A great product or service alone can’t guarantee long-term successful growth. They formed the foundation to get your business up and running, but growth needs to be maintained by action and development.
Businesses that seek to scale up and grow rapidly especially need to consider how they’ll make sure their growth is sustainable. There’s no point making big changes that can’t support themselves or you’ll end up little better than you are.
Strategize your growth
A strong growth strategy is needed to ensure your scale up is a success. You should now have a good understanding of your business and market. You can use this to plan how your business will grow.
Ansoff’s Box – or Matrix – is a very useful business strategy tool to help you decide what strategies you wish to pursue. It offers 4 families of strategies that combine different existing elements with possible new areas to expand into.
The less you change from your current operations, the less the risk posed by the strategies but the less you stand to gain from them. Trying something new always carries the risk of failing, but you could gain access to many more potential sales and become more resilient from them.
Each of these strategies works just as well for products or services. For the sake of readability, products will be used here. You can apply all of this to a service, though, if that works better for your business.
1. Deepen market penetration
Having a loyal portion of customers who prefer your products over others in the market is great. However, to maintain your position, you’ve got to stay ahead of smaller businesses, and to grow further you’ll have to compete against larger ones.
Deepening your business’s market penetration means facing this competition. Look at where you currently stand in your market to see how you can gain customers from your competitors.
2. Develop your products
As your business grows, you gain a lot more resources than you had when you started. You can take advantage of this by developing your products.
Even if your existing products are doing well, your business will generate more sales and retain more customers by offering more products that they want. If you offer more than one product people want, you have more opportunities to sell to them.
With people’s lives constantly changing, your customers may not always have the same interests and needs. Eventually, their needs may change, departing from what you offer. Keeping up with your customers makes them less likely to look for alternatives elsewhere.
3. Develop your market
You’ve established your product with your customers, and you know it works. A growth strategy you can use is expanding by selling your products to new markets. These could be different age groups, geographical areas, or segments of a larger market.
With market development, you’re expanding the pool of potential customers that you can sell to. You want to find a way that you can align yourself with their needs and wants, so that you can show them how your business will also bring them value.
Involving your customers can be very useful here. If they believe in your business, they can act as advocates to other markets they interact with, as well as helping you strengthen customer retention. If your market overlaps heavily with another, maybe you could find growth opportunities there.
4. Diversify your business
Although the highest risk strategy available, diversification brings a lot of potential benefits too. Instead of relying on the products or markets you already know, diversifying means taking your business somewhere completely new.
This doesn’t have to mean a complete change in direction, and you may find some options more accessible than others. Considering what new products could be easily produced with what you already own or what markets are easiest to step into could make the process easier.
Enough separation between the new and the old can make growth much more sustainable. Changes in one part of your business carry less risk when you’re supported by the other. Plan carefully, almost as if starting a brand new business, and you can maximize reward without too much risk.
Pursue what seems best
Tools can help you see what options are available, but in the end the decision is yours. Use the expertise of your Board to advise you on what options are most suitable.
Match the size of your change to the level of growth you want and stay realistic about what you can achieve. Remember that successful growth doesn’t come from rushing in unprepared, but from reasoned planning based on thorough research.
When expanding your business, you may find the support of a part-time Commercial Director useful. Boardroom Advisors offers flexible contracts to suit you for experts in their field.