I had worked part-time jobs while finishing high-school and I figured out early on that a part-time job was not enough income for me to live and pay for tuition, so I started my own bookkeeping business and targeted entrepreneurs who I knew were struggling with their books and finances. This business sustained me all the way through college and continued to sustain me through my third year of university. For most of the duration of my business, I have been working solo, except for virtual assistants on occasion as needed. However, I realized that if I wanted to grow, I needed a new strategy. Currently, I run a consulting business, called CQ Business Coach, where I help entrepreneurs with business plans, marketing plans and overall strategy. After realizing that entrepreneurs needed help with these strategies in addition to bookkeeping, I saw an opportunity for growth.
I have encountered entrepreneurs who are looking for strategies to grow their businesses, just like I was, but find it difficult to figure out on their own. Feeling stumped in your business is a common feeling among entrepreneurs who can’t figure out how to grow their business. Trying to decipher what marketing to use and how to create new interest from a different target market is difficult if you are not sure what you are doing.
Here are 4 steps to help you figure out a growth strategy for your business.
1. Determine your business’ core activities.
When figuring out what growth strategy to implement, it is important to understand what the core activities are of your business. What are the day to day operations in your business that make it successful? For example, if you own and operate a bakery your core activity, you may think, is baking the goods for sale. However, the core activities are making sure that supplies are always on hand, client deliveries are timely, ingredients are fresh, a system in place from the time custom orders are baked to the time they are delivered, etc. These are the daily activities that contribute to the amazing baked goods that are made available for sale on a daily basis. For my bookkeeping business, my core activities were showing up on a weekly basis to my client’s locations and organizing their revenue and expenses for the week. In addition, I provided excellent customer service and made recommendations that helped my clients to feel more organized and in control of the business finances.
2. Figure out your value proposition.
Your business’ value proposition is what it does well and it is measured by sales in the marketplace. If consumers favour a particular product or service that you offer over others in your business, this might be a good indicator of an area for growth in your business. Figure out how to leverage this interest without losing the key components that made it a hit with your customers in the first place. Using my business as an example again, I realized that my clients didn’t have a strategy in place for the next three to five years. They were just running their businesses without goals or any real benchmarks, other than they can cover their bills, to measure the success of their business. Since my value proposition was that I have excellent organizational and analytical skills in addition to the technical training necessary to expand my service offering, I decided that it was time to grow my business from bookkeeping to overall business planning and strategy.
3. Figure out the strategic goals of your business.
Once you have figured out your unique value proposition, it is time to brainstorm how you intend to achieve growth in your business. Are you going to increase the amount of product or service you offer that sells the best? Are you going to target a different market with this product or service? Can you implement a marketing strategy that will target more of the same customers who are purchasing the best-selling product or service in your business? Whatever decision you make, if you are creating strategic goals to increase the growth in your business, it must be a strategy that you plan to implement immediately and it must also be measurable. You must put benchmarks in place to be able to understand if you are close to your business goals or not. For example, you may choose a growth strategy to increase your social media presence and the ad tools available to increase your unit sales from 1,000 units per month to 1,500 units per month in a 3-month period. This is a strategic goal because it is measurable and immediate.
4. Create your goal structure.
As you start to list the strategic goals of your business, you will see that you may have a few that are competing for resources such as time, personnel and money. Putting your goals in priority order will help to eliminate the confusion and conflict that may arise by trying to tackle all goals at once. List your business goals in order of importance and resource capability and start to think about how you will achieve each one. List the steps that you will take to reach that first goal. Once you achieve the first goal, move on to the second goal on your goal structure.
It is important to understand that there is no perfect remedy for business growth. Each business is unique and requires a unique strategy. It is okay to ask for help and to utilize a coach. Hiring someone with the expertise you need to get you off the ground is a good place to start if you are stumped on what to do next. A fresh perspective can help you see issues in your business that you may not be able to see because you are too close. An unbiased voice can give you the push you need to get your business growth strategy off the ground.