When it comes to running a successful business, a continued focus on growth is essential. As James Cash Penney, founder of the once mighty J.C. Penney retail empire once said, “No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today, but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow if it doesn’t.”
What are some of the top concerns business leaders have today when it comes to being able to move forward?
Top Business Growth Threats in 2019
A recent PwC survey of CEOs from around the world found that the most commonly cited factors that have the potential to kill growth include:
- Being overregulated (35 percent)
- Uncertainty about policies (35 percent)
- Availability of necessary skills (34 percent)
- Trade conflicts (31 percent)
Other worries that made the list were cyber threats, geopolitical uncertainty, and protectionism with each of these cited by approximately 30 percent of the CEOs surveyed.
While almost all of these threats are outside any one individual’s control, there are still several things that executives can do to help grow their companies.
Though growth tactics many are fairly well-known like as advertising on social media and asking customers to post positive reviews online. Other lesser-known avenues are available and can be just as effective if not more so.
What tactics do you have your sights set on?
But before you can answer that, it’s critical to take an important step.
Before Creating Your Growth Strategy
Before considering the strategies you plan to implement for growing your business in 2019 (and beyond), it’s important to first consider what growth means to you. For instance, some companies consider an increase in clientele a good measure of business growth, where others look solely at the bottom line. Other KPIs to consider might include reduced churn rates or average order value lift.
There is no right or wrong answer here. However, having your unit of measurement in place prior to implementing one or more additional growth strategies is essential to know whether your changes are providing the response you’d like.
Once you decide this, you’re ready to outline the methods your business will use to reach the end the year bigger and stronger than ever.
Here are five options to consider, which, although they’re not discussed as frequently, can often be extremely effective in this regard.
- Provide Value for Free
In an interview with Growth Everywhere, marketing thought leader Neil Patel shares that he regularly invests $30,000 on developing epic guides to marketing for his Quick Sprout brand, only to give it away to the audience for free. Why?
According to Patel, giving away a large amount content for free helps him brand himself as one of the top marketers. And, because he isn’t actually creating the content himself, the guides help him in this regard without having to invest a lot of his own time and effort, yet he just has to write the checks.
Implementing this growth strategy in your business involves finding ways to provide major value to your customer base. For example, like establishing you as a leader in your field or market. And no, you don’t need Neil Patel-scaled budgets to make it work. Finding the right hungry freelancer might be enough, or you might want to put your own time into writing the types of epic pillar resources that are optimized to attract and impress a high volume of qualified audience members.
- Deliver Compelling Webinars
This second tip is a bit of a variation on the first one. If your goal is to increase traffic to your website and grow your business online, one of the best ways to do this is by offering ongoing webinars. Finding the right topic for your webinar can help get your target audience curious enough to point to your email list when they register to attend, and especially if you work with the right co-marketing partner or influential host.
For example, if you operate an e-commerce store, you may create a webinar featuring the most effective ways to use your products. If you sell home improvement supplies, your customer base may be highly interested in a webinar about how to solve some common household issues.
The three things to remember when creating a webinar is that it needs to be engaging, on topic and relevant to the audience. It must also provide a clear call-to-action (CTA) so the viewers know exactly what he or she should do upon the conclusion of the webinar, like leading them back to your website. ClickMeeting’s platform, for example, makes this easy as they offer a feature that allows you to add clickable CTAs within the webinar experience.
To maximize the growth impact of your webinars, make sure to send out pre-webinar reminders about the date and time via email and social media. So, your customer base remembers to attend. Also, record the webinar so those who missed it live can still have access to the information. Then contact your most engaged attendees after the webinar is over to get their feedback, and encourage them to stay in touch.
- Hold Yourself Accountable
An even more uncommon yet amazingly effective way to grow your business is to set regular accomplishment goals for yourself and make sure that you achieve them all.
There are many frameworks that can help make this happen, but working with an entrepreneurial coach is one of the most effective. In fact, CEO Coaching International reports that the average compound annual growth rate when engaging in this type of program is 40 percent by the fourth year of coaching.
Though there are a number of business growth factors that are outside your control—such as those related to new regulations and policies—that doesn’t mean that you have to just sit back and hope that your company reaches new levels this year and next.
Essentially, making the commitment to in a coaching program created specifically for C-Suite executives helps increase accountability for taking the actions necessary to take the company to higher levels.
- Partner with Complementary Businesses
As hinted in my tip above about co-marketing webinars, another option for growth, in general, is to partner with businesses that complement yours but aren’t in direct competition. This exposes you to a wider audience, one that is likely to be interested in your products and services.
For example, if you offer web design you could partner with a company that provides written content. Or if you manufacture cleaning fluids, a good partner might be a company that sells cleaning tools. Join local business forums like BNI and use platforms like Meetup to find relevant gatherings where entrepreneurs can forge alliances.
But once you’ve got a partnership in place, what can you do with it? Driving growth together may mean offering a discount to the other company’s clientele, co-hosting an event, or working together to expand your product and/or service offerings to become a one-stop shop for all of your clients’ needs. It can also be something as simple as promoting each other on your social media accounts or giving referral bonuses.
#5: Get Involved with Charities
Becoming more involved in charity is another uncommon, yet effective way to grow your business this year and beyond. In addition to driving a positive impact on your company’s wider community, USA.gov explains that being more charitable as a business has other benefits as well.
For instance, when you publicly support a particular cause, your likeability increases among your target consumers while also differentiating you from your competition. Charitable contributions also improve employee retention, helping you keep your top talent on staff and improving their job satisfaction levels by promoting a more positive work environment. Both of these factors can contribute to business growth.
There are many ways to become more charitable as a business, some of which include donating money or inventory, holding fundraising events, sponsoring events, volunteering at the charity itself, or by offering your services pro bono.
Growth Beyond the Obvious
In addition to implementing some of the traditional, tired business growth options that all of the other companies are using, add some of these more unconventional ideas in the mix and you may get even better results.