Are there any shortcuts to growth?

It’s a truism that every business wants to grow (and preferably, to do so profitably). In smaller businesses, growth can be constrained by practical things like lack of resources. In some businesses, particularly large ones, internal processes and habits can get in the way. There aren’t any shortcuts to sustainable growth, but here’s a simple approach which can make a big difference in small and large enterprises alike. This approach will help remove the barriers to growth, and provide inspiration and direction which will generate enough growth opportunities to keep you busy and growing for years. In almost every case, it starts with reaffirming, or defining, what the enterprise is for:

First, what market or business are you in – defined in terms of what role the enterprise plays in the lives of its customers, whether they are consumers or other business.

Then, how does this market segment – what different types of customers are there, with different needs?

With this external view, you can see where your offer fits in, and what else you could do. An outside-in view enables a business to create, fine-tune, communicate and deliver  highly relevant offers which do exactly what the target customer wants.

These are the simple building blocks of a marketing strategy, and they’re worth revisiting to remove any fuzziness about who you’re targeting, what they value from you, and who your real competitors are. The same sharp focus will reveal opportunities for improvement, innovation, adding value (and charging more for it), streamlining service delivery (and sharing the savings) and more.

The danger sign Taking a very narrow view of competition (often seen as only those businesses which are similar) ...colleagues debating who "owns the customer".... having a very large and complex range of product offerings that have evolved over time, sometimes with lots of overlap between them ... these are all signs that some market planning is required to refresh and refocus the business.