You want your small business to thrive and prosper. To achieve business success, you need a growth strategy. A growth strategy is basically a guide to help your business grow.
Don’t use a generic small business growth strategy. Every business is unique, so you need to tailor the strategy to your company. Use the following steps and tips to design a strategy for growth that works for your business.
1. Add goals to your business plan
Consider adding your business goals to your business plan. This is a convenient place to keep your goals because all your other business information is already stored in the plan.
It’s easy to create a business plan and place it on a shelf to collect dust. But, you should regularly check your business plan and evaluate how you are doing. Determine what business operations you need to change so you can meet your goals. As you reach goals, set more so you can continue to grow your business. And if you need to, adjust your goals to better fit your business.
2. Discover what makes you unique
Your business should be unique from every other business that exists. It’s OK for your business to have similarities to others, such as offering similar products or services. But, your business must stand out in some way.
Identify what sets your business apart from your competition. Perhaps it’s your values or attention to customer service. Whatever your unique value proposition is, use it to attract customers to your business.
If you can’t figure out what makes your business unique, you’re at risk of devaluing your business. Customers won’t have a reason to pick you over a similar business. Determine what you want your business to be known for and develop that unique quality.
3. Solidify your brand identity
Along with discovering what makes your business unique, you need to clear up your brand identity. Brand identity is the messaging customers consume your business. Brand identity might include your values, logo, and brand voice.
Determine how you want to present your business to customers. For example, you might present your business as youthful and adventurous. Or, you might want people to identify your business as serious and professional.
However, you choose to brand your business, make your branding consistent and unique. Your logo, emails, business cards, store displays, products, packaging, and values should all reflect your brand identity.
4. Identify your ideal customer
Your business isn’t for everyone, so you shouldn’t try to attract everyone to your business. Instead, you should narrow your marketing to your target customers.
First, you need to identify your target customers. Use a market analysis to do this. Research your ideal customers’ needs and interests. Learn where they live, work, and go to school. Determine how many potential customers live in your target area and how fast the group size is growing.
Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal customers are, you can better target your marketing to them.
5. Search for revenue sources
Your business won’t last with one revenue source alone. If something bad happens to that source, your business won’t have any way to bring in money. Even if that revenue source is sustainable, your business probably won’t grow—at least not quickly.
Diversify your business. Having multiple revenue streams creates more stability and potential for growth.
Evaluate where your revenue is currently coming from. If you already have several revenue sources, consider how well they perform and fit with your business. You may need to make adjustments.
Then, look for new sources of revenue. Search for long-term solutions, not short-term trends. Make sure the potential sources of revenue fit your brand identity.
6. Play to your strengths
You might be tempted to constantly try to improve your weaknesses. But, doing this might do more harm than good.
While improving weaknesses can be good, spending time on your weaknesses can bring your business down. You might try to force a product or service that simply doesn’t work well for your business. Or, you might become distracted from what does work well, causing those things to decline.
Instead of focusing too much on your weaknesses, recenter on your strengths. Focus your business on what you do well. When you use your strengths and improve them, your business has a better chance of succeeding and growing.
Kaylee Riley is a writer for Patriot Software, LLC and Top Echelon, LLC. Kaylee writes about payroll, accounting, recruiting, and other small business topics.