Small Business Growth Strategy | 3 Tips to Lead the Way
Good Ol’ Benjamin Franklin stated “without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning,”. Take a moment and let that sentence sink in, ponder it, and think about how it applies to you.
Perhaps your organization is in a decline, stagnation, or growth phase within your business life cycle. Whatever the phase that you would classify your business, know that that phase can change. That you can move forward – if you choose to do so.
Keith McFarland, an Entrepreneur and former Inc 500 CEO, and author of The Breakthrough Company, described breakthrough growth is like a ladder. Each step within the ladder is climbing to a different level of organization growth (i.e. startups and small business, promising ventures, and breakthrough companies). Whether you want to continue to be a small business, but with greater revenue and marketshare, or if you want to grow your small business into a breakthrough company (i.e. McFarland describes that as leader in market-share and hitting home revenues in excess of $250M) you need to start with a growth strategy.
Every BIG company started small, so don't limit your growth possibilities based on where you stand today. Getting from where you are today as an organization, and where you want to be requires purposefully planned effort.
The following tips will help stir up the creative juices to inspire creating and implementing your growth strategy:
- Market Development. Knowing your best customers and target opportunities are huge to shaping your growth strategy. Part of that growth strategy is market development. Here, you identify your primary, secondary, and adjacent markets. You create a sales and marketing strategy for those markets. Customize, customize, customize. The key here is to take care of your traditional and longstanding, revenue generating markets, but to get out of your comfort zone and explore, identify, and market to new ones that could be not only provide a meaningful value to these markets, but could serve as an additional revenue and market streams.
- Know Your Customers. Seriously? Yes, seriously. You need to research, evaluate, and truly understand the demographics and psychographics of your target customers. Likewise, you need to evaluate
your market for missed target opportunities. Identifying those target opportunities could be a huge opportunity to capitalize on within your growth strategy.
- Product Development. This is a classic growth strategy for a reason. It works. This requires you to not only truly know your markets, but also challenges you to learn about new markets. Likewise, your products or services need to fit with those markets. You may not need to reinvent the wheel of your product, but you may need to reinvent the positioning strategy that shifts the product to target market. This could include: revamping your product lines, adding value added services, providing customization, and providing options that are outside of the box. You know your business. Sit back and think about “what can make my products or services better?”, “what can I do to create a greater value for my customers?”, “where can I expand, customize, or change my product or service to fit multiple markets?”.
These are simply 3 essential tips to aid you in stirring up your creative growth strategy juices. Combining these tips with additional analysis to your primary growth objectives, revenue streams (today and where you want to be), strategic relationships, and development of your key performance indicators will aid you in creating your growth strategy. Calvin Coolidge stated “all growth depends on activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” So, get ready, get excited, and go to work making your growth vision a strategy, and your strategy action.
Additional Great Reads About Growth Strategies…
Dahl, D. (2010). How to develop a growth strategy. Entrepreneur.
McFarland, K. (n.d.). The breakthrough company.
Moran, G. (2013). How to take your business to the next level in 2013. Entrepreneur.
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by Katie Doseck, Ph.D.
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC