Tips & Guides — 09 May 2023
11 Ideas for Business Growth
Successful businesses that stand the test of time don’t just appear by accident.
While it might feel as though some big-name brands were catapulted into prominence by chance, behind the scenes their business operations were meticulous. Of course, there’s always a dash of luck in the mix, but a goal-aligned business growth strategy is how you transform a small business into a large one.
The threats facing small businesses are numerous. Oversaturated markets and unforeseen technological advances can pose significant obstacles to our success, not to mention the fact that it sometimes feels harder and harder to keep up with the latest consumer trends.
However, all is not lost! With an outstanding 2.14 billion people choosing to shop online, ecommerce businesses are thriving. By both adopting a scaled-up mindset and utilizing ecommerce technology, you can create a business growth strategy to foster long-term sustainability and expansion.
So, whether you’re a small business whose sales have hit a plateau or a startup struggling to make a breakthrough, read on to discover how to to design and implement a powerful business growth strategy.
Business growth refers to the expansion of a business, and it can occur in a number of different ways. Depending on their individual goals, a business might recognize growth through the increase of their bottom line profitability, revenue, sales, market share, company value, or rising customer base.
A company’s growth potential is usually achieved through the implementation of a well-executed business growth strategy. Before we dive into some growth strategy ideas, there are two different forms of growth that you should be aware of.
Growth can be achieved in two ways: Organically and inorganically. While both strategies center on expansion, they differ dramatically in terms of speed, cost, availability, and sustainability.
There are two main methods that business owners use to achieve inorganic growth. The first is through the result of setting up a store in a different location, which gives the business immediate access to a new geographic market.
While it is a straightforward way to achieve business expansion, it does run the risk of cannibalizing the existing store. Established companies tend to use the franchising model to achieve this high-reward venture.
Another way to attain inorganic growth is through changing business relations, most notably mergers, acquisitions, or strategic partnerships. A merger is the consolidation of two companies of a similar scale into one joint entity for mutual benefit, while an acquisition is when one company completely takes over another.
Both mergers and acquisitions fast-track market development and drive immediate increased market shares. Mergers in particular are popular for their increased market availability and product innovation benefits. However, mergers and acquisitions both require considerable upfront costs and can lack long-term sustainability, making them impractical endeavors for small businesses.
On the other hand, strategic partnerships or partnership marketing provides small businesses with a much more sustainable type of inorganic growth. They involve either a collaboration with another non-competing brand or a partnership with advertisers, publishers, or affiliate networks.
While we’ll get into the benefits of starting a partnership program later, it’s worth noting that partnership marketing is often thought of as a blend between inorganic and organic growth.
If a company does decide to boost their business using inorganic growth methods, they are often carefully balanced with organic growth strategies.
Organic growth is what most business owners are striving to achieve. It occurs as the result of a business’ standard, internal operations, usually through strong management, careful financial planning, optimized workflows, and the execution of an intricate marketing strategy.
While it is significantly slower than inorganic growth, it is a much more sustainable, cost-effective way of increasing your bottom line to increase your top-line growth.
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for business growth. The strategies that are best suited to your business will depend on your industry, budget, market, timeline, and individual business goals.
Growth strategies also tend to be dynamic, accounting for a forever-changing business climate, so what doesn’t feel feasible today might just work for you further down the line.
Here are 11 different growth strategy examples, tips, and ideas to help you create the perfect growth plan for you.
We tend to equate business growth with evolution and innovation which, in turn, can lead us to continuously administer new features and redesigns to our products and websites. SaaS companies following a SaaS marketing strategy tend to be particularly susceptible to this, due to the fact that technology is so closely associated with change.
When everything from the selling of the product to the product itself happens within a digital space, it can make businesses feel as though they constantly need to “do something new”. However, this overinvestment in evolution can easily result in the accidental overcomplication of our customer experience.
Harnessing simplicity might just be the key to business growth. A study by Siegel + Gale found that 55% of customers are willing to pay more for a simpler shopping experience, and 64% are more loyal to brands that value simplicity in their customer experience model.
Even the most simple statistics analysis tools (like Google Analytics) can be of great assistance when you’re looking at how to simplify your website. If you observe any high exit rates on your website’s individual pages, you can make the data-driven decision to make necessary simplification changes. Pay close attention to the exit rates on your sign-up and purchase pages, as these are common culprits of overcomplicated processes.
Customer feedback is also incredibly insightful to the simplicity of your customer experience journey. You can conduct surveys asking existing customers how easy their purchasing experience was and if there is anything they would change.
