Business growth requires hard work, perseverance, and a bit of luck. However, you can stack the odds in your favor if you adopt a strategic approach. By asking yourself four critical questions, you can help ensure your own organization is prepared to grow — regardless of the business landscape.
If your company’s still struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and resulting recession, then you might need to take a step back. It’s easy for business leaders to get caught up in crisis mode, which distracts you from big-picture business growth.
At Frogslayer, we’ve been recognized for our exponential growth even during the toughest of times. Our goal is to help forward-thinking, midsize companies in education, healthcare, finance, and logistics to build, launch, and scale software products and platforms. The key to our success is solving tomorrow’s problems — not today’s.
If you’re willing to evaluate what your company needs to improve, then you can experience similar business growth. Challenging times turn the old order on its head, so you will need to revisit everything you thought you knew (e.g., your target audience, competitors, and current offerings). Once you know what it will take to serve customers in the new normal, you can adjust accordingly.
4 Key Business Growth Questions
There are many opportunities for continued growth — even if they don’t show up in the areas you expect. McKinsey research, for example, found that 50% of B2B buyers halted purchases during the pandemic. This could have stalled our growth, but the shift to remote work accelerated digital transformation timelines by three to four years, allowing us to focus on what we do best.
It’s not always possible to grow your company into a strong headwind, but you can usually make progress in the right direction if you know how to take a step back. Identify your growth opportunities and navigate difficult business circumstances by asking yourself these four business growth questions:
- How are your customers doing?
The same macro events impacting your business are likely also affecting your customers. To achieve business growth, you need to put yourself in their shoes and consider whether you’re still delivering value. At the end of 2019, for example, only 6.9% of retailers listed in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 had curbside pickup options. By August 2020, that figure had increased to 43.7%. When a trend affects your customers, it presents you with an opportunity to create a thriving business.
- Have any potential new customers appeared?
Digital transformation and growth often go hand in hand. Many businesses realized they could reach new audiences during the pandemic. For example, Sunshine Tutoring Services in Florida experienced increased demand as students struggled with virtual learning. Even students who lived in a different county or excelled when learning in person needed help traversing the landscape created by COVID-19. Creating a thriving business means keeping an eye out for customers you can serve as your products or services transform.
- How are your competitors serving clients?
Of all the business growth questions, this one might be the most difficult to answer; identifying your competitors’ strengths requires a healthy dose of humility. It serves two key purposes: It helps you recognize your differentiators, and it forces you to pinpoint areas for improvement. What do they do well? How is their product or service different? Should you imitate them or pick a different direction? Answering questions like these will help you determine what you need to grow.
- What can you do to position yourself for growth?
While you might be tempted to opt for “more of the same,” the best ways to grow are to invest in new models to tap into the market or reduce costs by improving your performance. These two steps are often fueled by technological innovation, whether in the form of blockchain, augmented reality, machine learning, or something entirely different. Consider how you might incorporate these digital innovations into your organization, and you might find your next source of business growth.
As a leader, you can position your company for success by asking these four business growth questions. Whether the answers point you toward digital transformation or some other path, you will learn more than you might expect about how to grow a company.
Written by Alex Tapper.
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