How to create a business growth strategy (step-by-step)
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The goal of most businesses is to grow their company. A well-designed business growth strategy can help to ensure that a business grows in terms of its sales and profits. If you're planning a career in business development, it's important to have an understanding of the steps you can take to grow the business, ensuring its long-term success. In this article, we discuss the importance of a business growth strategy and outline the steps you can take to implement this type of strategy.
Why could you create a business growth strategy?
If you want to create a business growth strategy, it's important to understand why businesses use them. A business growth strategy is a plan that businesses develop and use to increase a certain part of their business. Some companies may want to increase their sales, while others may want to grow their online orders. Business growth strategies are important as they can help companies to grow and stay successful. It can also help businesses to stay ahead of the competition, increase profits and generate more sales, all of which are important parts of creating business success.
How to create a business growth strategy
If you're planning on running your own business or plan to work as a business developer or strategist, here are some steps you can take to create a successful business growth strategy:
1. Identify the business' value
Every business ideally has a quality that makes them different from the competition, as this is what encourages customers to buy from their company over others. To begin a growth strategy, it's important to first understand why your customers choose you over your competitors. Consider whether it's because of your customer service, the product itself or another factor. Understanding what differentiates the business from the rest can serve as a starting point to creating a business strategy that can encourage new clients to the company.
2. Find your target audience
After you determine what makes the company stand out, think about your target audience. Most businesses already have a deep understanding of their target audience, but if not an easy way to determine your target audience is to look at the customers you currently serve. Consider whether they have any similar characteristics. A deep understanding of the target audience can help a business growth strategy to succeed because it ensures that you're targeting the right people when you're creating your strategy.
3. Understand your revenue streams
Another step you can take before you create a growth strategy is to understand all of the business' revenue streams. Take a look at the areas of the business where a lot of revenue comes in, in addition to the streams that are not as profitable. By understanding your revenue streams, your growth strategy can centre around a specific area that is not as profitable, allowing you to work to improve this revenue stream. You can also take into consideration any products that are in development and the predicted revenue streams from these.
4. Analyse the competition
A knowledgeable understanding of the competitive landscape is imperative to business success and can help to create a successful business growth strategy. Look at the companies who are in direct competition with you and analyse their unique selling propositions (USPs) and their strategies for growth. Once you understand what your competitors are doing, you can use this information to decide what changes the business could make to increase your market share.
5. Work out your area of growth
Once you conduct your research, you can then decide which area of the business that you want to grow. Some of the most common growth areas that businesses choose include:
increasing the number of employees
increasing profits or revenue
increasing online orders or online presence
launching a new store
adding more products or services
Having a detailed and clear idea of where you want the business to grow can help to ensure that the business growth strategy is well-structured and can increase the likelihood of the success of the growth strategy.
6. Research the market
Another way to ensure your growth strategy succeeds is to research current market conditions. Consider asking customers to participate in surveys, or consult a professional who can help you to understand the market better. Once you have the facts of the market, you can use this information to determine where to direct your growth strategy, and the budget you might require to dedicate to grow in this market. For example, if the market is competitive and robust, you may spend more to attract customers, as there may be a lot of other businesses vying for market share.
7. Set growth goals
Once you decide the aspect of the business that you wish to grow, you can then decide on the specific goals of the strategy. A strategy without clear objectives may be less likely to succeed as you may aim for goals that are not realistic or achievable. When determining your goals, consider the SMART method. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely and is a goal that is specific, achievable within the current market conditions and is relevant to the business success. By following the SMART goals, you can help to ensure the success of your growth strategy.
8. Create your growth plan
Once you determine the specific growth goals that you want to achieve, the budget you can designate for this strategy and the amount of time to spend on this strategy, you can set a specific growth plan. A good plan contains a lot of detail and all the action items to complete to achieve the desired growth. To do this, create a plan for each department or each employee. Work out who is responsible for each task and the time each task takes. You could also write a list of resources that you need for your growth plan.
9. Implement your strategy
Once you're sure that your growth strategy is detailed and achievable, you can then implement your strategy. Consider holding a team or company meeting to announce your growth strategy and advise everyone to do their best to aid in this growth. If you do not have individual tasks for each employee, you may want to send out a list of the steps they can take to help the company achieve their growth target. Give the growth strategy time to work before you start to analyse results and make judgement calls, as most growth goals take time to generate results.
Related: Guide: What is strategic planning? (with benefits and steps)
10. Analyse your results
Once your growth campaigns and strategies have been running for a while, take a significant amount of time to analyse your results. Some results may be easy to determine. For example, you may be able to see how many online orders you have received as a result of your growth strategy and you can easily compare this to the orders from the previous month. Some results may be more difficult to determine. Therefore, it may be a good idea to use analysing tools to help you work out the success of your strategy.
It could also be a good idea to take into consideration any areas of the growth strategy that haven't worked so well. For example, maybe your strategy to grow your email marketing subscriptions didn't work. Rather than giving up, take the time to analyse why it didn't work. Perhaps you targeted the wrong audience, or perhaps you didn't utilise your social media channels effectively. The more you analyse your results, and the more you use the feedback from this analysis, the better the business growth strategy may succeed in the long run.
Related: 9 essential business analyst skills
11. Update your growth plan
A successful growth plan is a long-term strategy. Once you analyse how well your strategy is working, it's important to regularly update your strategy to ensure a greater chance of success. For example, if your analysis details how your social media strategy is not helping to increase your sales, revisit your content plan. If you notice any flaws, take the time to update your strategy. A successful growth plan has the goal of continuous improvement and if you want the company to keep growing, update and revisit your strategy every time the company grows or changes.
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