As for the customers who exit your website prematurely, you can potentially get their opinions through email marketing. Some brands use abandoned cart emails to prompt people to either complete their purchase or contact customer support, which could enlighten you to any problem areas on your website.
Aim to make your customer’s journey as clutter-free and intuitive as possible. The less stressful the experience is, the more people will be inclined to engage with your brand.
Never underestimate the profitability of craftsmanship. In an age where mass-produced, factory-made products are thrust upon us in abundance, industries are capitalizing on the consumer’s craving for unique, handmade items.
Online marketplaces like Amazon Handmade and Etsy report consistent growth. The value of goods bought on Etsy was $3.3 billion in 2018, a significant jump from the $1 million annual value in its first year. This proves that market demand for handcrafted items is on a steady incline, making craftsmanship a very viable growth strategy for startups and small businesses in the industry.
However, you don’t actually need to be in the crafts industry to utilize the craftsmanship growth strategy. The ideology of the strategy is that you prioritize perfection, dedicating time to creating a product that is truly special. The homeware and automotive industries have copious examples of how you can create unique, characteristic products for your customers.
Many types of businesses even use craftsmanship within a diversification strategy, which involves selling an entirely new product to a new market. While this strategy can result in rapid growth, it is relatively high-risk and requires a lot of time, resources, and dedication to get right.
So, when it comes to craftsmanship, think quality over quantity. Customers value the artistry and authenticity of craftsmanship, so take the time to be sure that whatever product you deliver is as flawless as possible.
It might be an age-old business growth strategy, but it stands the test of time. If your product or service offers something that customers can’t get anywhere else, you’ll stand out amongst your trend-following competitors and position yourself as a pioneer in the market. You might even become a trend-setter yourself, which is a surefire way to catapult your growth.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that uniqueness is a strategy reserved only for an out-of-the-box product or experience. Even brands selling everyday products should have a USP that makes them that little bit different from everyone else.
Maybe you have a unique offer that customers can’t resist? Maybe you have a quirky content writing style or distinctive promotional video format? Whatever your USP, make sure that your marketing efforts are centered around it in order to increase brand awareness and growth.
Product expansion is performed when businesses upgrade or add to their existing product line or service. This is often in response to outdated technology or an outmoded product. However, many businesses, particularly those in the retail industry, implement product expansion into their core business model from the get-go, serving the 88% of customers who say that product selection and variety are incredibly influential to their purchasing decisions.
Take the cosmetics industry, for example, where brands like Rimmel London and Maybeline are renowned for having multiple variants of similar products in their product lines. Product expansion is a clever way to respond to flatlining or falling sales while staying on-trend, and can even have the serious growth advantage of increasing your share of the market.
While product expansion is a straightforward, low-risk strategy on paper, the product development process is anything but. While the exact number of failed product launches isn’t known, the general consensus amongst professionals is that the number stands around a staggeringly high 95%.
From Coca Cola’s infamous New Coke flop to the FitBit that resulted in a Californian lawsuit, the history of product expansion is riddled with failure. Luckily, with the right research, resources, and planning, you can create a product development plan to maximize your chances of success.
Basically, don’t just make any old product for the sake of getting something new onto the market. Your product needs to be of value to your customers, whether it be addressing a pain point, fulfilling a desire, or appeasing competitive market demands.
Market segmentation is the process of categorizing your target market into individual groups or buyer personas for the purposes of personalized targeted marketing. As a type of market penetration strategy (a growth plan that focuses on selling existing products to your current market), it is an easy-to-implement procedure for businesses seeking a low-risk growth option.
Market segmentation promotes growth in a multitude of ways. It lowers your customer acquisition costs, increasing the visibility of your existing market so that you can identify and approach unserved niches. It also optimizes your marketing campaigns by allowing you to communicate much more personably and authentically with each audience.
In fact, Campaign Monitor reports that marketers found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns, establishing market segmentation as a strategy for significant growth potential.
You can segment your market using these four basic types of customer segmentation models, and use this data to create buyer personas:
If you’re a B2B company, you will be primarily concerned with a segment known as firmographics. These consist of descriptive attributes of the businesses you service, i.e., their industry, size, location, and status.
A market segmentation strategy has the added benefit of increasing your partnership marketing success. Not only does it make you available to a wider variety of potential partners, but creating compelling affiliate offers is also made easier because you can appeal more directly to their specific interests.
Of all the ecommerce marketing strategies available, content marketing is perhaps the most sustainable of them all.
With 62% of shoppers conducting product research via search engines, and 47% of shoppers viewing three to five pieces of online content prior to engaging in a sale, content marketing is a reliable way to drive traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Content marketing involves crafting SEO-optimized content for your online audience with the aim of making your website, brand, and/or product as easy to discover as possible.
