A startup begins as a small business and progresses to a medium-sized one. These small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) usually maintain a particular number of employees. As such, they own a handful of assets and earn some profits. But over time, they are looking to grow their workforce, resources, and revenues. That’s when entrepreneurs must set business growth strategies in place.
According to Harvard Business Revenue, there are five stages of small business growth. A business starts with its existence, looks forward to surviving, and achieves overall success in time. If it is looking to grow and expand, it has to take off through delegation and financial means as the fourth stage. Finally, it has to attain the maturity of all its resources, from finances to workforce to physical assets.
Whether a small business or a mid-size enterprise, here are some business growth strategies you should consider:
1. Market Penetration
As an SME, your business exists because of your target market. These are consumers who patronize your business and buy your products or hire your services. That’s why you manage to survive and even thrive as a business. However, your industry consists of other business competitors offering products or services the same as yours. So if you’re looking to grow your business, focus on market penetration. The ultimate goal is to get the largest market share amongst other competitors in your industry. But to achieve this, your products or services must stand out, and you should be robust in your marketing approach.
2. Market Expansion
If market penetration doesn’t work due to a saturated industry, resort to market development or expansion. As the name suggests, this business growth strategy involves expanding your product coverage or service area and going beyond your usual market. For instance, your SME might be catering to a particular city. But this time around, consider offering products or services to nearby places as well. The more customers you reach out to, the more chances of growing your business. If your resources allow, you might as well take the plunge into market expansion.
3. Product Development
Aside from focusing on your market for your business growth strategies, you can pay attention to your product development. Chances are, your products or services currently have customers or loyal supporters. But if you’re looking to grow your business, you can consider expanding your product lines or adding new features on top of your current services. Not only will this strategy get your existing customers excited, but it will also attract more and more customers. In business, you must not stay stagnant; you must offer something new!
4. New Business Offer
In line with product development, there’s another business growth strategy through your business offer. Instead of improving your current products or services, you can offer an entirely new product or service. However, this new offer must be practically relevant to your industry and essentially reflective of your brand. Otherwise, you are already modifying your business ‘essence,’ which is another topic to discuss. But ultimately, a business must offer something new to the market to thrive and succeed.
5. Partnership and Merger and Acquisition (M&A)
Another business growth strategy is to work with another business or even your competitor. When it comes to this strategy, you have two options: partnership and merger and acquisition (M&A). First off, you can partner with another business like your supplier and a third-party vendor. For instance, you can turn your sole proprietorship business into a partnership by sealing a deal with another entrepreneur. On the other hand, you can consider merging with your competitor to unite as one or acquire the assets and resources of a dying business. But before taking the plunge, consult with the experts to come up with sound decisions.
6. Business Sustainability
The last business growth strategy is setting business sustainability strategies in place. The idea is to sustain your SME over time without compromising the environment. If you’re looking to grow your business, start implementing some of these strategies. These include having the 3Rs in mind (reduce, reuse, and recycle), investing in energy-efficient appliances and systems, utilizing green technologies, and considering renewable energy sources. You can even go as far as earning environmental management system certification to go green in your business.
At this point, you now know what it takes to grow your small or mid-size enterprise over time. Consider the business growth strategies discussed above, from market penetration to partnership and M&A to business sustainability. However, sit down with your team and factor in your current status, industry, target market, business offers, finances, workforce, and all resources involved. From there, you can decide what growth strategies best suit your small business or mid-size enterprise.
In the end, there’s nothing more fulfilling and rewarding than seeing your business grow, thrive, and succeed.