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21 Strategies for Business Growth in 2021

Written by Sonia Spaseski . November 17, 2020
10 min read

For some businesses, the turbulence of 2020 has required decisive action to stay afloat. For others, it's resulted in surging demand and unexpected growth. But what all businesses now share is a view to the future, and the question of how to adapt to the new normal.

From technology investments and acquisitions to agile practices and modern marketing, here are 21 strategies for business growth in 2021.

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Should Your Business Focus on Growth?

New business owners have numerous goals at the beginning of their enterprises, such as brand recognition and smooth cash flow. At some point, you’ll want to grow your business from its initial launch size, but how do you know if the time is right?

As we work with business owners, we consider each client’s specific circumstances. Critical factors include the industry’s health, the company’s financial underpinnings and commitments, and the strength of the organisation’s team.

Once a business owner decides the time is right for expansion, the next step is to choose the most appropriate growth strategy.

How to Choose the Right Business Growth Strategy

One of the most common mistakes businesses make is choosing a growth strategy that doesn’t align with the current needs and future goals of their organisation. 

Start with one carefully chosen strategy and test what does and doesn’t work. Instead of choosing a growth strategy indiscriminately, talk with us about which ones are likely to succeed for your unique situation.

21 Strategies for Business Growth in 2021

2020 has demanded change to personnel, schedules, supply chains, marketing methods and more. However, disruption often leads to innovation and opportunity, and forward-thinking businesses should be poised to take advantage of these evolving conditions in the year ahead.

Let’s take a closer look at some of your options. One or more of these growth strategies could be the key to your future growth.

Customer

1. Improve Your Customer Experience

You take pride in your customer service, but there may be things you can do to improve clients’ experiences. Delighting your customers is an effective strategy for increasing referrals, just as providing a poor customer experience can damage your pipeline.

Customer’s perceptions can make or break a business, so take proactive steps to clarify their expectations and deliver above and beyond consistently. Happy customers can spread the word and lead your business to significant growth.

2. Increase Your Referrals

People trust recommendations from friends and family, so consider ways to increase your referrals. To invest in this growth strategy, consider creating a referral program that provides rewards or discounts to customers who refer their friends. Personalise your interactions with clients as much as possible and don’t be afraid to ask established customers for their recommendations.

3. Diversify Your Offerings

A landscaping business expanded into well-drilling when the business owner discovered significant crossover in skills and equipment. Businesses who offered only in-person products and services have now expanded into online sales. What are your customers looking for? Can you attract a broader or different market? Investigate opportunities to use your current skills and equipment to branch out with your offerings.

4. Focus on Established Revenue Sources

As mentioned above, many businesses rely on established relationships with several repeat customers. These companies could cement this revenue source by building a referral or customer loyalty program.

Another advantage of this growth strategy is that you can receive useful feedback when you keep lines of communication open with established customers. Learn what the competition is doing and listen to suggestions for improvement.

Marketing

5. Improve Your Branding

If your branding appears dated, you might be missing out on a growing target audience. Younger customers are keenly attuned to design and they make subconscious judgments about companies’ professionalism based on branding elements like website designs, logos, advertisements and more.

6. Analyse Your Target Audience

A confident and data-driven understanding of your target audience is one of the greatest assets to any business. Given the social and economic upheaval that 2020 has caused across the world, consider a renewed analysis of your target audience in the year ahead.

Businesses can use free tools like Google Analytics to form a foundational understanding of their customers’ demographics and supplement this information with buyer persona workshops and surveys.

7. Grow Your Pipeline

Developing and using a sales pipeline can help your business to grow. A sales pipeline is a structured and simplified method of tracking potential customers as they move through the buying process. It allows you to track your leads, sell systematically, accurately predict revenue and create an integrated marketing strategy.

8. Test New Marketing Tactics

Marketing is constantly evolving, and the tactics that were effective even two years ago can be less productive today. Ensure your business stays abreast of emerging marketing channels and methodologies, and consider investing in marketing technology to support your growth.