Even your domain name needs to be optimized for search engines, which is why so many tech and startup companies are using io domain registration to make themselves instantly detectable and recognizable.
The content that you create needs to be of incredible value to your potential customers. It must be informative, engaging, personable, and authentic in order to maximize conversions.
There are plenty of different forms and types of content marketing to choose from. Along with social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you can also utilize blogs, videos, case studies, and more into your strategy.
Achieving growth with a content marketing strategy involves consistently producing high-quality content in the online spaces that your audience frequents. This means utilizing Google Analytics and Google Search Console to identify where your traffic originates from so that you can increase your presence in those spaces.
It also means fine-tuning your content writing skills. Many businesses use the services of SaaS marketing agencies; professionals who are skilled at creating high-quality, SEO-optimized content in a variety of forms, including social media posts, blog posts, landing pages, and more.
Another way to use content marketing to reach your growth goals is by forming marketing partnerships. Using a partnership marketing platform like Affise, you can source influencers, bloggers, and other businesses who will create affiliate content on their own channels and share it with their established audience.
Through the automated tracking of your performance based payments, you can use statistics analysis to identify your most profitable campaigns and enhance your marketing strategy with data-driven decisions.
It’s definitely worth considering whether performance marketing is right for your business and its content marketing goals. The more high-quality content you put out there, the more effective your growth strategy will be.
Do you know what your business’ reputation is? Your customers are talking about you online and the opinions they share are incredibly influential to online purchasing decisions.
While reports show that 94% of consumers admit to avoiding a business after reading a negative online review, positive reviews transcend into organic growth, increased sales, and brand credibility.
Using automated media monitoring tools, keep track of your brand’s mentions both on your own channels and on third-party websites like Google and Trustpilot. Identify where they are coming from and how often they occur, and conduct sentiment analysis to measure how positive, negative, or neutral these opinions are.
Not only can you monitor your online reputation to ensure that it remains positive, but you can actively encourage a positive discussion by establishing a customer-centric online presence.
One way to do this is by engaging with your online customers, asking for feedback, liking their social media posts, and responding to their comments. Yes, even the negative ones – 45% of consumers say that they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews.
Another effective reputation-boosting tactic is to form a marketing partnership with an established business. For new businesses in particular, affiliation with a respected brand grants bountiful credibility while increasing your brand’s awareness, in turn generating a higher volume of positive online opinions.
And, of course, don’t neglect the management of your offline reputation either. If you’re a local store, word of mouth is as integral to your business growth as your online presence, so always deliver impeccable customer service as a priority.
Targeting a new market with a current product range is a market expansion strategy with sustainable potential. If there’s no room for growth in your current market, but your product is performing well, discovering and targeting an unserved market can bring in a wave of high-value customers.
Market development can come in many different forms depending on individual budgets and practicalities. Two of the most commonly used market development strategies are geographical expansion and demographic expansion.
Brands like Adidas and Nike successfully performed geographic expansion when they created targeted international marketing campaigns to access unserved customers overseas. While a small business might not have the funds to go global—although the rise of ecommerce is making it a feasible venture for many—geographic expansion can still be achieved by sourcing unserved customers in nearby towns or cities.
A prime example of demographic expansion is Uber, who targeted lower-income customers with their ride-sharing service, and higher-income customers with their luxury experience service. This strategy often involves either offering an alternative option to your service or finding a new use for your current product, closely relating it to market segmentation.
Remember, a market development strategy focuses on selling a current (albeit sometimes slightly altered) product to a new market. It might be tempting to create a whole new product for your new target market, but throwing yourself into a diversification strategy without doing your research can have dire consequences.
The toothpaste brand Colgate found this out when their frozen dinner product line backfired tremendously, so always, always do your research before entering a new market.
9. Innovation Strategy
Innovations are exciting. Not only do they keep customers interested in your brand, but they position you as a force to be reckoned with in your market. As one of the oldest and most coveted business growth strategies out there, innovation is renowned for its profitability and market share growth capabilities.
Consistently modernizing your product or how you deliver your service is a prime example of an innovation strategy that aims to keep your brand fresh and profitable. Leading innovators like Apple and Google are continuously utilizing new technologies and creating new products to stay ahead of competitors and set lasting trends.
Of course, not all businesses can innovate in a similar fashion. However, valuing innovation is so much more than just creating a trend-setting product. Utilizing innovation within the workplace can optimize workflows and cultivate a creative, open-minded culture, increasing growth on a monumental scale.
Encourage innovative ideas, embrace new technologies, and don’t be afraid to switch up your processes, software, or programs. Despite the myths you hear about platform migration, it is actually much easier than you might think.
