In the highly competitive world of business, achieving sustainable growth is essential for long-term success. Business growth is not only about increasing revenue and profits, but also about expanding into new markets, developing new products or services, and building a strong brand reputation. To help your business grow and achieve sustainable business growth, entrepreneurs and business owners need a well-defined strategy and a systematic approach to implement it. In this article, we will outline a 9-step formula for achieving business growth that has been proven to be effective for many successful businesses.
From defining your vision and mission to identifying your target market and developing a marketing strategy, this 9-step formula covers all aspects of building a successful business. We will provide practical tips and actionable insights to help entrepreneurs and business owners navigate each step of the process and achieve their growth goals.
Whether you’re a small business owner or a startup founder, this 9-step formula can help you develop a roadmap for sustainable growth and take your business to the next level. So let’s get started and explore the key strategies and tactics that can help drive business growth and success.
- Planning – the importance of making time and structuring your thoughts
- Focus – doing less better could the key
- Clarity – avoid being vague, the need to be laser targeted
- Readiness – there’s no point having the perfect plan, if you’re not ready to get started
- Opportunities – how will you make sure that you don’t miss out on capitalising on opportunities as they occur
Step 1: Ditch the business plan
The two inch thick detailed plan that is produced, filed to collect dust and then never be read is of no use to any business. The sales and marketing action plan that you develop for your business should
- Get all the readers / employees inspired
- Create an actionable strategy
- Be a living and breathing document that is always on the desk and at the forefront of all those making strategic decisions
- Be alive, recognising that things change and so must the document
- Clearly identify the business goals and sales expectations
Step 2: Stop / Think / Focus
Its very easy to get caught up in the daily work load and issues of your business. The saying “you need to work on your business as well as in your business” holds very true.
Ask yourself within your business – Work out what’s in the business for you and what is needed to get the business working for you
Step 3: Build Your Business On Firm Foundations
- What is important to you
- What are your business drivers
- Have you shared values with employees, if so is there a common sense of purpose
Step 4: Be Clear About What Business Are You In
- Think beyond your product or service
- What are they actually buying
- Why are they buying it
- Black & Decker – sell holes ; Bentley sell Prestige
Step 5: Are You Ready To Achieve A Breakthrough Growth
- Step out of the row
- Be clear of vision and focus
- How big is the opportunity
- Create a visionary goal
What does your business vision look like?
Step 6: There Are Opportunities Everywhere
PEST (Political, Environmental, Social and Technological) factors impact on our business. As they say the only thing that stays the same is change
PEST Examples (based on electric vehicle charging scenario)
- Political – the government provides a financial subsidy toward the fitting of electric charging units, suitable for electric vehicles which are exempt from emissions tax
- Economic – Inflation rate is low but the expectation is that it will rise soon, currently import duties on batteries for electric vehicles are low
- Social – millennials are environmentally and sustainably orientated and will want less polluting cars. It needs to be easy for them to recharge their vehicles
- Technological – There is a lack of charging stations and charging points for electrically powered vehicles. Currently the battery recharge rate is slow and it is unlikely to become superfast anytime soon
Step 7: Stand Out From The Crowd
It is no longer good enough to be just like the competition. You must be better or different if you are going to avoid just competing on price. So you need to ask
- What makes us different (Differentiation focus)
- What makes us better (Niche Focus)
- Does it pass the “So What” test (That’s why I would pay more)
Step 8: Surround Yourself With The Right People
- Stay out of the owners trap
- Owner does the selling
- Owner offers too many things
- Owner only person capable of delivery
- Owner interferes with customers
- Recognise your limitations
- Build people around the business (not the other way round)
- Involve them and share news
Step 9: Empower Your People
- Share the challenges
- Get their inputs and ideas
- Use their input constructively
- Give them ownership of the strategy
- Retain, Retrain, Release, Recruit, Recognise and Reward
A Nine Step Formula To Help Your Business Grow Over The Next 12 Months
achieving sustainable business growth requires a strategic approach and a commitment to continuous improvement. By following the 9-step formula outlined in this article, entrepreneurs and business owners can develop a roadmap for success and build a foundation for long-term growth and profitability.
From defining your vision and mission to building a strong team and expanding into new markets, each step of the formula is essential for driving business growth and success. By implementing these strategies and tactics, businesses can stay ahead of the competition, build a loyal customer base, and achieve their growth goals.
However, it’s important to note that achieving business growth is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process. Businesses must be willing to adapt and evolve in response to changing market conditions, customer needs, and technological advancements. By embracing a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, businesses can position themselves for success in the long run.
So, whether you’re a small business owner or a startup founder, it’s time to take action and start implementing the strategies and tactics outlined in this article. By doing so, you can achieve sustainable business growth and take your business to the next level.
