It is an undeniable fact that business growth is crucial for any company.
It’s important to remember that growth comes in many forms and that fast, ‘growth hacking’ may not be the best suited for your business. As we have mentioned before, progress doesn’t happen immediately overnight. A longer-term, more sustainable growth may be more valuable for you and your business. That doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable growth has to take years to achieve; your business’ growth goals can happen over a few weeks or quarters.
While both ‘growth hacking’ and sustainable growth have their advantages, the latter can allow your business to develop without the worry of unexpected operational or financial obstacles. It gives you and your staff time to strategise for potential stumbling blocks. Long term, this growth can attract investors, higher business net worths, and market shares. Your business will have the time to establish clear goals and priorities, ultimately helping you to understand your business’ needs.
Here are four tips to inspire sustainable growth for your business:
1) Create a Sustainable Pipeline of Leads
For your business to grow, you may need to reassess your approach to managing your pipeline of leads. Many companies begin by growing organically through their established networks and referrals, but this approach will eventually lead to a plateau and stagnation of growth. Many organisations struggle to get the next step right as they don’t either have the knowledge or skillset to begin the cold end of lead generation. To help avoid this, this is where a business development and lead generation agency can really add value.
In order to achieve sustainable growth, there needs to be a constant and steady supply of outreach to your defined prospects. These will often be people with decision-making abilities, those who hold the budget and the willingness to explore new solutions or partnerships. These should be the people who will uplift your business. Dedicating enough time to calling, emailing, and Linkedin prospecting these consistently several times a week is the only way to create an extensive and varied pipeline. Concentrating your efforts on a handful of companies will always lead to big dips in your revenue if your business isn’t winning any work or the projects face delays or cancellations, so always adhere to the old adage: variety is the spice of life.
Establishing the wishlist companies to target based on your experience and the market opportunity is also essential. Divide these into different campaigns that should or could be encompassed, such as companies where you already have work but would like to spread it into other areas. Perhaps they could be ones that explicitly align with a case study or experience and, finally, dream companies where you have no established connection but know the project size and content could be aligned. Timelines for beginning projects and the lead time it takes to get engaged once the work’s won vary dramatically from company to company. In order to smooth these bumps out throughout your fiscal year, you need to have a consistent rolling pipeline nurtured until the time is right for each prospect.
This sustainable pipeline not only allows for new work to be won in the areas you see fit but also means that you can forecast your steady growth over the year, predict projects, revenue and, as such, company resourcing.
2) Focus on Client Satisfaction
Client retention should be at the core of every business. Ultimately, client satisfaction is the key to long-term success. As part of your growth plan, consider taking your current client relationships to the next level: follow up with your clients following a sale or completion of a project, have weekly or bi-weekly meetings to address any challenges or targets, or even offer any insights into your business plans, and how this may affect your clients. Communication and honesty in a relationship go a long way. Businesses that retain their clients are likely to have a higher ROI, as they are statistically more likely to invest more of their time and money into your business’ services.
The more positive a relationship with a client is, the more likely they will recommend you to friends and family. In fact, 68% of clients are willing to do business and brand referrals to those around them. Word of mouth has the power to either grow or ruin a business. Rather than immediately focusing on obtaining new clients, focus on how your current clients can be satisfied – since it will highlight how much your business cares about business-to-client relationships, making your company desirable for prospective customers. Eventually, your business will have increased sales revenue, a better reputation and growth of clients.
3) Be Open to New Ideas
Sometimes, tried and tested formulas may be optimal for rapid business growth, but if you’re looking to implement sustainable growth, these methods might not be as effective. When looking at your business, collaborate with your staff, as they have ideas which could make your company flourish. You may even find your next decision-maker, which can be extremely valuable for company growth. Thus by encouraging open-mindedness, you’re also allowing room for personal growth. Furthermore, by incorporating open-mindedness in your business growth, you develop the skill to objectively look at multiple pieces of evidence in terms of your business’ performance – for example, you might see that a previously implemented strategy is no longer helping your business move forward, despite it being well-liked across the company. Socrates once said, ‘true knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing’, so being open-minded transforms you, as a leader, into a sponge, ready to absorb everything and anything, ultimately helping your business to succeed.
Showing that you and your business are unafraid of embracing change or even experiencing failure will set your company apart from the ones that are closed-minded, thus allowing you to grow in the long term. Your business will become adaptable to any situation. Being open to new ideas shows your business will consistently stay ahead of the curve, trying new trends and redefining how your business stays relevant in an ever-changing environment.
4) Practise Sustainable Hiring
To practise successful long-term business growth, your business needs to have a strong, sustainable hiring strategy. To put it in context, think about the current tech layoffs: many tech companies like Meta and Google experienced rapid growth during the pandemic, and this acceleration was predicted to be a permanent feature, so more people were hired to compensate for this growth. However, these companies are now facing periods of stagnation, so the businesses are no longer growing, and, as such, people are having to be laid off as their positions are no longer required. The result? Loss of time, money and employee satisfaction.
To avoid this, your business should develop a long-term hiring strategy. It’s important to assess both your current and future company needs. Invest in your employees now by setting realistic goals and KPIs, as they provide a gateway into understanding your hiring needs long-term. If your team are superseding all goals, and your business has obtained several more clients, there is a need to grow your employee base as a result of the new revenue and workload. However, if your business is hiring as you have the spare budget, but may need that money down the line, then your business is going to struggle to retain employees and thus, struggle to grow. Not only that, but one bad hire can cause a drop in productivity and morale, ultimately hindering your sustainable growth.
In order to have sustainable growth, the business must remember its core values. Growth isn’t a competition and cannot be compared to another business’ as, just like people, every business is unique.
Gee Stencel | They/Them
Strategic Operations Manager