Did you know that only half of all the startups survive for more than five years? Did you know that only one-third of them go as far as ten years? If you want to be one of those brands, what do you need to do to keep your company stable and sustainable? The simple answer: make sure that you develop a growth strategy for your business. That’s the only way to do it. If your business doesn’t grow, it stagnates and runs the risk of becoming obsolete. At the rate technology is evolving, you have to keep yourself up to date with what’s going on. Also, you have to implement the latest technology and trends before the competitors, so you have a chance of going ahead and leaving them all behind.
But what does a growth strategy involve? Sure, everybody imagines long-term success and more. But what does that really mean? It means that if you don’t have a practical, functional, and tangible growth plan, you are actually losing your business. Soon, your competitors will take over, and you will be left behind. Creating a growth plan is not easy. It has to be deliberate. You have to sit down and figure out the rate of growth. You have to figure out how much you are going to invest.
Your growth plan may include dominating the targeted social media channels to capture more customers and bring the existing ones closer. You may plan out a digital marketing strategy that involves SEO, social media, email marketing, content marketing, and more. You may find out that you need more link building or keyword research to make it all happen. That is just one aspect of it. You need to take these steps to create a viable growth plan for your business.
1. Establish a value proposition
If you want long-term growth and sustainability, you need to find out what sets you apart from your competitors. Why should the customers come to you for your products and services, and why not your competitors? How can you solidify your credibility in the market? What is it that makes you relevant to your target audience? The answers to these questions will lead you to the unique value proposition you have to offer your customers.
For example, some brands rely on “authority.” Think of Walmart. They have the market segment cornered when it comes to competing on price. They are the authority in that segment. Others are an authority at providing a product that no one else provides, like organic foods and more.
Similarly, you have to figure out what it is that only you can provide. Forget everything else. Forget the fact that your product or service is similar to your competitors in so many ways. Just look for the one thing that makes you stand out. The sooner you do that, the faster you can grow. Otherwise, you will run the risk of devaluing your business.
2. Identify your ideal customer
When you started your company, you wanted to solve a specific problem. That problem belonged to a particular audience. Who is that audience? Look at your target audience now and check if they are the ideal customers for your products and services or not. If they are not, then find out who you are serving and why. Also, find out your perfect customer—the customer who actually needs the solutions that you provide. Once you find that out, you can adjust your business to target that audience and grow your business.
3. Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
When you are talking about change, you have to make sure it is measurable. Otherwise, chaos will ensue. How will you find out if it is effective if you don’t have a way to measure it. Your KPIs will help you monitor and measure the effectiveness of the change. Find out what those KPIs are and invest your time, money, and effort into them. Make sure that you have both lagging and leading indicators that you can use to measure your success. Lagging indicators measure your company’s performance in the past. Leading indicators tell you about the future.
4. Verify your revenue streams
Find out what your current revenue streams are. See if you can add to them. If you can add to them, what are the new revenue streams? When you find a new and potential revenue stream that you can add to your business, ask yourself if you see yourself doing it in the next five or ten years. Is it sustainable? You might have an excellent idea for a product, but you find out that it’s not what you were looking for when monitoring its revenue stream.
5. Look to your competition
An excellent way to find out your revenue streams, ideal customers, and value propositions is to look at the competitors. They are offering the same products or services that you are. They are in the same market and targeting the same customers. Observe your competitors and find out what they are excelling at that you are still working on. See if your competitors are showing extraordinary growth and find out what they are doing to get it. Never be afraid to go for a consultant and asking for guidance and advice. See what changes the competitors have made and ask yourself, why? Can you do the same? Would it be profitable for you if you mimic them in this regard? Many of us assume that we are smarter than our competition. Most of the time, it is this assumption that stops us from growing. Also, make sure that you don’t copy your competitors all the way. No two businesses are the same, and copying their entire strategy might be your downfall. Focusing on your goals and checking your competitors are one of the best practices for your business success, successful business brand owners like Deep Patel know this too well.
6. Focus on your strengths
Find out what your strengths are. Do a SWOT analysis and figure out your company’s strengths and weaknesses. You have to work at both. But make sure that you pay the same attention to your strengths as you do to your weaknesses. Most businesses are happy with their strengths and only focus on improving their weaknesses. That is how they miss the opportunity to become something extraordinary and remarkable.
7. Invest in talent
You are only as good as the employees you have. They are the ones in direct contact with your customers. They are the ones making everything happen every day. You have to make sure that you have the right employees who are motivated, invested, and inspired to work with you. Don’t think about better furniture, annual holiday parties, or anything like that when you know you have to focus on your employees more. Pay them good salaries and keep them comfortable.
Creating a strategic growth plan for your company is not an easy task. Also, it doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all box. The growth plan for every business is unique to that business. You cannot develop a plan based on the success of someone else. So, learn from others, but in the end, make sure that you create a growth plan that has all the essentials for your business and is sustainable. Also, it’s not a one-time thing. You have to keep on working on it. You have to make the necessary changes, refine the strategies that suit your company and your customers, and implement them accordingly.