4 Methods to Sustain Long Term Business Growth
By Varun Bodhi
Every business owner has a vision of continuing to grow, however not everyone has a business development strategy in place to ensure long term success. As with all companies, eventually they will reach their peak and enter into the stability phase of their business life cycle.
Having business extensions as part of your long term growth strategy is the key for thriving overtime and is one of the simple fundamentals which can help your business consistently ensure it remains relevant.
Create Supporting Products
All businesses are formed on the concept of a product or service which aim to satisfy consumer needs. Methods to expand your business are always present as long as the products/services are needed by consumers.
A fast and effective method to sustain business growth is by introducing supporting products. As the name suggests, supporting products are new products which are created with the intention to ‘support’ your existing line of offerings.
The supporting products must be compatible with your main products. This allows your business to promote the new product in an easier fashion and the marketing aspect becomes straight forward.
For example, a business which primarily sells ‘fresh milk’ as their product can diversify their product line by introducing new flavours in different packaging sizes. Overtime, this can be further expanded by utilising different forms of milk such as almond per flavor.
The business growth strategy for supporting products doesn’t end there. There are many other growth opportunities available, especially when businesses can merge current trends into their products.
For example, sustainability is currently a large trend and many consumers are making their purchase decisions based on products’ environmental impact. Continuing on from the same example, the business can introduce sustainable packaging and milk sources (e.g. oat) into their product line.
Further down the track, the business can debut healthier versions of its original product to expand the supporting product range.
These forms of supporting products give a great indication of consumer demand, enable business growth and allow you to be fluid by adapting products according to trends.
Rebranding gives businesses the potential to completely refresh their image and is the equivalent of a reset button.
An advantage of rebranding is that businesses increasing their ability to reach new customers. Rebranding typically comes with several changes across a business which can range from changes products, design, manufacturing processes and more, which all ultimately create a new memorable impression on the market.
Rebranding can also occur in the situation where a business engages in the merging or acquisition of other businesses. If this occurs with businesses that are overseas or share very similar products, then focusing on your brand messaging and revaluating visual identity will be of great importance.
Overall, rebranding your business at the appropriate time is a great method to maintain business growth and should be part of your long term business development strategy.
Analysing Market Demand
Knowing what your consumers want and what is stopping consumers from purchasing from your business is powerful information and is perhaps the most important data which can lead to business growth.
Once your business has reached the stability phase, conducting a thorough analysis will save time and money as opposed to experimenting without direction. The stability phase marks a milestone where the business isn’t necessarily growing but is staying in a safe zone, and creating changes without data is too risky.
Create surveys for your consumers which asks key questions:
- What do they like about your brand?
- What’s their favourite product?
- What’s their least favourite product?
- Are there any new features or changes they would like to see in your products?
- Do they like your branding? Why/why not?
- Have they recommended your business to others? Why/ why not?
These are some general questions which can be asked to build an understanding of your consumers. Offer simple incentives to encourage your consumer base to complete the survey and offer further small incentives if your consumers successfully ask non-customers to fill the survey.
To ensure business growth, this should be done at least once a year to grasp all the knowledge on market demand and this should be a staple in your business growth strategy.
Recognise the Cost Behind Business Growth
As with everything, resources are necessary to induce growth. To grow a business function and sustain this overtime, the cost to your business will also increase.
Before exploring any growth options across your business functions, understand the immediate and long term cost implications. Any growth will eventually require more staff, equipment and the necessary resources which create the product or service you provide.
Having cash allocated towards quality control, your systems, technology, software, outsourcing and other factors is also a consideration which must be taken before delving into business growth.
A long term business growth strategy must having a blueprint in place for changes in operational cost if expansion were to occur, as growing without planning this will hinder business growth and may even create a backwards step.
Which Growth Strategy Should my Business Use?
Overall, creating supporting products, rebranding, analyzing market demand and having a plan for costs associated with growth are the most common business growth strategies. Selecting which business growth strategy to employ is interdependent on several operational factors and on your current situation, which is why often times implementing a combination of these strategies is a powerful solution.
Regardless of the path chosen, the most important point to remember is that business owners must always carefully plan the strategy and no impulsive decisions should be made without considering short term and long term implications.
Chasing constant business growth is overly idealised, however there are often times where remaining in the stability phase and thoroughly planning is the smarter choice.