Growth is a tricky business. Companies must continuously strive to identify new growth opportunities to achieve long-term business success. That’s why it is essential for your business to develop fresh insights that will ultimately help to generate ideas that the competition has failed to see.
Insights include the identification of unmet customer or consumer needs and the problems they are trying to solve.
Ideas usually range from big and audacious to small and modest. Ideas are the lifeblood of business and, as such, none should be discarded. Sometimes, all it takes is a small change of angle for an idea to develop into a viable business proposition.
Therefore, investing in a robust process for the “front end of innovation” positively impacts the quality and quantity of generated ideas, as well as the overall engagement of everyone involved.
So, what you do need to do to turn those ambitious ideas into growth opportunities for your business?
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Market research and strategies for growth opportunities
The first step is to create a shortlist of competitors. Market research is a great asset at this stage. The more information gathered on your competitors’ sales by country and category, the clearer the picture you will obtain on whether they are playing in similar markets or if you are missing out on growth opportunities.
Here are four different growth strategies to consider (and don’t forget about working out how you will manage your business growth):
Increasing market penetration is probably the least risky growth approach. Risk, however, is always relative. This strategy is considered to be lower risk because you are dealing with known factors. These are your existing products and your existing markets.
It is worth noting that if you are blind to changes in the environment, such as new products and services being developed by competitors, you may miss your customers’ changing needs and end up losing market penetration.
The market development approach involves selling your existing products to new markets. This approach is higher risk than market penetration because it may involve some investment in market expansion without any guarantee of profitable returns. This strategy uses existing products, so there are no associated product development costs. This helps to mitigate risk.
Product or service innovation
Introducing a new product or service takes investment of time and money. It may be necessary to invest time and resources in staff training to ensure that customers receive the best advice on the new product. Deciding on the best product or service to provide for your existing customers requires in-depth knowledge of who these customers are and what they need or want.
By focusing on existing customers, you can spend some time learning more about these customers to establish the most effective offering. While time and effort may be required, there are often new products or services your business can implement without significant capital investment.
Diversification is generally seen as the riskiest of all growth strategies. It involves you developing new markets with new products. This means that you would have no experience with the product or with the customers that are likely to purchase it.
While the risks are there, this strategy can give you an important first mover advantage, provided no one else has catered for this need before. You may be able to establish yourself as a leader in this area long before anyone else takes it on and this will usually allow you to charge a premium.
Data, people and finances
When you’ve chosen your approach, make sure you base your business decisions on solid data – this will help you increase your chances of success.
It’s also worth making sure you have the right team in place to make your growth strategy come to life in the way you want it to.
You may find you need to recruit more people so you can manage the extra demands your business will face. Don’t focus on just filling the skills gap – recruit people who fit your firm’s culture.
And make sure people management procedures are put in place to retain new and existing staff, so you grow together as a team.
Finally, if you have plans on the table to chase new opportunities and grow your business, it’s worth keeping an eye on your finances. As highlighted previously, you might need to find extra funding to pay for the new products and services you plan to unleash in a new market.
Make sure your finances are in a good place and keep an eye on your cash flow – keeping everything ticking along nicely will help your business to focus on its goals for growth.
And remember, it doesn’t matter whether you’re considering superfast growth or looking to take things slower and steadier – the same thinking and planning still applies.
What strategies is your business using in a bid to grow? Share your stories in the comments below.
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