There are a number of established methods of developing a Growth Strategy for any business that wants to scale. You can use one of a number of the following strategies:
- Market Penetration.
This is all about increasing your share of a specific market by selling to more customers in this market and / or more products to existing customers in this market.
- Market Expansion.
When you’ve reached a max in terms of market penetration, The obvious next step is to expand the customers for your offering. In short expand the Target Market. This is often accomplished by finding new uses for a product or service.
- Product Expansion
This growth strategy is all about adding new products or services that your existing customers want and / or need.
This growth strategy involves building or creating new products and new markets. Market research is critical here as you move away from your own area of expertise.
- Growth by Acquisition
And finally, the growth strategy where you expand your operations by purchasing another business.
Whatever growth strategy you choose to apply, you have to run your business in a way that it supports that growth. I’ve found that there are 10 Key Steps to keep in mind. If you can accomplish these you can conquer your chosen growth strategy.
1. Bring Your Vision Front and Centre
Its easy to get caught up in the operational aspects of the business, particularly when you are small or in the early stages of your business.
Don’t lose sight of the end goal and find ways to remind yourself what you are doing all this for.
Write it on a Whiteboard so everyone stays focused.
Make it your password when you’re logging into your online banking.
Put it at the top of every planning document you have.
Place it on your desk somewhere so every day you are reminded.
Ask yourself how can you keep your vision Front of Mind?
2. Summarise Your Growth Strategy in 3 Key Points.
It’s not enough to know where you want to go, you’ve also got to have a strategy to get there. It’s got to be clear.
It’s got to be simple and it can’t reside in a 40 page document that you presented to some funder or agency.
Make it yours.
Make it real for this year so you can act on it NOW.
What are the three key milestones that have to be achieved this year? It could be
- Build Top of Mind Brand Awareness with Segment X.
- Replicate Success with Customer Y with two other companies in a similar industry.
- Build the Web as a viable Sales Channel.
3. Keep Testing the Route to Get There
Remember you don’t always have all the information you need exactly when you need it and the sign of a great strategy is its ability to adapt to new information and opportunities.
At the end of each month, test what’s working.
What new information do you have?
Do you need to adjust your strategy, discard components of it, resource others?
Do you need to defer some ideas until you have sufficient resources to properly fund them?
Always, always build on what works and discard what doesn’t.
4. Prioritise Your Route
It’s a simple step but critical to success.
Do them in the right order.
Get the funding before you spend it.
Sign the contract before you act on it.
Moving too fast before the right things are in place can be as risky as moving too slow and missing an opportunity.
New opportunities will always come.
It’s the nature of business.
Get your ducks in a row first so you can take advantage of those opportunities.
5. Build a War Chest for Every Leap
For each significant move forward in the business; make sure there’s a war chest in place to fund it.
If you don’t, you’ll find that you will make up for that under capitalisation of time and money for a lot longer than you expect.
If you don’t have the war chest, don’t take the leap… or find another way to make the leap.
There’s more than one way to grow your business.
Think out side the box.
Do you really need to do it THAT way?
6. Perfect the Systems at each Stage.
Every time you grow the business there’s an opportunity to put processes in place that bed what you’ve learned deep into the heart of the business.
It can be how you price something, an induction manual, templates for X, Y and Z or something else.
Don’t leave these learnings as loose concepts.
Perfect them. Finish them and Get Ready to Move On, comfortable in the knowledge that what is behind you is solid and capable of holding you up for the next stage.
In the book ‘The Spirit to Serve: Marriott’s Way’ by J W Marriott Jr and Kathi Ann Brown you can see this in action with the Marriott Way to make a bed, set a table etc etc.
They created the manual for everything they do and this has contributed to their global success.
Michael Gerber’s ‘The EMyth Revisited’ also talks about this as being a pivotal ingredient for successful growth.
Don’t underestimate the value of the manual to support business growth.
7. Choose the Right People for Each Role
There’s nothing worse than being in a job you don’t like.
And if you don’t like it, the odds are you are not going to be very good at it.
Remember that when you’re hiring.
Be very clear about what each role is, why it’s there and how it fits with the business growth strategy.
What skills, personality and attributes does someone need to make this role really count?
Once you’ve got this, now start thinking about ‘who’ would be great for this role and start your hiring process.
Once that person is in place, make sure that there is an induction process so get up to speed fast.
Empower them to make the role effective and measure performance right from the beginning.
Act on performance successes and failures.
Reward what works and address what doesn’t.
Don’t be afraid to rehire if it’s not working.
8. Follow the Money
Measure It. Monitor It. Manage It.
What brings it in? What goes out?
Where’s the return?
Where’s the waste?
Now, act on the information and correct at every stage.
9. Make it True & Tell People
It’s your business. You know why you’re different. You know what’s unique about you.
Have the courage to make it true in everything you do.
Make what you do an art in itself.
Start to tell people about it. Engage with them. Build relationships with them.
Make them part of the ‘what you do’.
Make it great.
Make your marketing great!
10. Get the Balance Right. Now.
You can’t wait until you’ve achieved your vision to get life balance right.
This is a mistake most entrepreneurs make.
They sacrifice their life balance in the short term for a long term goal of achieving their vision.
This is one area that can’t wait.
Get Clever with Your Time Now.
Get Healthy Now.
Spend Time with Those you Love Now.
Engage in Other Interests Now.
Surround yourself with People you Trust and you like to spend time with.
The business is NOT all you are.
Live a Little. Laugh a Little.
The business will benefit from a more balanced you.
Photo Courtesy of Hanna Viellehner, Unsplash.com