Getting past the startup stage of owning your own business is quite an achievement, but seeking and sustaining the growth of your business is essential for its survival and your future prospects.
Once you get past the initial marketing strategies to attract those first few customers, such as using banner printers to produce large format displays to attract customers to your business, or using attending your local market or trade fairs and using popup stands, you need to examine possibilities for more serious growth, which can be sustained in the long term.
Here are 5 things you need to consider when looking for fresh growth for your business.
1. New business lines
One of the easiest strategies for growth is to offer products if you sell services and vice versa. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, creating an online site selling sports equipment is ideal. Clients will want to buy the equipment you recommend, which could include a heart rate monitor, resistance bands, etc.
2. Your business model
Growth is intimately linked to your business model because the business model dictates how you are going to get customers and how you are going to charge them. The more human interaction there is in approaching and attracting the client, the less scalable the business will be. It means that it generates more costs and it is more difficult to make the growth profitable.
A classic example is that of the B2B model. To get more you need more sales force and that means higher costs. But between this model and the self-service or online business, the most scalable, there are many levels of scalability. Sometimes the way to solve this is through your commercial proposal.
3. Your commercial proposal
The ideal situation is being able to reduce the cost of acquisition and improve the value of the client. For example, a startup manufacturer of some interesting devices wants to sell them at £800. It is a price that might cause a lot of resistance in attracting new customers, even though the product solves a problem. The resistance is caused by the fact that the target client can currently obtain a similar service on a monthly basis and investing £800 at once seems steep. However, instead of asking for £800 at once and not getting anything further from that client until they choose to renew the device, the business opts to charge just £30 every month and so, in addition, retain the client virtually for life? This generate less resistance in the recruitment and infinitely multiplies the profitability of the client life cycle.
4. Recurrent income
The problem with this way of designing your offer is that it delays the collection of the full cost from the client and that limits your ability to have hard cash to invest in growth on a day-to-day basis.
This mismatch is the classic ingredient in successful growth leading to business death! If you have a business model which pays suppliers with long terms and charges clients using short terms, it’s wonderful, but if you do not have such a model you should look for ways to avoid that conflict so as not to die of success. In that sense, the subscription models are ideal, because you only invest in one-time client acquisition and it helps you extend the life cycle of the client.
5. An offer for non-consumers
A strategy that usually results in significant growth is the search for non-consumers of our products. That is, customers who are not even consumers of the competition. For example, a person who isn’t a Rolex customer, and doesn’t buy a similar watch from their competition, may not do so because they have a very clear barrier to purchase: wealth, or lack of it. This way of growing is one of the most complicated, but spectacular growth can be achieved if you know how to question and identify these barriers.
Think about the way to segment your customers and identify what limits them to buy from you: it can be time, age, sex, etc. And the ones less focused on and yet capable of offering greater growth: the barriers of utility and ability. One example of this is the Wii, which managed to become a market leader by being less powerful and less cool than the previous ones, because they broke the barrier of the skill. While others were aimed at consumers willing to devote a significant amount of time and resources to the game, Nintendo launched an understandable game, easily played by all.
The key to finding such growth? Stop thinking about complex competing variables and focus on non-customers: analyse what bothers them, ask them why they do not consume your product and what would help them to start doing so.