What is the single most important growth stategy in business?
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Balance between client and employee. Keep the cycle running, more likely to be trade between two parties with benefits to the business.
Cash flow management followed by exit strategy. The rest is filler;-)
Having been able to work in a SaaS environment early in my career I have to say the most important growth strategy is customer retention coupled with traditional customer acquisition. Retaining customers provides stability, which allows forecast to more predictable. Mathematically, with a retention focus acquisition is not negated by customer churn, which results in positive growth and a base to actually service the cost of acquisition marketing. In other words, for every customer you loss to churn you need to offset that loss with a new customer just to stay even. That's a loss in future life time value couple with the cost of acquisition. Studies have found it's actually cheaper to market to existing customers versus acquiring new ones. Furthermore, you can multiply the growth of a business by marketing upsell/cross sell to the existing customer base.
To first survive while building your brand and position in the marketplace. During this first pre-growth phase it is imperative to collect data and research your customer and future target markets as much as possible.
Once you have survived to a certain debt/equity ratio or level of sales volume (you decide that number and don't be afraid to change this number to a more realistic number - learn the numbers behind your new business!).
This pre-growth phase I a have outlined above is in my opinion, one of the largest, if not the largest key to a solid growth strategy (S6). The full plans for integrating smoothly from start-up/survival to aggressive growth strategy...is something I innvision will look a lot like the outline below.
THE KEY TO FUTURE GROWTH...IS PERPETUAL RESEARCH AND MAINTAINING DATA RECORDS. REEVALUATING AND ADAPTING YOUR SALES MARKETING STRATEGY IS VERY DEPENDENT ON DATA RECORDED IN THE TIME PERIOD(S) BEFORE REEVALUATING.
S6 + i3 = C2
- pre growth plans -
S - START-UP..
S - SURVIVE.. AT ALL COSTS
S - STUDY.. AND RECORD ALL DATA
S - SATISFY.. ALL CUSTOMERS AT ANY COST
S - SHOP.. ALL POSSIBLE VENDOR / SUPPLY CHAIN OPPORTUNITY $
S - SHED.. THE FAT, CUT YOUR OVERHEAD TO OPTIMAL EFFICIENCY $
- growth planning / benchmark numbers hit / revise and execute new plan -
I - INVESTIGATE.. DATA, RESEARCH, AND SUPPLY CHAIN FINDINGS
I - INTERPRET.. NEW DATA - ADJUST BIZ PLAN ACCORDINGLY - GROWTH!
I - INVEST.. ALL POSSIBLE WORKING CAPITAL INTO YOUR NEW (GROWTH) STRATEGY INTELLIGENTLY. USE YOUR DATA!!!
- post growth plans -
C - CONFIDENCE IN
C - CUSTOMIZED NEW (GROWTH) STRATEGY
- BIZ / MRKTG / SALES PLANS SHOULD BE REALLOCATED AND PLANNED ACCORDING TO DATA ANALYSIS, IN A MANNER WHICH FOCUSES ALL POSSIBLE WORKING CAPITAL...ASSUMING A CERTAIN LEVEL OF ACCEPTABLE RISK TOLERANCE...INVEST ALL WORKING CAPITAL TOWARDS GROWTH EFFORTS / NEW MARKETING STRATEGY. (INVESTMENTS IN MARKETING AND/OR PRODUCTIVE CAPABILITIES)
INVEST IN NEW CUSTOMERS FIRST, REPEAT SALES SECOND, AND INVEST IN PRODUCTION CAPABILITY...AS NEEDED.
DO THIS WHILE MAINTAINING AN OVER THE TOP FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTION...AT ALL COSTS YOU MUST MAINTAIN YOUR "WORD OF MOUTH" POSITION IN THE MARKETPLACE OR BETTER IT. BEND OVER BACKWARDS TO SATISFY ALL ORDERS UNTIL ACCEPTABLE RISK RATIOS AND GROWTH PROGRESS IS ANALYZED.
WE SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE A QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE ATTITUDE IN ANY INDUSTRY, SURE, BUT BE OVER THE TOP UNTIL YOU KNOW THAT POSITION IN THE MARKETPLACE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AND IS UP TO STANDARD.
*Sorry, was a sloppy response and not edited. Was very pressed for time. Good luck and cheers!
Joshua said, "Best strategy is knowing your competition."
I concur. It's one thing to see the importance of carrying out the following good advice: "do it", "build an effective infrastructure", "up sell", "convert leads into clientele", Keep and engage your clients" . But it's another thing to know how to execute that good advice.
That said I think Joshua makes a very good point here, ""Best strategy is knowing your competition." I think what Joshua means is to carefully study your competitors edge, marketing strategy and know what key factors enable effective market penetration. Then consider how you can do better or at least just as well.
Still I would advise you to consider this. Carefully studying a competitors strategy on all levels could prove to be a waste of time unless that competitor is:
1. Well established in the market, meaning said penetration runs deep and wide.
2. Experienced in its line of business
3. Been in the green for a considerable amount of time
4. Has an economic flexibility strategy
5. Can successfully keep up with changing times and technologies.
That's were the other comments come into play. Choose a competitor whose infrastructure has proven to be effective on all levels. Customer response time. Steady Sales growth. Good conversion strategy. Long term client retention, etc.
I usually am able to help my clients obtain such a competitors business plan. Much of it is housed in investment packages, corporate marketing and conference materials. I store each plan in my business plans archives for client perusal. That said, there is a way to get inside and see what your competitor is doing on all levels. The golden egg is the business plan.
Best strategy is knowing your competition. This will allow you to fine tune your offering and make it unique to potential customers.
In my opinion, the most important growth strategy starts with building an effective infrastructure for your business that supports all the activities done to bring in leads and convert them to clients. A lot of times business owners focus on marketing to the exclusion of everything else, but what they don't realize is that a solid infrastucture is what enables them to keep clients and grow the business at a consistent and focused pace through service and product development as well as marketing.
Design your business services and products around the market demand. Also make sure what you're offering is unique (get to know your customers and their specific problems) avoid offering generalized services.