HR Information Systems – Are You In Control Of Your Employees
Every company as it grows and starts employing more and more people gets to the situation where it needs HR Information Systems. The transition from a few employees where simple a spreadsheet (or even a shared diary / wall planner ) can be used to effectively manage employees HR issues disappears once you reach a certain size.
Even the simplest of HR issues like holidays can be a management drain or challenge and if not resolved correctly create personal and cultural issues significantly bigger than the original issue. In this article we look at additional reasons why HR Information Systems can be beneficial.
Applications of HR Information Systems
There a multiple reasons to implement HR Information systems and in this article we look at monitoring abscence whether planned or unplanned
Monitor Absence – Sickness or Holidays
It is critical to monitor the time that employees have away from a business. Whether its through formalised pre booked holidays (do you know exactly how many days holiday everybody in the company is taking. Perhaps you have directors who are taking significantly more time off than they should but its not being recorded. What about key employees who are saving up holidays in order to take a 6 month holiday in a few years time. Or the situation that many manufacturers find themselves in whereby holidays cannot be taken at certain parts of the year, meaning that where holidays aren’t carried over there is suddenly a mad scramble for everybody to use their holidays to avoid losing them.
So if holidays are tricky then monitoring sickness or absence can be even harder. How do you currently log when a member of staff has time off through illness and doesn’t come in. What if an employee feels poorly whilst at work and goes home. Even more difficult what if you have employees who a frequently off ill, or have a long term illness. Monitoring and managing absence can become a compliance issue and suitable HR Information Systems will help with the process.
Tender Writing Services – Write Killer Proposals
If you are running a business, do you need help writing a compelling winning tender?
In a highly competitive environment perhaps you’re not winning as many tender contracts as you would like. Whatever your tender writing support needs, there are many specialist companies or highly talented individuals who can help.
In this article we consider the issue and benefits of using full outsourced tender writing services, having training in tender writing and considering pre-sub-mission evaluation and feedback.
Tender Writing Services Options Available
Even after the significant cuts to the social care budgets and after numerous years of efforts to drive service users towards the use of personal budgets. Combined with a growing self-funder market, it remains that local authorities are still the dominant purchasers of social care provision within most regions. Therefore the ability to engage with the local authority’s often complex tender processes is usually the only way to achieve significant business growth in this market.
Take into account that contract opportunities may only come up every three to five years and it becomes critical to get it right if you are to thrive or survive. There are numerous so called experts in social care business development who will indicate they have extensive experience in tender writing services.
Many tender services providers will have written winning tenders for supported living, home care, learning disabilities, extra care, housing-related support, and many other niche areas of the sector.
When looking for a tender services expert look for a provider whose services are client-centred and tailored to your needs and who can work with you to achieve the outcomes you wish to achieve. It may be that you wish to do the tender writing yourself or prefer the tender writing services to be completed for you.
How To Give The Perfect Pitch
If you are trying to convey a new idea to the board, or make a sale to a new customer then it could be beneficial to know How To Give The Perfect Pitch.
It is likely that you are going to be trying to grab the audiences attention and certainly provide a memorable experience.
Quite possibly you might be competing / presenting against others and the basis for moving forward or being declined will be based on this single pitch. It therefore makes sense to use all the approaches and techniques to make your pitch perfect.
Some Basic Principles
- Keep it simple
- Create a memorable structure
- Maintain eye contact
- Start with a greeting “Hello”
- Set out your stall – “What we are going to do cover …” absolutely spell it out
- Interaction is vital – don’t just provide a list of content and make sure the presentation is two way
- Don’t add more
- Edit the presentation ruthlessly
- Keep it conversational, jargon free – consider it like having a chat with your audience
- Make sure you have back up plans (what happens if your main presentation format fails)
- If you are doing it in PowerPoint make sure you have great pictures
Creating a memorable structure
- Start Big
- Use stories
- Finish big
- Just think about a James Bond film where they get straight into the action
Get Your Head Right Before You Present
- Convince yourself that you are going to do well and you will
- Convince your audience that the idea you are presenting is perfect for them
- be present in the room and engage with the audience
- If you have a mixed audience of experts and novices – pitch the complex in a simple way
Manage Your Customer And Prospect Database?
How well do you manage your customer and prospect database
It has often been commented that one of the attributes that helps increase the value of a business is the quality of its list. So How Well Do You Manage Your Customer And Prospect Database?
Managing the prospect list is critical if potential future opportunities are to be progressed effectively.
Being aware of what your customers are doing, buying, communicating with will allow you to manage them and ensure that customers don’t move from live to lost.
Evaluate How Well Do You Manage Your Customer And Prospect Database?
To determine how well you manage your customer and prospect list, answer the ten questions below. For some businesses it may be that the question is not applicable but most manufacturing or B2B companies will answer either positively or negatively.
How Well Do You Manage Your Customer And Prospect Database?
If you answered mainly “Yes” that great if you answered honestly its unlikely that a prospect will slip through your pipeline, or a customer will be forgotten or misplaced. Its also likely that you are using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.
