Want to go into 2024 with new business growth strategies to help you succeed?
We’ll discuss strategies that can help you improve your small business revenue and profit. We’ve taken advice from thousands of small business owners and provided seven actionable steps to grow your business before the year ends.
We’ll discuss why you need a business growth strategy, seven strategies to consider, how to implement the business growth strategies, and how to monitor the results of your business growth initiatives.
Why you need a business growth strategy
Every small business should have strategies for business growth. As famed business coach Tony Robbins says, “If you are not growing, you are dying.”
Company growth strategies will help you create strategic growth opportunities.
The best growth strategies are the ones that expand your revenue with little to no increase in your marketing or sales budget besides a potentially one-time expense.
Growth strategies to consider
Business expansion requires a variety of strategies to both find new potential customers and build better relationships with existing customers. Top strategies that business owners suggest (and that we get behind enthusiastically) include:
- Automate your business processes.
- Personalize marketing strategies.
- Reward customer loyalty.
- Cut spending on underperforming strategies.
- Prepare customers for upcoming price increases.
- Offer holiday discounts.
- Celebrate your wins.
Automate your business processes
All growth strategies should consider how you will implement automation within your business. Successful companies across every industry recommend using automation for repetitive tasks like emails, review requests, lead generation, and more.
With tools like ChatGPT and other AI software, automation will become an even bigger part of strategic growth initiatives.
Neel Parekh started MaidThis and explained how he used the automation growth strategy to help with market expansion that earns the remote cleaning business $1.5 million a year.
We use an automated five-step recruiting process. That includes:
- Initial screening call that asks questions like do they have business insurance and licenses.
- Then we conduct a second Zoom call to see if they show up and how they interact.
- Send them on a test job.
- Officially onboard.
- Monitor what they do.
Personalize marketing strategies
Small things like including a person’s name in an email, sending them a free gift during their birthday month, and other personalized marketing efforts can be automated and provide excellent growth marketing strategies.
Digital marketing offers so many tools for marketing growth strategies that there’s no reason not to include personalization in a marketing strategy. Check out HubSpot’s contextual marketing course to learn how personalized you can make your digital assets.
Craig Watson, the owner of Baked Cravings, explained the key to his growth strategy:
Learn more about Baked Cravings in this in-depth interview.
Reward customer loyalty
Another marketing growth strategy small businesses should consider is creating a loyalty program. One of the best ways to grow your business is to increase sales from your existing customer base.
KPMG found that seven factors impact customer loyalty the most. Your loyalty program can help with everything but product quality and consistency.
Consider using a loyalty program as an effective growth strategy for your products or services by offering
- Quick customer service
- Easy returns
- Suggestive selling to your target audience
Check out Referral Rock for reviews of loyalty software to grow your business.
Mike Andes, founder of mega-successful Augusta Lawn Care, talks a lot about how to build your brand to build a loyal customer base. He used Starbucks as a growth strategy example:
Hear more from Mike below.
Cut spending on underperforming strategies
Another way to grow your business is to stop wasting money on products or services that aren’t helping you in the existing market. This frees up money for you to spend on your growth strategies, existing products, or services that your target market wants.
You can apply this strategy by looking at keywords with high cost-per-click and low conversion rates and removing them from paid ad campaigns. You might also want to remove products that have been on the shelf for a long time from your inventory.
Afshan Abbas explained
Prepare customers for upcoming price increases
Another growth strategy that can work remarkably well is notifying customers about upcoming price increases to existing products or services.
Given many small businesses raise their prices near the beginning of the year, you can encourage people to book and pay for your services (or purchase products) before the price change so they get the current pricing.
Your customers save money, and it helps you meet your goals in your business growth plan. Best of all, this business growth strategy costs you barely anything.
Big Frog franchise owner Sanford Booth uses a similar growth strategy when he hits slow times:
Check out our interview with him below.
Offer holiday discounts
As you enter the fall and winter months, you can use discounts as a growth strategy. Help your business grow by increasing sales during commonly slower months. This is especially effective if you own a service business that can offer to help with the challenges people face when they have family come into town.
You might also tap into untapped markets. For instance, Jackson Blackburn runs a window-washing business that makes around $100K monthly. He offers Christmas light installation during the winter months to level out some of the seasonal fluctuations.
Check out our interview with him below.
Celebrate your wins
Business owners want sustainable growth consistently, but sometimes, they forget that a crucial part of the business growth is the employees who work with them.
Whether you are a solopreneur or leading a small business that has sustained growth for decades, take the time to celebrate when you meet growth strategy goals, complete a project, or someone has a memorable life event.
A great company culture will refresh you and prepare you to concur new markets or goals. Mike Andes experienced this as he pursued his market expansion strategy and sold more than lawn care franchises. He told us:
Take the time to celebrate wins before taking on the next leg of your market expansion goals.
We have some fantastic editors at UpFlip who sometimes share their stories about small businesses and strategies that inspire them. Forest & Meadow, an herbal shop, shared the post below to celebrate their team—and it got our editor thinking about which Forest & Meadow teas and tinctures she might want to buy now that it’s getting cold outside.
How to implement a business growth strategy
To create a successful growth strategy, you’ll need to:
- Download a growth strategy template.
- Identify how you want your company to grow.
- Perform market research.
- Define your growth goals.
- Plan for growth.
- Get the tools you need for your growth strategy.
- Execute the growth strategy.
Download a growth strategy template
One of the best ways to start working on a growth strategy is to download a template to help you get started. Download our growth strategy plan template.