Strategic partnerships involve two businesses combining forces to expand and diversify their reach. These brands don’t even have to be similar—take Spotify and Uber for example, who created a partnership allowing premium Spotify members to play their own music while journeying with Uber. As long as there’s some common ground, a shared goal can create a mutually-beneficial partnership.
The benefits of strategic marketing partnerships are particularly significant for small businesses in the ecommerce space. Brands can form marketing partnerships with networks in their niche, providing even new businesses with brand awareness, additional resources, brand credibility, and potentially even opening up markets that were previously unattainable.
Because of all these benefits, marketing partnerships in particular have become an integral part of most ecommerce business’ marketing strategies.
Quality strategic marketing partnership opportunities can be difficult to find. Affise Reach offers a hassle-free solution, providing brands with access to 1000+ networks and agencies on an exclusive database.
You can set up and post ad campaigns to find perfectly-aligned business partners, and use the data transfer platform CPAPI to automate the process of connection and collaboration for time-efficient business growth.
It’s also easy to migrate to Affise from any preceding platform or in-house solution.
So, we’ve established that marketing partnerships are great, but they aren’t the only type of partnership out there. Financial, integration, supply chain, and technology partnerships are all worthy of consideration depending on your industry and individual business goals.
Your team is your talent. The success of your business is highly dependent on the quality of your workforce, from their skill-set and expertise to their engagement and continuous development.
Talent acquisition and management strategies involve attracting, recruiting, training, and retaining the best employees in the industry. It is essential for the general health and organic growth of any successful business, especially as Udemy reports that employees express rising fears surrounding the skills gap and the impact of automation/AI.
Your talent management strategy should cover all bases, from job advertisement and staff onboarding to the long-term nurturing of your employees. While it’s a process that never really ends, fostering a skilled, motivated, and aligned team has significant influence over your growth potential.
Talent management is a whole subject in itself, but here are two important tips to keep in mind:
Be smart about recruitment
You run the risk of hiring the wrong person for the wrong job if you rush into the recruitment process. Before writing out that advertisement, take time to identify any potential areas of improvement in your company and uncover any existing holes in your talent pool. From there, you will have a much better picture of the type of roles that need filling in your workforce, and can write targeted, detailed job descriptions.
Share your job advertisements on relevant social platforms and job boards to attract the perfect candidate. And don’t forget to utilize the benefits of employee referrals. Studies show that employee-referred candidates yield the highest ROI, as well as increase retention rates, and save money in productivity costs.
Invest in current employees
Employees value learning and development in the workplace more than you might think. Udemy’s Skill Gap Report states that 51% of people say that they would leave a job that didn’t offer training, and 42% of millennials cite learning and development opportunities as the most important benefit when deciding where to work.
By offering upskilling and re-skilling opportunities to current employees, you not only increase employee engagement and satisfaction, but you maximize their potential in alignment with your business goals. In many cases, it can increase your potential for in-house hiring, saving you plenty in time and acquisition costs.
All successful companies need a growth strategy, even businesses that don’t plan on going global. A growth strategy is a fundamental way to future-proof your company and ensure its long-term sustainability in an unpredictable business climate.
Without a growth strategy in place, you leave your business incredibly vulnerable to unforeseen changes and risk shortening your business’ lifecycle, losing out to your forward-thinking competitors.
A business growth strategy has other valuable benefits that demonstrate its importance even further. For example, business growth strategies:
Of course, executing a growth strategy isn’t always easy. All business growth strategies require you to keep a diligent eye on an abundance of different metrics: Your conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, ROI, engagement levels, customer lifetime value, and so, so much more.
This can often result in a stack of different tools and disorganized chaos when it comes to statistics analysis.
However, with Affise BI, you can store all your business data from both internal and external sources on a singular dashboard. It’s a solution that grants you the agency to manage and analyze unstructured data with stress-free efficiency, optimizing workflows and maximizing the accuracy of your data-driven decisions.
The type of growth strategy that you use and how you decide to implement it will, of course, depend on your unique business needs and individual growth goals. A startup business utilizing a growth hacking strategy might implement as many of these examples as possible for accelerated growth, while a smaller, more established business might decide to create a detailed growth timeline.
Either way, adopting a growth mindset is beneficial for your lifecycle, even if your dream is to simply serve your local community with pride.
So, whether you’re aiming to penetrate new markets, expand your sales, grow your customer base, or increase your marketing partnership success, keep in mind that the most successful growth strategies are intricately researched and well-executed with a dynamic approach to implementation.
Hopefully these business growth strategy examples will assist you in creating the perfect business strategy for you.
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