From tiny acorns grow strong, solid oak trees. For the sturdy, robust oak, upward growth is its primary goal and the same could be said for businesses. Whether your objective is to grow rapidly at breakneck speed leaving your competition in the shade, or something perhaps a little slower and more organic, it’s not going to miraculously happen on its own!
When it comes to achieving the kind of growth your business needs, it requires resources, foresight and effort. It’s not always the size of the acorns that define the size of the tree; it’s how they are nurtured and developed right from day one.
So, what’s your plan?
Even the most organic growth is rarely achieved without a plan in place for the business to follow; so what’s yours?
In short, a growth plan needs to be your bible, your owner’s manual and your one-stop resource for everything that could help or hinder your business’s growth. Identify your current resources, market, achievements and your objectives for all of these over a specific period of time (yes, all of them!); as well as the methods that you’re going to use to get there. This can be a time-consuming process, but putting the effort in at this stage will be worth it – trust us.
Tips for how to grow your business
There will of course be literally hundreds of ways people ‘in the know’ will tell you to grow your business – some of them will be bang on the money, others may be utterly useless to you – but generally speaking, the best route to growth for you will depend on your current market position, resources and products or services.
Consider exporting – can you expand into international markets to create a whole new income stream for your business? This option does require time and resources but is a very effective way to grow your business for the long term.
Innovate your offering – the key here is to uncover and promote new uses for the products and services that you already make or offer. If you’re able to find a new angle to what you do then you can grow into a new market and go onto expand your customer base.
Access new finance – Whilst this is not going to be for everyone, you might want to consider looking for investment or a business loan to give you the resources to fund growth. If you’re a brand new business then peer-to-peer lending and guarantor loans might be a better choice.
Ramp up your business development efforts – ask yourself, where can you divert resources to deliver a real return on investment in terms of profile, new business and reputation? This could be attending trade shows, paying for social media support or positioning your business as a niche specialist. Yes, it may be spending out on real life networking, hosting client events or working with a new marketing partner, but business development can reap great rewards when it comes to growing your customer base and profits, so regardless of your industry or business circumstances, give this area some serious consideration.
It’s Always Good to Talk!
Of course, one of the fastest ways to grow your business is to expand the number of customers that you sell to – simple, right? When looking to grow your business, this can be done in one of three ways:
Ask for referrals. Can your existing customers put in a good word with others to attract new business for you? If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Target a new demographic. Identify the market that you want in on and focus all your marketing efforts there and always be sure to review your activities regularly to ensure they’re effective.
Direct attention to your existing customers. It’s actually a much more cost effective use of time and effort to try to persuade existing customers to buy more than it is to spend your time trying to attract new customers. How can you leverage the loyalty shown by existing customers? Talk to them and find out!
Whilst we obviously can’t 100% guarantee your business will become the next Google and grow into the stratosphere, we can say, with some confidence, that having a comprehensive business growth plan will assist you in growing your business effectively – so if you haven’t already, get planning for the future, now!