Spend a few hours searching the web asking, “What is the Best Approach to Grow My Business?” and you will find that there several types of growth approach. In this short article, we compare and contrast approaches, and recommend a way forward.
What are the Main Approaches to Grow My Business?
They advocate that you need to have N things in place (insert your own number!) in order to grow your business. These are often recipes within a theme e.g. digital marketing or lead capture and nurturing. They can provide a useful set of tactics when you know, for example, that you need to develop your digital marketing strategy. Our research has identified more than 300 growth levers that appear in such recipes!
# 2 Journeys
A bit like recipes only they add the time and/or maturity dimension. They identify where you are on some maturity continuum, from starting out with an idea to becoming a lifestyle business or a global corporation, and everything in between. They suggest that if you do certain activities in a certain order, then you will be successful. The best of these provide a useful, albeit exhaustive approach to growth.
#3 Silver bullets
These are often single-point solutions that might enable your growth – having an IOS or Android App to increase reach or a system to capture, nurture and manage your leads. As important to enabling growth as these might be, software solutions are increasingly a commodity, rather than a differentiator. If you have many customers, then you are fully expected to have a Customer Relationship Management system, for example!
By reverse engineering from a goal or several goals, these approaches identify the flow of activities that will achieve your goal. This often combines elements of recipes and journeys but comes at the growth challenge “top-down” by prioritising certain changes and improvements to achieve the goal, versus a “bottom-up” approach (typical of the journey) which addresses a series of things whether they are strictly relevant to your context or not.
Usually developed in conjunction with working long term with a consultant/coach, solutions are tailor-made to address challenges and opportunities.
What are They Good for and What are Their Limitations?
|Recipes||Testing recommended tactics|
Trying out and measuring impact
May waste effort
|Journeys||Holistic set of growth drivers|
Moving you to next maturity stage
|Need to know maturity level|
Some components might not add value
|Silver Bullets||A specific growth challenge|
Maximising an opportunity
|One part of the “growth jigsaw”|
Not necessarily a differentiator
|Goal Map||When goal is clear|
Seeing what enables goal
|Must be clear on goal|
Wrong goal = wrong direction
|Bespoke||Working in partnership with a consultant or coach, over a longer period of time||Can take a long time to develop|
May be expensive
Common Growth Challenges – What Versus How and Prioritisation
The biggest challenge is not WHAT to do. There are literally thousands of accelerators, systems, methods, tools, plans on a page that will tell you a number of things you should do for growth. Yet HOW to achieve growth is not always clear. Therefore, in the best growth approaches, they explain WHAT together with HOW. Knowing which activities to prioritise is also a challenge. In a recipe of 15 interventions, how do you know what will give you the greatest impact? This is why we recommend a blended approach.
Combining the Best Thinking from Each Approach
We recommend that you work backwards from business growth results. This most closely represents the “Goal Map”. The four business growth results that all other successful growth interventions eventually result in:
- Number of customers
- Average Transaction Amount
- Average Number of Transactions
- Profit Margin
By first establishing drivers of those business growth results, then identifying the changes in your business (typically in one of the five P’s: Purpose, People, Processes, Prospects and Products) you will enable growth. At the Growth Shed, we have developed an approach to creating this picture of Enablers X Drivers = Results. We call it a Growth Map. It is the first stage for creating a future proof business, in our Ready? Plan. Grow! approach which is outlined here.
Contact us now to see how we can help your business to be more valuable, more enjoyable and more future proof.