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Growing a business

Business growth strategies to digitally transform your business

Whether you’re building a startup or running a small to midsize business (SMB), staying ahead of the competition remains one of the most important factors to improving your bottom line. But how do you come out victorious in a competitive market? The key is establishing a successful growth strategy to digitally transform your business.

In this guide, we’ll discuss multiple business growth strategies you can adopt to help you make a plan to expand. Keep reading to learn how developing growth strategies can help create a lasting relationship with your customers and set your business up for long-term success. Or, you can use the links below to navigate to the sections of the post that best suit your needs. 

Growth strategy 1 - Know your customer

It’s important to invest a good amount of time into regularly researching and understanding your customers. While it may sound basic, customers’ shopping habits today are more dynamic than ever. How they make purchases, discover products, and become loyal. Repeat buyers revolve around a digital, almost immediate shopping experience.

Nowadays, consumers are consistently looking for new places to shop, whether it’s because they’re looking for:

  • More information on a particular product
  • The best deal
  • Related alternatives
  • A more ethical supplier or merchant

Having a deeper understanding of your customers can help you develop a thorough market penetration strategy that can help you reach your target markets. Consider investing in social media tools to help you connect with your customer base far and wide. On these platforms, you can share pictures of current products and future projects to gauge customer interest. 

By knowing your customers, you can also begin to create products specifically designed to meet their needs. This way, you can prevent investing in products that won’t sell and leave you with deadstock.

Growth strategy 2 - Product development and diversification

While you may have ideas for multiple products or services, not all of them will become a reality. Creating a new product takes time and a lot of resources. The last thing you want to do is spend valuable time developing a product that doesn’t align with your customers’ interests. However, there’s no denying the value new products can bring to a business. Plus, product development can help you tap into new markets and potentially increase your market share. 

If you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas for products that would sell well for your business, take a close look at your existing inventory. With the help of reports, you can assess what your best sellers are and create a strategy to add similar items to your product line. Not only will this diversify your offerings, but it will also give you a chance to cater to clients’ wants and gain new customers.

Growth strategy 3 - Establish key performance indicators

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, help you keep track of metrics and assess whether or not implementing certain changes was effective. KPIs can range from financial, such as inventory turnover, to operational, which could be the time it takes to fulfill an order. Here are just a few of the KPIs that you should consider measuring: 

  • Customer retention
  • Sales growth
  • Gross margin

Growth strategy 4 - Determine your value proposition

As a business, you must determine your value proposition so that you attract the right customers. Your products may have led them to your business, but it’s your values that will make them long-term customers. Think about the following when creating your value proposition: 

  • What are the benefits of your products? 
  • How do they bring value to your customers? 
  • What’s the problem your products will help customers solve? 
  • How is your business different from other businesses? 

Ultimately, your customer base is what’s going to drive your business to success. A good value proposition should answer the questions above to help increase the likelihood that the product will sell. 

Grow Your Business with QuickBooks

Growth strategy 5 - Experiment with new sales channels

While selling on one platform may be a good idea when you’re just starting your business, it could be limiting your business’s ability to grow. As a business, making the move to branch off into other sales channels has many benefits, including: 

  • Increasing your discoverability for new and existing customers. Brands who are present on multiple channels often attract loyal, repeat buyers.
  • Showing that you have the scale and wherewithal of a large and reliable organization.
  • Easily research competitive pricing, positioning, or identical products, which will allow you to be more strategic.
  • More opportunities to have your content indexed by search engines and surfaced to buyers that have high purchase intent.

Expanding into multiple channels is one of the most straightforward ways to see potential returns for effort invested. A few tips for growing your market and adopting digital sales channels are:

  • Build a B2B e-commerce channel to profit from excess inventory and begin selling wholesale.
  • Sign your business up to sell on an online marketplace, such as Amazon, or Takealot, or Hello Pretty to expose your brand to new customers.
  • Take advantage of multichannel platforms that can help make your expansion strategy much smoother. 

