How to define your small business growth strategy
So - your business is small but thriving - now what? Thinking about trying to take that already profitable venture to the next level? Think you’re ready to head in the direction of bigger profits, expanding operations and moving towards 'enterprise'? You manage your business with a business plan, hard work, and a lot of sweat equity. If you’ve got more of that sweat equity in you, are ready to extricate yourself a bit to work on that bigger picture process, and can bring in hardworking individuals to help you delegate more - then a growth strategy is your next step.
What on earth is a growth strategy?
According to growth consultants at Appcues, “A growth strategy is a plan of action that allows you to achieve a higher level of market share than you currently have.” Not limited to short-term or long-term goals, this mindful approach is geared to move your thinking forward and open you up to more avenues of profit, capital, and market share.
What are your options?
Most business ventures begin small and remain where they are. With options like selling more goods to a wider audience, finding new ways to use those already made products, figuring out how to increase sales to an adjacent market or new channels, and of course creating a new product - you’ve got endless opportunities. If you’re ready to go big or go home, there’s always those strategies that involve purchasing new businesses. Perhaps you had one product or service in mind when your business started or perhaps you were the motivated mogul with big ideas and a big picture mindset. Now that you’re making your way with that product or service, it’s time to harness those big ideas and put them into action - choose your direction and set your plans in motion.
What do you need to know?
From idea to fruition, that business took time to plan and grow; so does that quintessential expansion strategy. Take stock of your financial and personal resources, ask yourself if you already have those systems in place to grow or do you need new ones. You'll need to search deep in your soul to see if you have the ability to step away, work on the bigger picture, and trust in your delegating skills. Consider how your growing enterprise can utilize your already in place networks and referrals to gain a wider audience. Consider what you can leverage for more capital, more clients and more content. Before you delve into your pockets and utilize all of that expendable cash or yet existent capital, work on those other market opportunities. Research competitor’s developments along with your own customer profile and for goodness sake - create a long term plan that includes the ups and downs that often come with the discomfort and challenges that is growth.
Develop a framework
Growth and expansion stages take time and often deal with many challenges along the way. You’re always fine-tuning your original model, seizing opportunities to streamline expansion, adding stocks and services to your offerings, and handing over some of the management to new hires. Your framework will include a multitude of methods including but not limited to gaining greater and more meaningful content, expanding your marketing funnel, and implementing operations systems and controls. While you move through the stages of launch, growth, and shake-out to enter maturity a framework will help to work out the kinks, rectify any flaws, reinvigorate original ideas, and keep the company on a steady growth projection.
Find your gurus
In life and in business, we all need experts, friends, gurus, and guides to help us along the way. Find yours, whether they are people you work with, experts in the field, or mega-moguls who took that start-up to thriving large business corporation. If you want the inside scoop on the processes of the big guys, ask around and do your homework. Consider the stories and visions of companies like What’s App, Slack, and Harry’s - perhaps you can work their strategies to your advantage. These businesses started with an idea, grew to foster small independent networks, chose their strategy, and now have global reach. If you’re you willing to create a strategy, take on the risks, and weather the storms that potentially show up along the way perhaps you’ll get to be someone’s business guru one day, too.
Many businesses have started with little capital and heaps of sweat equity. Whether you started out in a garage, hawked your wares to your community members, or grew your business from your dorm room - you put in the effort necessary. Now to expand that vision you might take on partners, employ more people, or implement new procedures. Whatever you do, remember you’re not alone in this process. Be careful, use a keen sense of judgement and don’t offer up the keys to the kingdom lightly: ask for help, delegate tasks, and take advice from those you trust. Once you’ve developed that growth strategy and applied its framework - the sky’s the limit.