Business coaches generally agree that a company must grow to survive, and that growth requires a coherent and persuasive plan to move forward.
“If you don’t have a tangible plan, you’re actually losing business,” notes Entrepreneur, “or you’re increasing the chances of losing business to competitors.”
No one-size-fits-all growth strategy applies to every business. Fortunately, there’s a number of different approaches a savvy CEO or business owner can choose from. Here are five effective growth strategies, some of which may be combined to generate the ideal rate of growth.
1.Renew the focus on serving your customers.
Any high-functioning business has a strong sense of its customer base. But planning for growth should involve an objective re-examination of that base, since its needs, wants, and pain points are always in flux. Questions for you and your team include:
- Is our existing audience still comprised of our ideal customers?
- Are the products or services we offer still serving their changing needs?
- What new problems or challenges should our products strive to address?
- Are current and prospective customers prepared to pay our asking price?
The goal, notes Inc., is to “continue building products and services that are useful to the users and creating value for them.” Never lose that focus, “even when (especially when) success is kicking in and growing pains force you to focus more on your own operations.”
2. Identify gaps or shortcomings in your competitors’ offerings.
Every business has competition. The trick is, identifying where your business can exploit a competitor’s weaknesses or gaps in customer service.
Analyze how successfully your competition meets customers’ needs and where they fall short. Re-examine your own company’s differentiating factors to see if they still achieve the objective of setting your business apart in customers’ eyes.
3. Make a strong investment in hiring.
Businesses frequently view the recruitment and hiring process to kick in on a purely “as needed” basis.
To plan for growth entails a wiser, long-view strategy. Look for job candidates who demonstrate both a keen interest in your business and a personal ambition to achieve excellence in their careers. Some employers prize “potential” over past experience, because these new hires are eager to grow in their new positions and steadily assume greater responsibility over time. What’s needed from you and your executive team is the right type of guidance, training, and access to resources to make this happen.
4. Lower prices to boost market penetration.
A business with impressive sales in an existing market may reach the limits of its potential in that market. Deciding to increase market share in an altogether different mark could be the right spur for continued growth.
Identify a potential market where you see limited differentiation among products and assess chances for success by lowering your prices to that market—thus making a niche for yourself that grows in brand awareness as more customers flock to your “lower prices” differentiating factor.
5. Explore options of diversification.
Is there a reason your business can only manufacture certain products or offer certain services? A close look at opportunities to market a new and different product to a new and different audience might be an attractive growth option in your present circumstances.
This is one strategy businesses can’t blindly stumble into. It requires careful planning and deliberation, as well as comprehensive marketing research to determine the type of new product most likely to find a receptive target audience.
Exploring new strategies for growth should never fall on a CEO or business leader alone. There are simply too many choices and too many variables for one person to decide everything on his or her own.
Fortunately, with executive business coaching services like TAB, business leaders can propose and closely examine growth ideas with others who have grappled with the same issue. This peer group approach reduces the likelihood of making unnecessary strategic mistakes, while generating enthusiasm for fresh ideas and opportunities that one person alone might never imagine.
TAB members are committed to growing their own businesses, while also helping other members achieve the same goal. Learn more about how TAB can help your business grow.