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We all marvel as new businesses turn into household names. These are fresh and exciting companies who are obviously doing something right. However, they're not who you should be using as your business role model. Instead, you should model your business after companies who have been around for a while because they have growth strategies that are proven to work.
A successful business growth strategy is contingent on many things going right. You may want to take a look at them as you run your company.
A Willingness to Change With the Times
Sales Force says that any business that wants to grow will need to overcome traditional constraints. This is actually one of the most difficult challenges you'll face. After all, you won't find a bank who's willing to offer you a loan to use in growing your business. Nevertheless, your infrastructure (the tools and systems you use to run your business, including point of sales systems, phones, computers, data centers, and software) will grow outdated – especially with all the technological advances that are taking place today. While these technologies are meant to level the playing field, your business can't keep up with it without spending some money.
Companies that embrace technology often experience quadruple the revenue growth than what other companies experience. In fact, Deloitte conducted a study that showed these companies made 44% more revenue than companies with a basic system or none at all. This is clear evidence that technology is really helpful in helping businesses grow. For instance, financial management technology can also help your business grow since you can closely manage your cash outlay and receivables. This technology gives you a clearer picture than you'd ever get with a simple Excel spreadsheet.
American Express says that changing with the times really is one of “the most important “rules” a business can follow.” They point to Jack Marran, president of Marran Oil as an example of this. Their company has been around since 1891 – 126 years. The company started as an oil company but thanks to a willingness to change, they now offer kerosene, HVAC, and home security. Their willingness to evolve is one of the reasons they're still in business today.
When you make innovation one of your business growth strategies you also have to be willing to adopt innovative technologies. Unfortunately, only one-third of today's businesses are adopting innovation technologies as a strategy for growth. To be smarter about growth, you need new technology. This is important because you can't scale high-touch services without its help. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs feel they'll “just wing it” – something that's worked for them in the past. However, as your business grows bigger and more complex, you need the help technology can offer.
Businesses can't even argue that they can't afford to use new technology. Studies actually show how 36% of companies spend less money and yet gain more clients thanks to technology. Of course, it's good business sense to spend money to gain loyal, high-value customers.
Understanding the importance of having the right technology helps you understand why you need to keep up with the times. However, your business actually needs to do more than that. It needs to be creative and lead the way into the future. This is something that Jeff Vermeulen, executive director of the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at York College of Pennsylvania stresses the importance of. He says that “Successful companies need to be constantly innovating to stay relevant for their customers and ahead of their competition.”
Focusing on Relationships With Your Clients
Of course, another old saying is also true, “You can't place the cart before the horse.” You can't become so creative that you forget about the customers you already have. By spending all your time and money chasing after new customers, while ignoring your current customers, you'll waste a lot of money. This is a problem that's been occurring for years now. Those businesses that have gone beyond surviving to thriving have learned that it's more important to turn customers into repeat customers who speak highly of you. Word of mouth advertising is yet another great growth strategy.
There are a few things you should consider here. Ask yourself:
· How often are your existing customers buying new products and services from you?
· How big of an order do they usually place?
· How much do they typically spend each time they place an order?
· Where do you find your best customers?
· Why do you lose customers?
Knowing the answers to these questions is important. Unfortunately, only 48% of small business owners say they have these answers. This is sad because technology can help you here. With the right technology in place you'll learn about your existing customers’ buying patterns, predict what they'll need from you in the future, and proactively share relevant and valuable content. These things will help them re-engage with you so that they'll want to buy more from you in the future. They'll also want to engage in word of mouth advertising – recommending you to others. Until you do know the answers to these questions, you shouldn't try to acquire more customers.
Teleconferencing will improve productivity and save time. This is a great way of having one-on-one contact with other business owners and with your customers too. You'll find this is important as many more businesses move online, making it really easy to lose the human connection today. By being proactive about using video conferencing and not losing touch with your customers, you'll show them that you really do care about them. This is yet another lesson that Marran has learned. He goes out of his way to talk to his customers so he doesn't lose touch with them through the corporate grapevine.
When you're looking for new business growth strategies, it never hurts to take a look at what other companies are doing. However, you also can't forget to look at what new companies are doing. You'll find a lot of great business growth strategies that will help your business prosper now and in the future.