatives. In strategic growth planning, companies may find a way into untapped markets, target a new audience segment, or attempt to produce new inventory.
Strategic growth requires significant amounts of external resources and funding. But the initial outlay will pay off in future profits.
The internal growth strategy is about optimizing internal processes to increase revenue. The internal growth strategy is similar to organic growth because it focuses on internal processes. However, with the internal growth strategy, we sometimes need external resources to automate and optimize internal operations.
Mergers, partnerships, and acquisitions are growth strategies with higher risks and higher rewards. Typically, these strategies also involve some strategic and external growth planning. For example, a well-executed partnership can allow you to enter new markets, launch new products, or expand your target audiences.
Developing a growth strategy can be overwhelming. That's why few succeed! But if you've decided to take the first step, we'll guide you along the way. Here are 10 tips for developing a successful growth strategy.
It's impossible to develop a growth strategy for your business without knowing what you want to achieve. Without SMART goals, you cannot measure your progress or identify weaknesses in your strategic plan.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
So, expanding your customer base isn't a SMART goal! Why? Because it doesn't specify the timeframe, requirements, urgency, or achievability of the objective. A SMART goal is something like: Expanding your customer base by 20% in the next 6 months or converting 100 leads per month.
Even these may not qualify as SMART goals if you don't have the resources or know what methods and practices can help you achieve them. In short, a SMART goal must answer the exact questions "What? When? and How?" if you want to accomplish a business objective.
Let's be clear about something here: We don't discourage big dreams! You can have ambitious goals that motivate you to work harder. But you should note the difference. SMART Goals aren't meant to reflect your ambitious business dreams. But they do keep you on the path to long-term, sustainable growth.
Investing in tools and software that bolster your growth strategy is a no-brainer. However, finding the best tools can be challenging sometimes. For example, if you want to build brand awareness by generating quality content, you should start by creating a content calendar, designing an attractive website, and hiring professional writers.
To grow your customer base, you can also invest in social media platforms and publishing tools that allow you to automate publications during high-traffic periods. Automated email marketing and newsletter creation are other useful ways to communicate with prospects and nurture leads for conversion.
More importantly, you can use a growth strategy template to plan and document the steps ahead. But remember, you can't rely on a generic template to grow your business. So, feel free to modify each part, add new sections, and create a customized action plan that fits your business.
There are many free and paid tools and software on the market that can help optimize your marketing campaign. The core principle of growth strategy is to work smarter, not harder! So take your time and find out which tricks and tools can help you achieve your growth goals more easily.
A well-designed training plan for bodybuilding isn't only aimed at losing weight or gaining muscles. It determines which body parts, joints, and muscles need to be improved and how you should train them. Your business growth strategy isn't much different! It needs to clearly define which areas need more attention, investment, and improvement.
For instance, do you want to increase the number of your employees or expand your office and warehouse space? Do you want to branch out into new cities, regions, or countries?
Maybe you want to add new products to your production line. Or, perhaps you just need a better ROI and higher customer acquisition rate.
Sometimes, a business growth plan includes more than one of the above initiatives. Usually, you can even benefit from the spill-over effect when one initiative leads to growth in other areas that you weren't originally targeting. Nonetheless, clear direction is essential to keep your growth efforts zeroed in on a specific target area.
Notice that this step is different from setting SMART goals. Here you are not concerned with specific measures, tactics, timelines, and practices. You're simply prioritizing the target area or the overall direction of your company's growth strategy.
Making informed decisions is not a luxury when it comes to strategic planning; it’s a MUST-HAVE. Once you picked your growth area, you need thorough market research to understand all the possibilities, gaps, and opportunities in your niche market. Market research will determine whether your desired objectives are necessary and feasible.
You can run surveys, publish questionnaires, and set opinion polls on your website. Ask your existing and potential customers to share their opinions on the possible changes you are about to make. The knowledge and actionable data you uncover during this process help you transform your expectations into more realistic goals with reasonable budgets and timelines.
For any marketing plan or growth strategy, you need a thorough competitor analysis to understand your relative position in the market. The first step is to find companies that offer a similar product or service to yours. Put them into different categories based on the estimated number of customers, the exact nature of their solution to the needs of the market, the price, and the quality of their services.
Then categorize them again by type of competitor and indirect. Direct competitors are companies that are identical to you in all three areas: similar target audience, a similar solution to the same problem, and similar product category. Indirect competitors are those that are identical in only one or two areas.
