As a business owner, entrepreneur, or marketer, your ultimate goal isn’t simply to run a business – it’s to grow a business.
You’re always looking for ways you can bring in more revenue, grow your team, or increase your brand awareness. And, without the right strategy in place, it can be pretty hard to do any of those things.
That’s where a growth strategy comes in. In this post, we’ll explore:
- What a growth strategy is.
- Why you need a growth strategy.
- 7 simple steps to create a growth strategy that works (get the template below to make this even easier!).
Let’s get growing!
What Is a Growth Strategy?
A growth strategy is pretty much what it sounds like – a strategy put in place to grow your business.
This is different than a marketing strategy, which includes the marketing tactics you use to help your business reach specific goals and objectives.
A growth strategy is what might inform those foundational goals and objectives in the first place. It’s your North Star. Your roadmap to success. A growth strategy encompasses all the areas you want to focus on to expand your business and your success.
Why Is a Growth Strategy Important for Small Businesses?
A growth strategy is important – especially for small businesses – because it is meant to help you grow despite economic or marketplace changes that may occur throughout a typical fiscal year.
Without a growth strategy in place, unforeseen circumstances (like COVID-19) could completely derail your business and your ability to maintain profitability. If you’re simply surviving, you’re not able to thrive.
7 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Growth Strategy
So, it’s settled. You need a growth strategy. But, how can you create one? We’ve outlined seven simple steps that will help you create a growth strategy that gets results.
And, download our free template to get started on your strategy right away.
Step 1: Identify growth potential to build your strategy around.
In order to create your growth strategy, you first need to identify where there are growth opportunities for your business. Growth potential can include opening a new location, hiring new team members, retaining current customers, and more.
The growth opportunities you identify largely depend on the type of business you run, your overall business operations, and what’s realistic.
For example, if you own a single location hardware store, some growth opportunities for your business could be to:
- Launch an online store as part of your website to sell your tools.
- Open a new location.
- Offer classes or workshops to teach people how to use specific tools.
- Expand to a new line of products such as garden care.
- Hire more employees to support business growth.
If you run a plumbing business, your growth potential will obviously look different.
In this stage, don’t limit yourself – think of this is as a brainstorming activity. Write down all the opportunities you’re interested in or think you could accomplish as well as some dream scenarios. You can narrow it down in the next few steps.
Step 2: Outline desired results for your growth strategy.
Now that you have some growth opportunities outlined, think about the types of results you’d like to see from them. Remember, your growth strategy is meant to grow your business, so if you’re unable to assign a projection for growth to an opportunity, then it might be a sign to save it for later.
It’s also important to remember that not all growth goals may be tied to revenue. For example, hiring new employees could result in more time for you to spend with your family or focusing on other parts of your business. Don’t discount those!
Step 3: Create SMART goals for each of your growth opportunities.
Now that you have an idea of your growth opportunities and the types of results you’re hoping to see from each of them, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty and create some SMART goals to build your growth strategy around.
As a refresher, SMART goals are:
- Specific: Your growth goals shouldn’t be vague; they should be very specific about what you want to accomplish.
- Measurable: Determine and assign a quantifiable number for each growth goal to show what success looks like.
- Achievable: Your growth goals should be realistic and something that’s not a stretch to actually accomplish.
- Relevant: Your growth goal should contribute to overall growth for your business.
- Timely: Your growth goals should include a timeline for when they’ll be accomplished or measured – we’ll get more into this in a minute.
As you’re writing your growth goals, you may notice that some aren’t able to fit into the SMART system. If that’s the case, they may not be a good goal for your growth strategy.
During this step, you may also need to conduct some research around benchmarks, industry data, and more so your goals are measurable and achievable.
Step 4: Break your growth strategy goals into a workable timeline.
This step shouldn’t be too hard since you assigned a timeline to your growth goals in the step above. But, by breaking larger goals down into smaller, more palatable chunks, you can make them feel more achievable and keep yourself and your team on track to reach them.
This might look like the following:
SMART Growth Goal: Launch one tool workshop for new homeowners by May 2021 to bring in $5k in revenue by EOY.
To break down this goal would look like this:
- Conduct research on types of tool training new homeowners need.
- Determine who on team will lead tool workshop.
- Determine best way for attendees to register and pay for workshop.
- Plan space to hold workshop (adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols).
- Develop workshop curriculum.
- Determine promotion for workshop attendees.
- Network with realtors.
- Create and print materials for workshop attendees to take home.
- Order swag for attendees.
- Tease workshop on social media.
- Confirm date for workshop.
- Set up registration page for website with payment capabilities.
- Launch Facebook event ads to promote workshop.
- Add website banner to drive visitors to registration page.
- Email realtors, friends, and family about workshop.
- Host workshop.
- Send follow up survey to attendees for feedback.
Fill this out in your growth strategy template.
One growth goal includes a lot of moving pieces, but by breaking it down step-by-step, you can delegate tasks to your team, stay on track, and keep everyone accountable to reach your growth strategy goals.
Step 5: Research what’s needed to support your growth strategy.
Once your growth strategy goals are broken down, you can get an idea of what’s needed to support each of those goals.
In the example above, there are marketing strategies that you might choose to outsource, registration software needed for your website, and swag orders that will need to be made.
For each of your growth strategy tactics that roll up into your larger goals, you can determine who will be helping, what software or services you may need to keep you moving, and have a concrete idea of any costs that might be associated with your goals.
Step 6: Determine how you’ll measure growth strategy success.
Because your SMART growth strategy goals should have included a result, you have a great idea of what you’ll be measuring. So, now you just need to determine how you’ll actually measure those results and when you’ll be measuring them.
If your growth goals are related to revenue, make sure to incorporate that into how you keep track of revenue and potentially communicate it to your accountant or bookkeeper so they can keep tabs.
If your growth goals are marketing-related, talk with your marketing partner to figure out the best way to measure those metrics.
Step 7: Set up dates to check-in and refine your growth strategy as needed.
Almost time to get rolling on your growth strategy – you just need to look at your various timelines to determine when you’ll check in on progress and when you might adjust your growth strategy.
This will be based on your specific goals and timelines. Don’t be afraid to set calendar reminders throughout the year to keep yourself on track.
And, don’t forget that although your growth strategy is meant to help you achieve success and grow, it’s not set in stone. You can refine your strategy and adjust goals as needed.
Get Growing with the Right Growth Strategy
A growth strategy is a great asset for a small business because it helps you set your business up for success long-term and can keep you on track when challenges arise.
The most effective growth strategies include having the right partners and team members in place, which means finding the right digital marketing company is extremely important. Our team is here to help you develop your growth strategy and reach your growth goals. Reach out today to learn how we can support you in growing this year and beyond.