There is no doubt that you have put a lot of time and effort into creating and developing your business model, gathering new clients and building up your organization, but what do you need to be focusing on in order to ensure that your business maintains a consistent growth rate in the long-term?
Implementing a sustainable growth strategy is by no means a simple task; it takes a lot of time and planning. Changing market conditions and constantly updated and new technologies makes maintaining sustainable growth, especially for small or medium sized businesses, a very real challenge.
Juan José Cano, SME Manager at KPMG Spain stated in a recent article that it is important to "achieve sustainable and profitable growth", supporting the idea that awareness of this topic is growing amongst not only large multi-nationals, but SME's as well. Let’s look at some of the key areas to consider when developing your business’ sustainable growth strategy.
It is important that every employee, from senior management to the back-office, understands the strategic, long-term goals and objectives of the organization. In this case, it is necessary to focus on exactly how you want to your business to grow. Is your objective to boost sales? Expand internationally? Increase margins? As long as you are SMART about your growth objectives and ensure that everyone shares the same vision and understanding about what the organization is trying to accomplish, your goals will be much more achievable and easier to reach.
Put your customers first
Customers are the main focal point of any business and they should continue to be as your business grows. A key objective for any organization is to try and turn customers into advocates. Many companies however, once well positioned and generating profits in the market, often make the mistake of viewing their customers as a secondary rather than a primary focus, which naturally will cause issues when building a sustainable growth strategy.
Adapting your product or service to meet market demands will help you become a strong competitor in the marketplace, but the delivery gap is something you must be aware of. This refers to the understanding of any differences that may exist between your own perception and your customer’s perception of the product or service you are offering. The narrower the gap, the closer you become to satisfying your customer’s needs.
Invest in your workforce
A business’ workforce, it can be argued, is one of the key factors of a sustainable growth strategy. Employees are your organization's brand ambassadors and to take good care of them is to take good care of your business.
Ensure that your staff feels happy and empowered. Are they able to put their skill set to good use? Do they feel that their suggestions and ideas for solutions are listened to? Are they given opportunities to make important decisions? recognizing your staff as colleagues rather than subordinates will help maintain high retention rates and productivity levels while at the same time, driving sustainable growth through commitment and loyalty to the firm’s well-being.
Add value and innovate
You cannot grow as a business if you merely offer what everyone else is already offering. The key to sustainable growth is to have a focus on R&D and to innovate as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. Easier said than done, but innovation does not always have to be a radical change or design, as long as you are moving forward. Smaller improvements or adaptations to a business model or product/service offering is how many businesses start on their way to developing a breakthrough idea. These days, the ability to be flexible to change is a skill that no organization can afford to live without.
As you see, there is much about how to ensure sustainable growth, is more than generating high profits. If you truly want to build growth, then you must incorporate all aspects of your business, not just concentrate on the financials.
Find out what is important to your customers and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Most of all, acknowledge that you cannot be all things to all people. Basing your strategy and sales on this understanding will benefit you in the long run and help you to focus on growing your business in a sustainable manner.
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