A Brief Guide to Improving Business Growth

Building a successful, thriving organization is a challenge for many business owners, especially in volatile economic times. Knowing how to scale a business takes a combination of well-honed intuition along with a solid knowledge of fundamental growth strategies. Here are a few steps to consider when planning for long-term growth.

Know Your Financial Goals

Knowing your business is the key to growing your business. Yet, it's a facet of ownership and management that often gets glossed over by entrepreneurs. The good news is that this process is an exact science, and it's called business analytics. Business analytics refers to all of the skills, techniques and tools used to investigate past and current performance in order to model future outcomes. Online analytical processing (OLAP) programs, for example, can answer multi-dimensional queries swiftly allowing data-driven financial status reports to be compiled. This sort of automated technology allows for accurate sales forecasting. Having a sales forecast built on timely and well-analyzed data is critical to balancing your current budget as well as planning future expansion.

Learn About Your Customers

You're going into the growth process blind if you don't know your customer base. Marketing research can take many forms but mostly falls into two categories: qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research usually takes the form of focus groups and paying attention to larger cultural trends that impact your specific target market. Quantitative research is driven more by statistics. This can take the form of sending out surveys to customers to gauge their needs and satisfaction, as well as looking at demographic information.

Automation is also useful in the process of building relationships with current and prospective customers. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be used to track a customer's journey with your brand from prospect to repeat business, and can even automate certain aspects of a sales campaign, such as email and SMS marketing tasks.

Refine Your Online Presence

Many of us remember the days of clunky handmade websites and flashing pop-up ads. Actually, that type of online advertising is (unfortunately) still used by many entrepreneurs. In an oversaturated digital environment, the two keys to standing out are to be both memorable and legitimate. Creating a memorable website or social media page involves using design science. According to a Google study, users judge the attractiveness of a website in 0.02 to 0.05 seconds. The same study showed that participants rated more complex sites as less attractive. Layout matters too, with the eye generally falling first on the upper left corner of the page. This is a prime spot for placing your logo to get attention. As for conveying legitimacy and trust, color psychology plays a major role here, with cool colors like blue actually sending a message of security and orderliness. Remember, spread your online presence across multiple platforms, but be consistent in the tone of your brand and update all content on a regular basis.

Forge Strategic Partnerships

One of the most important steps you can take to boost business is to forge partnerships with other entities in a similar or complementary industry. Outsourcing your supply chain to save cost or teaming up with a nonprofit organization to give back to the community are two common partnerships. A very profitable form of partnership revolves around influencer marketing, where a company that offers a certain product or service appealing to a specific subculture reaches out to an influential media personality involved in that industry. The business gets visibility and the influencer gets revenue.

There are many strategies that you can use to forge business partnerships, but the most important tactic is objectively assessing the strengths and weaknesses of both organizations before going in. When engaging in a partnership, it's also important that both businesses share a similar vision for what success looks like and how to attain it. In other words, having a common set of ethics that you both abide by is crucial, since what one does will affect public perception of the other.

Putting any of these tips to work for your business should help kickstart the process of scaling up your operations. Find the approach that works for your business and start building your future today. 


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