If you answered mainly “No” then your business may be suffering as you are missing out on up sell / cross selling opportunities to customers. Additionally it may well be that prospects are ineffectively managed and conversion rates could be improved.
|1. Prospects who you meet (at networking, events, visit the shop etc) have their details immediately captured and logged into a system|
|2. Prospects receive a proactive communication a few day as after initial contact|
|3. Communication can be personalised depending upon the status of the customer|
|4. Prospects can be graded depending upon perceived potential|
|5. Prospects who eventually purchase (even if it’s only a low value item) can be re-categorised|
|6. Customers who make frequent purchases can be easily identified|
|7. The database is regularly cleaned and prospects / customers we no longer want to deal with (no potential etc) are removed|
|8. The database can be easily interrogated to identify prospects / customers of specific segments|
|9. It’s easy to update as contact details change|
|10. If a customer list is purchased this can be easily integrated|
Would Your Business Benefit From A Coach
For those people who want to perform better a coach (or range of coaches) are often seen as a suitable approach. Think of Andy Murray over the past few years he has achieved levels of world class performance. Now whilst its Andy who is on the tennis court, he has a team of specialist coaches including Technical. Physical and Nutrition who are able to help and advise. None of these coaches can play tennis as well as Andy but they can all help Andy to play a better game of tennis.
So could you or your business benefit from a coach. In this article we will consider if you have some mindsets that are holding your business back.
Is your business performance held back because
- You believe that your business will suffer if you are not there all the time, taking a holiday is simply out of the question
- You have a sense that you are married to your business and it demands all your working hours
- Your business doesn’t generate enough profit to justify your efforts
- You have lost passion for your business
- You have a lot of business experience however you haven’t really invested in yourself
If you have answered YES to any of the above then you could probably benefit from thinking about business coaching.
Areas that coaching can explore
- Environment: Is it your business environment that’s holding your business back
- Behaviours: What are the habits within the company, is their a positive or moaning culture. Perhaps your the person doing all the whinging and moaning
- Capabilities: Is the company equipped with the skills and expertise, additionally can you be bothered
- Beliefs & Values: Are these consistent throughout the company
Help Your Business Grow
We considered the use of the 9 point plan to critique and develop your business. Recognising that your employees are crucial evaluated the importance of HR information systems. The need to perfect the tender writing process and give the perfect pitch / presentation. How to manage existing customers and prospects better by having a customer relationship system. Finally would a business coach help in your development.
For an established SME business with a limited budget, there are several effective approaches to help the business grow. Firstly, it’s important to identify and target your niche market. Instead of trying to appeal to a broad audience, focus on a specific niche that aligns with your products or services. This allows you to tailor your marketing efforts and messaging more effectively, increasing your chances of attracting the right customers.
Building an online presence is crucial. Establish a professional website and create profiles on relevant social media platforms. This provides a platform for your business to showcase its offerings and engage with potential customers. Utilise search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to improve your website’s visibility in search results. Engage with your audience through regular content creation and interactions on social media. This helps to build brand awareness and attract organic traffic to your website.
Another approach is leveraging content marketing. Create high-quality, valuable content such as blog posts, videos, and infographics that educate and engage your target audience. This helps establish your expertise, build brand awareness, and attract organic traffic to your website. By consistently providing valuable content, you can position your business as a trusted resource in your industry.
Utilising social media marketing is also effective, particularly due to its cost-effective nature. Take advantage of the advertising options available on social media platforms to reach specific demographics and interests relevant to your business. Engage with your followers by responding to comments, messages, and inquiries promptly. This helps to foster relationships and build trust with your audience.
Implementing referral programs can be a powerful way to grow your business on a limited budget. Encourage your satisfied customers to refer your business to their friends and acquaintances by offering incentives like discounts or exclusive offers. Word-of-mouth marketing can be highly effective, as people trust recommendations from those they know.
Additionally, seeking partnerships and collaborations can help expand your reach without incurring significant costs. Look for opportunities to collaborate with complementary businesses. This can include co-hosting events, cross-promoting each other’s products or services, or pooling resources for joint marketing efforts. Collaborations can help tap into new customer bases and create win-win situations for both businesses involved.
Lastly, focus on customer retention. While attracting new customers is important, retaining existing customers is equally vital. Offer exceptional customer service, loyalty programs, or personalized offers to incentivise repeat purchases and foster long-term relationships. Happy customers are more likely to become loyal advocates for your brand, leading to increased referrals and positive word-of-mouth.
Overall, these approaches provide cost-effective strategies to help your SME business grow. Remember to monitor and analyse data to continuously optimize your marketing efforts and allocate your limited budget effectively. By adapting and refining your strategies based on your target audience and industry trends, you can maximize your growth potential.
If you would like to know more about how to help your business grow contact Andrew Goode MBA, MSc, FCIM Click here to arrange a call
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