Business Growth Strategies: Everything You Need to Know
Build a brand and generate more revenue with these proven concepts.
Growing a business can be tough, intimidating, and at times, down-right discouraging. Even though 7 in 10 businesses survive their first couple of years, only 20% stay open for a decade or more.
Having a business growth strategy is important. But what matters even more is having one that:
- leverages your strengths
- is practical to put in place
- works for your budget
In this article, you will learn about some of the most effective growth strategies used by businesses of all sizes.
Build Your Brand
Every business has unique characteristics that influence how people perceive it. These characteristics are tangible and intangible and work together to form your brand.
Successful businesses create a brand that helps them grow.
Developing a business growth strategy begins with what you do best and the people you help most. Your brand bridges the gap between the two.
To illustrate this, I’ll use some well-known brands.
What comes to mind when you think of Harley-Davidson? Perhaps words like independent, bold, and freedom characterize this brand.
Now think of Mercedes-Benz. It’s likely that you thought of a completely different set of words. Maybe luxurious, expensive, and high quality best describe them.
This exercise demonstrates how feelings and impressions come to mind the moment you think of or see a brand.
Whether you know it or not, your business already has a brand. That brand is attracting people to it or pushing them away.
So, what does this have to do with business growth strategies?
Your brand must align with the type of business you want to build and the customers you want to attract.
Here are a few examples of how branding impacts a business:
1. Consistent branding has been linked to an increase annual revenue, by as much as 33%.Source: LucidPress
Because consistency confirms authenticity in the minds of consumers. This supports the belief that the business is genuine and trustworthy. Both are critical drivers in sales.
2. The colors that represent your brand will have a positive or negative impact on sales.Source: Institute for Color Research
People assess the content they see within 90 seconds and determine how they feel about it. Most of that impression comes from color.
3. People want to buy from businesses that share their values. Six in ten stated that their interest in a company comes from having similar values.Source: Harvard Business Review
These values are a part of your brand. Communicating them to your audience attracts the customers you can help the most.
To create a brand, focus on the following:
These are traits and characteristics of your company. These can be tangible or intangible and are how people see your business.
For example, low prices and quick delivery are tangible identifiers. Portraying a bold and prestigious image are intangibles.
This is most common brand component and the one most people associate with branding. Your business’s visual identity consists of your logo and other imagery. It should be professional, support the image you want to create, and align with your audience.
In addition to a logo, an example of a visual component is typography. The typefaces you use will influence the perception people have of the content they read.
While there are other typefaces, these are the most common. The first (serif) feels traditional and elegant; the second, clean and modern.
A typeface is only one element that contributes to a business’s brand, but you will use several.
Many business owners don’t realize that their customers also contribute to their brand. After all, it’s true that bird of a feather flock together. People with whom you associate, including customers, influence how others see your business.
Identifying your “best” customers will help maximize business growth strategies. Many companies go after anyone who will buy from them. But having a qualified target market is essential. These people are more likely to value what you offer, need it most, and will be more willing to pay your price.
Sometimes, understanding your target market is difficult. Many small businesses don’t have enough data to analyze competitors or target market.
Analyzing your niche will provide a clearer picture of who your target customers are. You can adjust as you acquire more data.
Finally, consider your goals. Do you want to open multiple locations? Offer digital products? Sell the business in ten years?
Don’t hold back. Write down everything you want to do and rank it in order of most to least important. This will help you evaluate every step in your business growth plan.
Think of your goals as a compass that guides you in every decision.
Business Growth Strategies
A business growth strategy is a plan designed to boost short- and long-term profit. There are an endless number of ways to generate growth, but most fall into one of the categories below.
Create New Products or Add-on for Existing Customers
This is a way to grow revenue without investing too much in the unknown. Your customers have already purchased something from you. Now, there may be other things you can give them that they would buy.
How do you know? Ask.
Survey your customers and find out what they want that you aren’t currently giving them. Then, explore whether you can create those things with reasonable cost. Not everything will be viable, but some will.
This may also provide opportunities to tap into other target markets.
Sell to Other Markets
If you feel that growth in your primary market space has leveled off, it may be time to explore new ones. Develop other uses for your product or service and explore who may be a good fit for them.
For example, an auto body repair shop may consider doing work on boats as well. While there are some differences, similarities may make it feasible.
Creating strategic partnerships with “should niches” is an effective growth strategy. A shoulder niche is an industry that can common threads without much overlap. An example of this is a dog kennel and a veterinarian.
Forming these partnerships allows both businesses to quickly expand their reach. Of course, you must make sure that any business you partner with align with your brand.
Become a Supplier or a Distributor
Many small businesses rely on suppliers to provide parts or services. For example, you may own a furniture store and rely on a third-party shipping company to deliver your good. But what if you bought a truck and started making your own deliveries?
This would reduce expenses while bringing in extra revenue from delivery fees.
Likewise, distributors may help you get new customers. For instance, you may be a flooring installer and get customers from a local store. However, you could decide to start selling the flooring yourself. This would make you the distributor and installer.
While these can be lucrative growth strategies, they can also damage existing relationships. So, plan carefully if you decide to take either of these routes.
Other Business Growth Strategies
Now let’s look at some simple growth strategies that are easy to use. You can start implementing these today without much effort.
Strengthen Your Value Proposition
Having a unique value positioning statement (or UVP) is nice, but it won’t convince anyone to buy from you. In fact, UVPs are more important for the business than customers.
Instead of telling them, show your customers why they should buy. Of course, this is easier said than done.
So, how do you show people you’re the best choice?
Lean on your brand, communicate consistently, and demonstrate your expertise. Prepare case studies or other research that support the quality of your product.
For physical products, quality is often determined by its exceptional performance. This includes, but isn’t limited to, the way it is made, how long it lasts, and whether it is free from errors or glitches.
For services, quality is tied to expertise. The better you are at what you do, the more people will pay you for it. But it’s up to you to educate them on the value you offer and how you provide it.
Make It Personal
In an era of automation, providing “high touch” service is a unique differentiator. To be more efficient, many businesses are automating customer service processes and responses. While this helps the business, it turns customers off.
Move conversations from texts and emails to video or phone conferences as soon as possible. Be careful not to rush people into this, but extend the offer right away, always willing to move at their pace.
Provide a Free Trail
This strategy is simple: give away a small part of your product or service for free. When they discover how great it is, they will pay for more.
Give your customers incentive to promote your product or service to a friend. For example, you could give them a 10% discount when they buy if they sign up someone else for a free trial.
Get Social Proof
Reviews have become a powerful source of reference. Chances are, when you want to buy something, you look at how many reviews it has and its rating. The product with the most ratings and stars often gets the sale.
But as important as reviews are, most businesses aren’t proactive about getting them.
Here are some tips to help you get more reviews:
- Collect emails during billing and follow up in a week to ask for an honest review.
- If you have a store, hand out brochures or cards that include a link to your review page.
- Make it a habit to mention it at every opportunity.
- Put review reminders on your website.
- Use social media to ask for reviews.
- Respond to all reviews, positive or negative.
Before you move forward with any growth strategy, make sure it aligns with your brand. Consider your resources, capabilities, and target audience too. Once you have a plan in place, execute one step at a time and avoid taking on too much at once.
If you have any questions, email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,
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