Do you find yourself working longer and longer hours at your business without a large financial return on your time investment? Are you becoming increasingly discouraged by the growing responsibilities of your business, even though running it is what you love? Has your revenue growth taken its foot off the gas?
Business growth strategies are critical for companies both large and small, no matter what your long-term goals are. Putting off the development of your strategy can cause major headaches (not to mention a huge potential loss in revenue.)
Why Business Growth Strategies Matter
Business growth strategies facilitate the expansion from startups to small companies, small companies to mid-size companies,mid-size companies to large corporations, and so on and so forth. However, even if you don’t want your business to get too big, you’re still going to want a growth strategy. In addition to growth, a successful plan allows a company to reap the greatest results with the least amount of risk and effort. Sure, some strategies require a fair amount of risk, but the opportunity for growth is equally great. In addition, many businesses choose to begin implementing low-risk strategies and then move on to more aggressive strategies as necessary.
From Atrophy to Acceleration: Strategies for Business Growth
One of the least risky but greatly effective strategies for growth is to simply sell more of your “stuff” to your current customers. The basic premise is this: your customers love your existing products, so how do you get them to purchase a greater amount? It’s the same tactic that soft drink companies used. First, they sold the six pack. Then, there was the twelve pack. Now, it’s soda by the case. Tomorrow? Who knows– but if they’re working on more market penetration, customers may soon be buying soda by the truck-full. There are several ways to accomplish more thorough market penetration— from price adjustments to increased promotion opportunities.
If you already have good market penetration, it may be time to delve into an adjacent market. In other words, you may be able to sell more of your goods or services by expanding your current market boundaries. Push past city limits and state lines to introduce your products to people who haven’t yet heard of them. It might take some investment in new consumer education (with some great content), but that’s nothing a good inbound marketing campaign can’t handle.
Look to Alternative Channels
If you can’t grow your business in the grocery store, take your products to the craft goods store. That’s called finding an alternative channel, and it’s worked for many venerable companies, including Hormel. When Hormel needed to sell more SPAM (because who doesn’t need more SPAM?), the company found a substitute channel for its processed-meat product by painting the label camouflage and selling it to men and women who hunt. The strategy became known as “SPAMouflage.” It was an ingenious way of finding an alternative channel, and a successful experience from which your business can take a cue.
Product development is one of the tried and true business growth strategies that continues to stand the test of time. With this strategy, your company develops new products to sell to current customers who already love what you’re making, as well as new consumers who already fall within your target market. Product development as a growth strategy is the reason consumers get to enjoy both the original Dr. Pepper and the Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. And for an extreme (but delicious) example, consider the new SodaStream systems.
New Products for New Customers
Sometimes the economy, consumer trends, the climate, and other uncontrollable factors require you to create new products for a previously untapped market in order to grow your business. In these cases, you may want to take direction from companies like Polaris. After years of making snowmobiles in Minneapolis, Polaris was faced with several mild winters and less than stellar sales. As a response, the company decided to develop and manufacture their own four-wheel all-terrain vehicles for lovers of summer activities. Now, Polaris sells both snowmobiles and four-wheelers.
Implementing Business Growth Strategies: Communication is Critical
Be brave: try out a new business growth strategy (or two, or three..) and see how it goes. No matter which of the many approaches you decide to employ, one thing is certain: you’re going to need to communicate well with your key audiences if your strategies are to succeed. After all, if consumers don’t know you’re out there or how you can help them, why would they buy your products?
This means developing a robust inbound marketing program. Blog. Create videos for your website. Create high-quality content that your customers and prospective customers can’t live without. And then tell them about your new endeavors– and watch your company grow!