Grow fast or die slow: Strategies to sustain business growth
Growing a business is like gardening. You have to constantly keep tending to the garden to ensure that all the plants grow well, the flowers bloom, the weeds are put away, and the pests don’t harm the garden. Forget to add manure or water, the garden can be affected. Just like that, growing a business also requires the right intellectual capital, carefully curated strategic partnerships and products/services with strong marketplace demand.
There are many variables in building a business, but there are some core areas that every business, irrespective of the sector, need to keep in mind. They are:
Building a team for the long term
The foundation of any business is its people. To be able to build the right kind of team, it is necessary to hire talent with diverse styles and perspectives. They also need to integrate well with the organisation’s culture. At Facebook, most members of the leadership team grew into their current roles. According to Mark Zuckerberg, “Ten of the folks who are the management team of the company basically grew into these roles from doing different things”. Zuckerberg also advocates hiring strong talents.
Find your value proposition
What sets you apart from the competition? The authenticity of the company’s purpose gives rise to its USP; otherwise the offering risks becoming a commodity. When the company’s vision is clear, it becomes easier for it to sell products and services of value to the end customer. Take, for example, Uber. Its unique value proposition—The smartest way to get around—highlights how easy it is for the rider to get a cab and how it is far superior to hiring a taxi.
Create a framework for innovation:
More often than not, start-ups develop technologies or innovations in order to aid in business operations. Business operations apart, a start-up should also look at developing a global scalable platform for innovation that can harness the creative talents of the employees while still being aligned to the overall company strategy.
A strategic approach to innovation will help to provide a way to act on new ideas, facilitate collaboration, and create an online environment where ideas can be built upon. Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company with more than 150 million guests in 65,000 cities, understood that in order to scale, you need to do things that don’t scale.
Have conviction in your product:
When faced with consumer backlash, many companies second guess their business strategy. When Adobe decided to make the shift to the Cloud in 2013, it was faced with a huge subscription backlash, but it persevered. They garnered feedback from the consumers, who were largely unhappy with the pricing, and tweaked the product while at the same time raising awareness about the benefits of shifting to the Cloud. Today, it is being hailed as the champion of digital transformation.
Who is your ideal customer:
Choosing the right customer can make or break your business. If you are able to nail the ideal customer, the more focused and effective your marketing efforts will be. Some things to keep in mind are: Defining the product/service from the customer’s point of view, and the ideal customer; their location, buying strategy, the specific benefits they are seeking in the product or service. Nail down your ideal customer, and revert back to this audience as you adjust your business to stimulate growth.
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Creating long-term sustainable growth is among the biggest challenges that any business leader can have. The most sustainable way of creating value is to continually invest in capabilities of both the individuals and the organization.
It is imperative that the growth strategy continually focuses on what is best for the customer so that they come back again and again.