Growth strategy 6 - Invest in cloud-based technology

Driving a successful digital transformation strategy is only possible if you’re commanding a lean ship. Operations are often the largest headache of running an organization. However, the ability to manage and streamline them today has never been easier, thanks to innovative software solutions for e-commerce. Plus, the barriers to access this great technology has never been lower.

A cloud-based business system can help you save time and money, and ultimately empower your team to work better together. Some other notable benefits of cloud-based business systems include:

  • They’re updated frequently, which means you’ll have access to the latest software without having to perform manual installations.
  • They’re designed to grow alongside your business with the click of a button, not through buying and installing additional servers or software.
  • Your data is typically secure and protected on enterprise-grade servers, even if you run a one-person operation.
  • You can access these platforms at any time from anywhere with a stable internet connection.
  • They often provide native integrations to other technologies and offer developers access to application programming interfaces (APIs).

Growth strategy 7 - Conduct market and industry research

As you plan your market development strategy, carve out time for plenty of research. You should be considering ways to find potential customers by looking into demographics and identifying any unmet needs in your industry. No matter what industry your business is in, you should always be looking into the existing market for inspiration. First, identify what areas your business is struggling with. Then, look into competitors or other businesses that are doing well and see what they’re doing right. Doing so can help you develop a clear pathway for the success of your business. 

Growth strategy 8 - Plan to develop your team

As your business begins to flourish, you should consider making plans to invest in and expand your current team. After all, your employees are what help make your business run like a well-oiled machine. They’re the backbone of your company’s performance. To keep things running smoothly, ensure they have the tools and resources they need to succeed. This includes the right technology and skills to handle the demands of their workload and do their job to the best of their abilities. 

Growth strategy 9 - Automate everything

Human error is an inevitable part of manual data entry. Whether it’s entering the wrong number, inputting the wrong data for the wrong product, or forgetting to add something altogether, these mistakes can have a notable effect on your business. For example, if you miss too many orders as a result of inaccurate inventory counts, your customers may search elsewhere for a business that is more organized and has what they need, when they need it.

By automating your business’s manual and time-consuming processes you can empower your team to work smarter and find time for other important tasks. When looking for an operational system with automation, you should focus on whether or not it can deliver on one or more of the following:

  • Ensures that your inventory is updated in real time, so you don’t list items that you can’t fulfill.
  • Syncs orders with your accounting system to avoid reconciliations and manual errors.
  • Receives goods by scanning purchase order barcodes (vs. manually counting stock).
  • Automates part of your fulfillment process to save on shipping costs.

Once you find the right system, the possibilities for automation are limitless. Both your staff and your bottom line will thank you for making “busy” meaningful again.

Growth strategy 10 - Leverage valuable data

Data is not your enemy, and it doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming.

By using a modern cloud-based system that automates tasks across your supply chain, you can trust that it’s collecting and aggregating important data into a single source. This data enables you to explore the shopping habits of your consumers and examine how your products are moving.

Being able to understand channel performance and under- or over-performing products, identify buyers who are late on payments, and prevent deadstock makes this an invaluable growth strategy.

If you’re going to truly grow your business, reexamine the foundations of your strategy and the systems that you’ve selected to support them. This is where your bottlenecks typically exist or will emerge. By identifying areas where you can improve business processes, efficiencies, and iterative wins, you’ll be able to allow your company to thrive in current and future market conditions.

Final thoughts

To digitally transform your business, you must develop a business growth plan with short-term and long-term goals. While there are numerous growth strategies you can implement, there’s no denying that business owners and customers are rapidly moving toward technology-driven solutions.

Stay ahead of the game with QuickBooks Online. The platform is designed to integrate with other apps and help you service your customers across various sales channels in one centralized hub. Streamline your workflows, manage your existing products, and make informed decisions that have a positive impact on your business. 

If you need good advice for your small business, check out our resource center for articles that can show you how to write a business plan and more.

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