9. Expand Your Marketing Channels

Ask your current customers how they heard about your company and then expand on the methods that work. For instance, if people are finding your company on Facebook, reallocate some of your marketing dollars to Facebook advertising. 

Dive into your Google Analytics traffic sources report to understand how people are finding your website, and set up accurate attribution reporting to see which marketing channels are delivering customers.

10. Host Events

Events can be a powerful tool in developing stronger relationships with clients, reaching new audiences and educating groups on important information. In 2020, virtual events became the norm and many businesses used this format to their advantage.

Productivity

11. Be Agile

Small start-ups have one significant advantage over older, more established competitors: agility. Start-ups have the flexibility to adapt to evolving markets quickly. However, even larger companies can improve their adaptability by reviewing their team structures. 

Traditional business structures can result in siloed teams with unnecessary double handling and limited collaboration. On the other hand, agile structures are more dynamic, with less rigid distinctions across business functions and an emphasis on self-management.

12. Invest in Technology

Information technology can boost growth for businesses large and small. An investment in new tech could lead to reduced costs and improved profitability. Learn about the latest technology employed by your industry and choose the systems and tools that work best for your company.

These platforms could include a robust CRM, marketing automation software, data analytics platforms, cloud accounting and internal communications and project management tools to drive efficiency. 

Team

13. Upskill Your Staff

Upskilling is training your current workforce to handle new skills. Investing in your employees makes them more versatile and productive, but the benefits extend even further. When staff members feel that they’re earning more than just a salary, they’re more likely to stay with you for a longer tenure, thus giving you more opportunities to grow and saving on expensive recruiting initiatives.

14. Invest in Staff and Culture

Attract the people who will help your business to grow by investing in your staff and company culture. You might do this by offering more competitive compensation packages or flexible working arrangements. A strong culture can also lead to your staff acting as advocates to attract new talent.

Planning

15. Think Long Term

It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day operations when you’re running a business. But if you can think long-term, you’ll make decisions that lead to growth and far-reaching advantages. As you develop your growth plans for 2021, consider how these will help your organisation to achieve its medium and long-term objectives.

16. Consider Acquisitions

Companies at all levels practise growth through acquisition. It can help you to secure more market share, revenue, and even coveted team members. If you’ve wanted to move into new territory, an acquisition might be the most efficient way to do so.

17. Adapt to the ‘New Normal’

Nobody knows how long the “New Normal” might last, but the COVID-19 crisis has affected many businesses in a significant way. By adapting to current conditions, your business can adopt new strategies and pivot to changing conditions.

18. Focus on Your Core Strengths

Some businesses accomplish their growth goals by focusing on their core strengths instead of diversifying into new areas. If you have an opportunity to gain further market share with your current offerings, consider honing in on this goal before diversifying into new markets.

19. Increase Your Strategic Planning

Start holding regular planning meetings to map your company’s future growth. Establish benchmarks, implement plans, and follow up to measure your progress. With a focus on development, boosted by regular strategic planning, you’ll gain forward momentum.

20. Learn from the Past

Analyse your business’s past results and critically assess your strengths and weaknesses. This kind of review can be painful, but it offers a clear-eyed understanding of where you can expand and how you can maintain a competitive advantage.

21. Form a Strategic Partnership

Instead of acquiring another business, consider forming a partnership with a company that complements yours. For example, if you own a catering business, establish a partnership with a florist. The referrals you receive from your partner can easily grow your business in short order.

Conclusion

The coming year could be your company’s year for growth. With so many pathways to growth, the difficult part is deciding where to begin.

If you’re not sure where to start, we encourage you to talk through your situation with one of our business advisers. We can help you identify a growth strategy that suits your business now and helps you reach your goals in the future.

To discuss your business growth strategy for 2021, talk with us today.

Written by Sonia Spaseski . November 17, 2020

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