If your business is doing well, there will come a point when you are ready to excite your expansion plans. When you have developed a strategy to support your growth goals, it makes the transition easier. Using your business data, it becomes easier to predict trends, gauge lifecycles and view your industry as a whole.
Business growth takes time. Having a strategy makes it easier to track goal achievement, follow a plan and understand how the data supports growth progress.
The Importance of Business Growth Strategies
Business growth is essential. Without growth, businesses stagnate and over time, they collapse. Growth does not always mean expansion, it also includes change. Product development, persona refinement, departmental growth, as well as entering new markets are all part of growth.
Creating a business growth strategy makes it easier to navigate unforeseen hazards. There are elements that eCommerce business developers need to consider when exploring a growth strategy. Fortunately, your data indicate clearly the steps that can be taken, and when. From tech upgrades to entering new markets, if the strategy you devise is based on data, it is easy to track, correct and follow.
Strategic Options for Business Growth
Develop a Strategy
Launching a successful online business can actually be overwhelming. Most eCommerce merchants launch on a platform that can support a certain amount of traffic, take payments, comply with local regulations and logistically deliver on sales.
If you are successful, your business could start to grow suddenly. Having a plan in place is the best way to deal with questions as they arise. There are many strategy types developed over the years, and the Objective and Key Results (OKR) approach, developed in the 70s, is one that has stood the test of time.
Companies such as Amazon, NetFlix, Google, and Twitter use the approach to keep their growth stable. OKR is an objective method of setting goals to achieve quantifiable key results or goals. This means that everything is transparent. All members of your organization can access the pan, see the goals, and understand the targets that need to be met.
OKR also allows you to redirect if targets are not being met. Online businesses can benefit from budgeting, performance tracking and forecasting software that automatically collaborates your data to produce useful statistics.
Assess Your Resources
While entrepreneurs require a high level of confidence to launch, they require a deeper level of honesty to succeed. This honesty is about the actual potential, resources and opportunities the business has. Business owners should ask:
- Can the business grow internationally?
- Is your platform ready for growth?
- Do you have enough trained staff for the next growth phase?
- Does the business have the resources to grow?
- Can you fulfil increased demand for your service or product?
- Can your suppliers and vendors meet the demand for more products or services?
- Do you have logistics support for international sales?
- Do you have the financial resources to support a growth phase?
Sometimes the demand for growth with peaks before your business has the resources to achieve growth. That does not mean the opportunity needs to be passed on. It simply means that your business requires a sound growth strategy, and a verifiable business plan, to present to prospective investors. For business owners who do not want to invite outside investment, a precise growth strategy that includes goals, incomings, outgoings and expansion dates is carefully coordinated to ensure maximum use of resources can be used to achieve goals.
Know Your Competition
To grow you need to know who your competitors are and produce something better. It could be quality, service, costs or delivery – there are always areas in which your competition will be weak. Your job is to find out what that area of weakness is, and up the anti.
A few ways to stand out include:
- Produce high-quality products
- Include added benefits and features above and beyond your competitors
- Offer new customer incentives
- Offer cost-effective or reduced rates to attract customers
- Improve the delivery time of products/services
- Increase market penetration with effective marketing strategies
- Tell your brand story and capture your key customers
Your digital marketing strategy needs to include a keen understanding of keywords and SEO. If you are launching your business, it is important that search engines put your results on at least the first page, and better if it is above the fold on the first page of results. To achieve that result, your digital marketing should be an ongoing investigation and include substantial amounts of original content, even on launch.
Creatively Expand Clientele
Aiming for organic traffic is a better long-term strategy than trying to attract customers from your competition. Many of those people already have brand loyalty and are unlikely to switch without a reason from their supplier. Seeking new avenues for customers is a better focus.
You need to have real customer management services built into the structure of your business. According to analysts, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current customer.
Your marketing strategy should identify reasons customers feel loyalty to a brand in your industry a capitalise on that. For example, people who are loyal to a sportswear brand might feel that way because they get a 10 per cent discount on every purchase because they have an exclusive loyalty card issued after they have spent a certain amount of money. There is an element of exclusivity, community and importance. This strategy aims to keep customers loyal and is attractive to those who might be looking for a new brand. Especially in retail, customers are loyal to many brands, but they find offers such as free delivery, personalised discount offers and exclusive club memberships very appealing.
Investigate Market Expansion
You can expand your online business relatively quickly if you do your research. Working with the right technology, such as powerful servers if you provide an online service, or drop shippers if you sell a product, means you can move swiftly as well as meet demand.
You should also pay attention to anomalies in your online traffic. You might be missing a niche market you were not aware exists. This information can be found by sifting through data, such as traffic and social media interactions.
Evaluate and Update Prices
Pricing is a difficult strategy to navigate. A price per unit increase will increase your profit but limit conversions. Conversely, a price reduction might increase conversions but decrease profit per unit. This expansion strategy does not always work. A price drop can indicate to customers that you have changed supplier and lowered quality. A price increase without cause might show that your business is struggling. It is important that you test pricing before committing to a strategy.
Marketing and Promotion Efforts
Marketing and advertising are core to the success of your business. If customers don’t know you exist they cannot use your business to solve their problems. You are offering a USP and that message needs to be delivered to the right audience, be it in the B2B or B2C sectors online.
Your digital marketing strategy needs to be meeting targets and achieve the success that you expect. If your marketing is not growing your business in quantifiable ways you need to adjust your strategy.
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