Entrepreneurs have many motivations for starting a business. Some want to make a living from their art while enjoying a certain freedom of action. For others, it’s about building something. To think big. Then comes the question of growth. What strategies can be put in place to help the “baby” grow? A few ideas to help you take action.
First, a clear vision
If you’re thinking about growing your business, you need to know why you’re doing it. Is it to improve profitability and increase your revenues? Is it for the fun of a challenge? A little bit of both? Think carefully: the answer to this question will help you determine how you will achieve your goals while respecting your values, your interests and your personality. Throughout your adventure, your motivations will be your fuel.
It can never be said enough, and yet it is vital: you must also have a clear vision of the business you want to build in the medium and long term. Doing business without really knowing what your objectives are is like sailing with no idea where you’re going to anchor. Take the time to clearly define what your business will become and articulate it in a vision statement. You can return to it at times when you feel that you’ve lost your way.
Know your customers
Several experts claim that 20% of clients report 80% of a company’s revenues. Take the time to examine your customer base. Who are your best customers? Think about their needs and expectations. Find ways to retain them. They are an important foundation. But don’t neglect others. Many of them are likely to be repeat and loyal customers. Try to decode them: who are they, what are their interests, what are their expectations? How can you satisfy them more and better?
Know how to surround yourself
Sooner or later, you will have no choice but to team up with people who have complementary talents to yours. You can’t realistically envisage developing your business while devoting most of your time to production. Delegate! Target activities that you can entrust to others – employees or subcontractors.
Choose people who are better than you are in these areas. They’ll help you shine, you’ll have less need to supervise them, and you’ll be able to devote your energy to building your business with peace of mind. That doesn’t mean you’ll leave them to their own devices, but the time spent mentoring them will be more limited.
Get someone to accompany you
Find an experienced mentor. He or she will be able to “challenge” your ideas, see potential problems, give you tips and tricks of the trade, and guide you through every step of your business growth. Not only does a mentor have the experience and hindsight needed to give you sound advice, but he or she has often, over time, built a network of contacts from which you can benefit.
Create, innovate, reinvent yourself
Innovation is the sinews of war. In order to meet your customers’ requirements and needs, and in order to satisfy them even better, you must encourage innovation. Take the time to survey your customers and suppliers to find out how satisfied they are with your current services. Be prepared to receive criticism: it is a blessing because it allows you to improve and surpass yourself.
5 different growth strategies
There are many ways to grow a business. How do you choose? Depending on your market and your goals, but also on how they will affect your business in terms of finances, human resources management and what you want to offer your customers.
Here are 5 to explore:
Repositioning: Take stock of your products and services and see how you can improve your profit margin. To do so, you must absolutely target the activities that bring you the most profit and build on them. Drop the less interesting ones. It’s also about increasing your efficiency to do more in less time while delivering the same quality.
Gaining market share: With your current service or product offering, you can seek to gain market share by increasing your promotional efforts and investing time and energy in your canvassing. You could also, depending on your sector of activity, set up a sales force.
New markets: You may decide to sell your products or services to customers in another territory. For example, if you work mainly locally, you could try to win new clients across the province, the country or even internationally.
Diversification of your offer: You could offer new products or services to your existing clientele. A good idea: Don’t be afraid to test your ideas with your best customers. You’ll quickly find out if it’s worth the effort.
Establish strategic alliances: Why not establish agreements with other companies that have services or products that complement those you offer? This type of alliance can be more or less formal, meaning that you could recommend each other, group together to get better prices on certain services or products, thanks to economies of scale.