By: Event Planners Association | Date: 03/15/2017
“More than one-third of businesses will not survive the next 10 years,” said John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO of 20 years. In order to be successful and last, business needs to focus on ways that they can grow and mature.
According to the Small Business Administration (The SBA), close to 66% of small businesses will survive their first 2 years. What that means is that only about one-third of total businesses will fail during the first 2 years. The SBA also tells you that about 50% of businesses fail during the first year in business.
So, how do you ensure your company is sustainable? The answer is to create a growth strategy for your business. One that envisions the company’s long-term success and creates a tangible plan. The key to any growth strategy is to be deliberate. To be deliberate you must find the holes in your current business plan that are not working and then create solutions.
1. Establish Your Value Proposition
For your business to sustain long-term growth, you must understand what sets it apart from the competition. Identify why customers come to you for a product or service. What makes you relevant, differentiated and credible? Use your answer to explain to other consumers why they should do business with you.
2. Identify Your Ideal Customer
You got into business to solve a problem for a certain audience. Who is that audience? Is that audience your ideal customer? If not, who are you serving? Nail down your ideal customer, and revert back to this audience as you adjust business to stimulate growth.
3. Define Your Key Indicators
Strategies of your business need to be measurable; if you’re unable to measure the returns on a change in structure or strategy, you have no way of knowing whether it’s effective. After you have identified which key indicators are affecting the growth of your business, dedicate time and money to those areas. Be sure to test properly and only make changes over time.
4. Verify Your Revenue Streams
What are your current revenue streams? What revenue streams could you add to make your business more profitable? Once you’ve identified potential new revenue streams, ask yourself if they’re sustainable in the long run. Some great ideas or novel new products don’t necessarily have revenue streams attached. Be careful to isolate and understand the difference.
5. Look To Your Competition
Sometimes your competitor is excelling at something that your company is struggling with. This is why it is wise to research competitors’ strategies to better build and change your own growth strategy. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or ask yourself why your competitors have made alternate choices.
6. Focus on your strengths.
Improving on your company’s weaknesses can be great; however, rather than trying to improve your weaknesses, consider trying to reorient the playing field to suit your strengths, and build upon those to grow your business.
7. Invest in talent.
When hiring employees, be sure to hire people who are motivated and inspired by your company’s value proposition. Know that it is OK to be modest with office furniture and instead invest in your employees by paying them their worth. Employees who see your vision and add to the company culture usually stick around even if you need to cut back their compensation during a slow period.
There is not a one-size-fits-all growth strategy. In fact, due to changing market conditions, making strategic decisions based on someone else’s successes would be foolish. That’s not to say that you can’t learn from another company, but blindly implementing a cookie-cutter plan won’t create sustainable growth. Instead, adopt a plan to smooth out your business’s inefficiencies, refine its strengths and better suit your customers. Remember your customers are different from those of a vague, one-size-fits-all strategy.
When you tailor your growth strategy to your business and your customers, you’ll keep your customers happy and have them coming back because you fulfilled their wants and needs.