Once you have identified your main competitors, it is time to do some background checks. The following information can help you analyze their market position:
You can easily get this information from official government sites, national business registries, and even from their website or accounts on social networks like LinkedIn.
The next stop is gathering financial and business information, including stock value, ownership, investors, acquisitions, and mergers. Competitors' financial statements should be readily available on the company's official website and business review sites like Trade Brains Portal or ICAEW.
Next, you need a detailed action plan that includes the outline of your growth strategy, action items, deadlines, responsible teams or people, and resources to achieve your growth goal. At this stage, you should involve all team members and strategists to determine the requirement for each objective based on your current information, market research, and competitor analysis.
For each objective, you will need specific resources that will help you meet your growth goals faster and more efficiently. Be sure to include a detailed description of three key items in your growth strategy plan: Funding, Tech resources, and Services.
Businesses need external capital investment or internal budget allocations to successfully execute their growth strategy. Make sure the financial resources are available for the project and plan an additional budget for unexpected expenses.
You may also need dedicated technological resources for the launch of a new production line and other initiatives. Finally, you can certainly use services like professional consultants, designers, or planners in a particular field.
Once your planning, resource allocation, and goal-setting are complete, you're ready to execute your business growth plan and achieve the results you want. Executing a plan effectively requires a combination of delicate tasks that requires teamwork and mutual responsibility. So, make sure you hold all team members, departments, and stakeholders accountable.
It's important that everyone is on the same page. To do this, you need to establish an effective and easily accessible communication channel so that everyone can share their thoughts and reports on work progress and get others' opinions on how to improve different areas with more efficient tactics.
During the execution phase, continually compare results to projected growth goals to determine if your initial objectives are still necessary and attainable. If not, don't hesitate to adjust your goals and growth strategy to reflect the new condition.
Once your growth campaign has been running for a while, you can start analyzing performance. For some projects and initiatives, you may only need a few weeks to see results. For others, you may need a longer period to actually see a difference.
Your initial SMART goals and predetermined timelines can help you make sure you are on track. For example, if you are targeting an internal growth strategy like inbound marketing or content marketing to expand your audience segments, you should be able to analyze your performance after two or three months and see results.
The important thing here is that you do not make hasty decisions. Before changing your current approach, make sure the problem is your tactics and methodology, not the unrealistic timeline. Having the big picture in mind can help you determine the effectiveness of each individual decision.
Let's say you've successfully launched a new branch in another country or reached your goal of converting 100 leads per month. This is a clear winning situation as long as your entire growth strategy is focused on that one purpose. If you want to maintain the goal of converting 100 leads per month for another 11 months, you need to be prepared to make constant adjustments to your strategic planning.
In addition, modern economics has taught us that every decision comes with a cost. If a branching strategy costs you a fortune or forces you to forgo other important objectives, you may need to rethink your future plans.
The best way to understand the net results of your growth campaign is to seek objective, professional opinions. Ask experts to closely examine the results of your new growth strategies and give you a detailed report on progress.
Once your initial analysis is done, collect all the important information and campaign results and use them as actionable data to optimize your next initiative. No matter how successful or unsuccessful your growth campaign was, you can always improve your next project.
Many marketing campaigns get stuck in the same old habits, hoping to get better results next time. Don't make the same mistake. Try something new. Use different strategies and methods. As long as your market research and resources can support your business objectives, you can try different venues and walk into uncharted territories!
Be sure to use reliable analytics tools and record all data, transactions, meetings, and decisions during a growth campaign. Your best resources are the lessons you learn through numerous trials and errors. That's what really counts as growth!
You want to grow your business, but you don't know how to get started. We understand you! We've been around the block for so long to know that building a growth strategy can be a real challenge, especially when you have no prior experience.
To some extent, a successful growth strategy depends on the right structure and a winning attitude. If the people working with you don't believe in the plan, the risk of failure is incredibly high, no matter how much money and resources you gather.
With a team of professional experts and a passionate marketing agency focused on growth, on the other hand, you can achieve more than you ever imagined. The combination of our technical knowledge, creative skills, and extensive marketing expertise has led to a steady track record of success for a variety of growth campaigns.
At JM&Co., we are ready to help you through an incredible and transformative journey to grow your company. Visit our services page and contact us for more information. We hope you found this article useful and if you did, make sure you also check our blog for more articles like this.
The art is building the right growth campaign. The science is in the results.