Identify how you want your company to grow
In this section, you’ll explain the growth strategy you are trying to achieve. Some standard growth strategies include:
- Market expansion
- Strategic partnerships
- Product expansion
- Acquisition strategy
- Diversification strategy
A market expansion strategy focuses on entering a new geographic market once you can no longer increase your market presence in your current market. You might also hear this called market development or a market penetration strategy.
This strategy must consider new regulations, cultural differences in the new market, and how currency conversion might impact your company.
Achieving a market penetration strategy will also require comparing the demand and benefits of entering potential markets to decide which new market is right for your company.
Companies form strategic partnerships in numerous ways to increase business growth. They might form a partnership to enter new markets using each other’s distribution channels, or they might share valuable insights, internal resources, and technology for new product development.
When a company’s existing products are not creating revenue growth, it might choose to start product development to expand its product line. Using product expansion helps you increase revenue by providing new products to both new and existing customers.
This product-led growth may be costly, depending on the industry. Increasing a product line can cost thousands to millions of dollars through the product development process.
While product expansion can increase returns, you should conduct market research to verify that the current market needs the new product. Otherwise, a significant investment in research and development (R&D) may fail to create the product-led growth you’re after.
Acquiring assets can be a successful form of business growth. You see growth strategy examples using the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) business model in most major corporations.
The higher cost of capital has slowed some growth in business mergers, but industries like healthcare, materials, and energy are still seeing significant market consolidation.
When you buy a company, you get its existing market share, its customers, and industry research, and you may be able to save money by consolidating systems and positions.
This strategy can be a great way of increasing your market share in the same market or entering a new market. You’ll be able to pursue new customer segments, reduce customer acquisition costs, and increase your company’s market share.
That doesn’t mean this strategy is without its problems. While there are plenty of growth examples, everything from paying too much for a company to a lack of synergy and poorly integrating the two companies are risks of an acquisition growth business.
Another market growth example is diversifying to increase your total addressable market. There are four primary ways to diversify:
- Vertical integration: In this scenario, you would buy the market inputs used for your product. For instance, a gas station might buy oil fields, pipelines, refineries, and tankers to deliver the gas.
- Horizontal integration: A cleaning company might add power washing, window washing, or other cleaning services that service the same market.
- Concentric diversification: You see market development using this strategy when cell phones and other technology companies upgrade existing products to use new technology.
- Conglomerate diversification: This involves buying companies in completely unrelated industries. Berkshire Hathaway is the most well-known conglomerate. Finding ways to market to the new audience using this strategy may be challenging.
Perform market research
You’ll want to research how other businesses in your industry are approaching growth, what customers want, and what software and tools are available to pursue your growth strategy.
Pro Tip: Learn more about performing market research.
Define your growth goals
Whichever growth strategy you use, you’ll need to define your goals, the metrics you’ll use, and the level of improvement you’ll need to see to call the strategy a success. We discuss more about key performance indicators in our one-page business plan.
Plan for growth
At this point in the process, you need to detail the exact approach you’ll use to accomplish your growth strategy. You’ll want to define the tasks, time, resources, and parties involved to achieve the market development strategy you’re going to try.
The more detailed you can be in this step, the better. You’ll have a resource for keeping yourself on track and helping others picture how the process will work.
Get the tools you need for your growth strategy
Once you’ve created the plan, it’s time to gather everything and everyone you need to accomplish the task. You might need Zoom or Google Meets communication tools if you are working with remote teams. If you aren’t using one yet, you may want to invest in a CMS for small business, too.
Pro Tip: Make sure to get multiple bids if you are using external service providers.
Execute the growth strategy
The final step is executing the growth strategy and measuring its market penetration. Whether you’re lowering prices or using increased paid advertising, you’ll want to make sure that your business growth strategy is meeting your goals and adjust as you go.
Next, we’ll discuss ways to measure your business growth strategy to understand if it is successful.
How to measure business growth
You’ll need to measure the success of your business growth strategies, and there are numerous ways to measure the growth. Some common ways to measure the success of business growth include:
- Revenue: The easiest and most immediate way to measure the success of any business growth strategy is your revenue growth. You’ll be able to see year-over-year trends quickly if you are keeping records of daily numbers.
- Profit: Profit is another excellent way to identify whether business growth strategies are working. If your gross and net profit is higher, you’re making more money, but it’s even better when your profit margins increase with your revenue.
- Market share: When your business growth strategy includes goals to increase your market penetration, you may not measure pure revenue but the change in your existing market share. This is good when you want to verify that you are growing faster than overall market expansion.
- New customers: Along with measuring your market share, you may also want to measure the number of new customers you’ve attracted since implementing your new strategy.
- Customer lifetime value: Achieving growth from existing customers means you increase sales to the customers you already have. One of the easiest ways to measure increased revenue per customer is by looking at the change in average lifetime customer value.
- Customer retention: Measure customer satisfaction to establish whether you are meeting the expectations of your customer base. You can also use churn rate to measure the amount of your customer base you are losing.
- Team size: A business owner can also measure their growth goals by looking at their team’s size. You might also use revenue per employee to measure whether your growth in revenue is increasing faster than you’re hiring.
What are your favorite business growth strategies?
One of the reasons we love what we do is that we get to learn from hundreds of brilliant and successful people. We have a feeling that’s why you keep coming back, too.
We love hearing about other people succeeding. Share your stories in the comments below. What business growth strategies have you tried, and how did they turn out?