There are numerous reasons why people decide to go into business. Many venture into business because the neighbor down the street has a business while others go into business because it’s the new wave society is riding. Entrepreneurship is the new door many are knocking on. Truth is, business is not for everyone. For those that have a desire or a passion for business, there are certain criteria that should be met or highlighted outside the usual ‘knack for business’ mentality.
Fast foward, your business is up and running and executing on daily deliverables. Things are coming together, customers are flooding in by the units, hundreds, thousands and maybe millions but you feel something is amiss. Your hunger is voracious and your goals are high to say the least but deep down you know you have not reached the epitome of your desired business venture.
Truth is, no matter how good a business idea is, there is only so far the initial idea can take the business to. Ideas are like dreams that have no real world value but strategy and planning are the realistic tools which cause a metamorphosis that transform business ideas into actionable plans. Strategies and plans are conduits through which ideas and dreams are made into a reality. To take your business to levels where words such as ‘leaps’ and ‘bounds’ would be the best way to describe such growth, planning and implementation are necessities. We live in a computational, fast-growing world where the word ‘growth’ is no longer a target or aim of any business but a necessity. The importance of growth strategies cannot be overemphasized. Here are a few of the many important growth strategies which has been tested and found to be universally recognized irrespective of geographical location and culture barriers;
Most likely whatever idea or business proposition you have might not necessarily be different from what is already on the market and if it is, you have to identify what sets it apart from other businesses. What value are you selling or offering to your customer? Figure out what special benefit only you can provide. Do not focus on what others are doing and how to join in the competition, rather set yourself apart and figure out what sets you apart. Today, we are finding that value is created in the intersection points of life which in turn saves effort, decision making, money and most importantly time.
Identify your ideal customer
You cannot cater for everyone. By trying to please everyone, you end up losing everyone. When aiming for growth in your business, decide on a particular target audience and stick to it. Do not for the sake of one cause forsake the Big goal. Crafting Messages and marketing techniques to a scoped audience will return a higher interaction rate. “We are a brand oriented”, meaning we live and breath the brands we interact with and purchase because we buy into their quality, mission and future vision. A niche running shop and a general sporting goods store are both in the same industry, but provide very different experiences for running customers.
What are your indicators for progress? Growth or progress has to be measurable. You cannot have growth in your business and have no way of identifying it. Whatever you decide to make your indicator, it has to be reliable. An increase in customer does not necessarily relate to profits. Their are no participation trophies in this game, so which metrics needs to be monitored - Customer Acquisition Cost, Margin, Revenue - this takes some time, and tools like “Business Model Canvas” can help get the conversation started.
Customers like reliability and very few people are open to change. However, there are instances where change can be good and can serve your purpose and goals. Go beyond the services you offer but don't change the services you offer. Changing the service might bring in new customers but at the same time might cause you to lose loyal customers which is too much of a gamble. Back to the niche running shop, For example: if they sell everything for the elite runner, what are some complementary items to enhance the shopping experience? Trade in/ Refurbishing services, digital/technology monitoring, medical/health workshops. These are items that help the runner not only get the best gear, but get better and stay healthy.
Do not only focus on employing personnel who share in the burden but those that will share in the dream and vision also. People like this help push, promote and grow the business. Do not look at employing people like a cost but more as an investment. They will later prove to be treasures that will be at the core of the progress of the business with their ideas, passion and skills which will become infective and spread all round. Also, do not hire people who are similar to you, find people with different skill set, experiences and backgrounds. This will help diversify the thoughts/ideas to stretch goals and grow your business.